McCaskill Survey Produces Disturbing Results

Posted by On Thursday, July 10, 2014

Yesterday, Senator McCaskill released a report that is based on the results of a survey she sent to 440 four-year universities and colleges as well as information gathered at the three roundtable discussions. The report’s cover tells you it’s delivering bad news — or simply confirming what you already knew, depending on how close you are to this issue: “How too many institutions of higher education are failing to protect students.”

More troubling is the finding that these failures “affect nearly every stage of the institutions’ responses to sexual violence.” Specifically, the survey found that many of the responding institutions do not:

  • know the scope of the problem at their campus
  • encourage students to report sexual violence
  • train their faculty, staff, or students
  • investigate all reports of sexual violence
  • include representatives who offer victim services in their response team
  • have trained and coordinated campus and local police
  • use disciplinary procedures that comply with best practices
  • have a Title IX coordinator

To address these failures, the report found that:

  • annual climate student surveys provide accurate information about sexual assault on campus
  • a hotline or website for confidential reporting of sexual assault encourages reporting
  • sexual assault response training for faculty and staff could help provide victims with services and increase accountability for perpetrators
  • prevention and response training for students can help prevent sexual assault
  • a coordinated Sexual Assault Response Team provides an effective response to sexual violence
  • students should not be appointed to decision boards in sexual violence cases

McCaskill’s survey report provides valuable insight into what is actually happening on college campuses and echoes many of the recommendations made at the roundtable discussions. This research, combined with input from all stakeholders, provides exactly the kind of information which legislators and administrators alike need to evaluate the effectiveness of programs and provide enough flexibility to meet the unique needs of each campus community.

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