In April of 2014, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault published a report naming sexual assault-specific campus climate surveys as a “best practice response to campus sexual assault” and urging “schools to show they’re serious about the problem by conducting [a] survey next year.” We have long known that sexual assaults are under reported, causing it to be impossible to get a realistic understanding of the climate through reports alone. Climate surveys provide students an opportunity to share their experiences, as well as their perceptions and knowledge, anonymously. Climate surveys can help administrators better grasp the climate as well as develop needs-informed programming and education. Climate surveys provide an assessment tool for campuses to make positive impact and show that they are taking the issue of sexual assault seriously.
Although climate surveys are not yet mandated under Title IX or the Clery Act, many suggest that they soon will be part of a school’s compliance practices. Under New York’s new “Enough is Enough” law, colleges and universities will be required to assess their campus climate every other year. Other states might follow New York’s lead. At CampusClarity, we want to make sure that schools have everything they need to be in compliance while also doing the best to create a safe and inclusive campus for all students. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be writing a series of posts about Campus Climate Surveys. This is the first installment.
While there has yet to be a lot of research done on the effectiveness of climate survey instruments, there are a few trailblazers creating and implementing tools deemed successful. If your campus is looking to administer a survey, take a look at these resources that can help you get started.
- Not Alone: The Government’s suggestions and guidelines
- Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium: Pre-written Climate Survey
- Association of American Universities: Partnership with research universities for April 2015 surveys
- Rutgers University: Climate Survey Guide as partnered with the Justice Department
Our post next week will detail what we’ve learned from schools like the University of Michigan and MIT, who have already administered and published results from sexual assault campus climate surveys.