Survey of students will bolster ongoing efforts to strengthen campus safety

October 30, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A University-wide survey that asks students about their views on sexual misconduct, their experiences, and their knowledge of the resources available will be sent to a broad sampling of Penn State students the week of Nov. 2 as part of the University’s efforts to address sexual misconduct.

The information provided by the survey, which will be completely anonymous, will help guide ongoing efforts to combat sexual assault and harassment. The survey will cover a range of topics including students’ experiences, campus climates, the role of alcohol in sexual misconduct, and how comfortable people feel reporting incidents.

Adam Christensen, director of Student Affairs Research and Assessment, said it’s important for students who receive the survey to complete it, regardless of whether they feel they have had personal experiences related to sexual assault and harassment.

“We’re asking all students who receive the survey to complete it,” said Christensen, who is overseeing the survey. “The responses students provide will be crucial to helping us understand their experiences and perceptions. Their responses will also provide guidance about where the University should continue to focus its efforts to combat sexual misconduct.”

Students will have until Nov. 20 to complete the survey, which will be sent via email to approximately 11,000 undergraduates at University Park, along with about 4,000 graduate students. About 1,500 students at each of the following campuses will receive the survey: Abington, Altoona, Berks, Erie and Harrisburg. All students at the remaining campuses will receive the survey.

Students who complete the survey will automatically be entered to win one of eight iPad Airs, 40 $50 Visa gift cards, 40 $10 Starbucks gift cards, eight mini-speakers and eight earbuds.

The survey comes as the University is planning to establish a new Title IX office, which will oversee many of the University’s efforts to combat sexual misconduct. In an email to students who will receive the survey, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims notes that students’ “insights will be enormously helpful as we all try to do what we can to find improvements and avoid the harmful outcomes otherwise caused by these issues.”

“The University is launching a stand-alone Title IX Office in the coming weeks to focus the institution's considerable education, prevention, awareness and response efforts on this front,” Sims said. “The insight gained from this survey will help determine where the Title IX Office should focus its resources by providing a clearer sense of the scope and nature of the problem.”

The survey is being administered by Datstat, a company the University has worked with on the SAFE module (Student Alcohol Feedback and Education), an online alcohol education program that all incoming students go through. Datstat will send the surveys as well as house the data.

The survey was piloted in the spring at University Park, three Commonwealth campuses and Penn State Erie, the Behrend College. As one of 18 recommendations made by the University’s Task Force on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment, conducting the survey is part of an ongoing University-wide initiative to create safe campus environments and prevent sexual assault and harassment.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated September 23, 2020