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UW-Madison to participate in national sexual assault climate survey

January 22, 2015

Taking action in response to concerns about sexual assault, UW–Madison will take part in a national effort to gather data on the campus climate as it relates to sexual violence.

Last year, the White House made a call to action for academic institutions to protect college students from sexual assault. The call to action included recommendations such as the administration of campus sexual assault climate surveys. The Association of American Universities (AAU) has made the provision of a sexual assault climate survey a top priority because the survey results will be used to inform and strengthen campus policies, services and response.

UW-Madison has agreed to administer the AAU’s “Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct.” According to Westat, the contracted research firm for AAU, the survey tool is “based on an instrument developed by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.” It is particularly important that as many schools as possible use a similar survey instrument, so that results across campuses are comparable.

Jeanette Kowalik, the Director of Prevention Services and Campus Health Initiatives at University Health Services (UHS), has been designated as the university coordinator for this endeavor. Just as in the national “It’s on US” sexual assault campaign, Kowalik strongly recommends that students participate to help shape campus efforts around sexual assault prevention and response. “Students will have the ability to make their voices heard in a confidential manner,” says Kowalik.

The tentative survey period is Monday, April 13, 2015 to Friday, May 1, 2015. All degree-seeking students over the age of 18 should expect to receive an email link to the survey. Campus and community support options are available for students who may find the survey topics difficult. Both UHS End Violence on Campus and the Rape Crisis Center provide confidential victim advocacy services. UHS also offers 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Services at 608-265-5600 (option 9).

Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf will also appoint a Sexual Assault Climate Survey Task Force to oversee the analysis of UW–Madison students’ survey results. This group will disseminate summary results and make recommendations based upon findings from the survey. The task force will consist of a multi-disciplinary team of administrators, faculty, staff and students. It is anticipated that survey results will be made public in the fall of 2015.

For more information or to get involved with sexual assault prevention efforts on campus, visit the End Violence on Campus website.