College’s sexual assault survey provides useful, important data

A survey on sexual assault that all Indiana University campuses distributed to students has revealed important and useful information in Columbus.

IUPUC’s first online climate survey on the topic, conducted last year, shows that most students feel safe from the possibility of sexual assault, and that they believe staff and faculty would take a report of sexual assault or violence seriously.

More than 330 students completed some portion of the survey and more than 280 — about 19 percent of IUPUC’s student population — completed at least half. Among the findings:

•Only 4 percent of undergraduate men and 2 percent of undergraduate women indicated that sexual assault is a problem on the campus.

•About 97 percent of undergraduate survey participants reported that they had not observed a situation that they believed was, or could have led to, a sexual assault since becoming an IUPUC student.

Those statistics are encouraging, but by no means an indication that awareness and prevention efforts should slow down. The survey also indicated that students didn’t necessarily know where to go on campus to file a report, and just over half of undergraduate men and women knew where to get immediate help.

That’s concerning, but the good news is that IUPUC is using the survey results in a positive way. For example:

•Staff and faculty are being trained to be capable of receiving and referring sexual assault reports.

•The school has created a Compassionate Response team that includes faculty and staff members who receive training so campus officials can reach students where they are and respond appropriately.

We applaud IU for creating its campus-wide survey, and for IUPUC students and staff for taking it seriously and using the results constructively.

Gathering feedback and seeing what perceptions exist on an important topic such as sexual assault is imperative in order to help guide future efforts to curb that type of violence.