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Survey Offers Insight for Preventing and Responding to Sexual Misconduct

September 2017


A recently implemented student survey at Utah State University shows that, while the majority of students feel safe on campus, less than half knew how to file a formal sexual misconduct complaint with the university.

During April 2017, 45 percent of USU students responded to the survey, which gauges the incidence of nonconsensual sexual contact – defined in Utah’s code on sex offenses – including fondling and rape. The survey examined students’ attitudes about sexual misconduct, willingness to step in to stop sexual misconduct and perceptions about how USU responds to allegations.

USU will use the survey results in efforts to improve its policies and processes, expand education and prevention programming and improve support services.

Key Findings

  1. A majority of students – 92.6 percent – feel safe on the USU campus, but nine percent said USU does not have a good support system for students going through difficult times.
  2. The overall rate of survey respondents who had experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since coming to USU was 7.4 percent, including 10.1 percent of undergraduate females and 2.1 percent of undergraduate males.
  3. Most incidents of nonconsensual sexual contact occurred off-campus; 22 percent occurred in buildings or spaces owned by, or affiliated with the university.
  4. Most victims – 90 percent – said their assailant was someone they knew, usually another student.
  5. Overall, students indicated trust in how the university would respond to a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, but less than half knew how to file a formal complaint with USU’s Title IX office.
  6. Campus resources for victims of sexual misconduct are not being accessed in the majority of cases: only 5 percent of victims said they filed a formal report with the university (2.7 percent were unsure); 23 percent sought counseling services; 11 percent sought medical services; 7 percent sought advocacy services; and 6 percent sought a school accommodation.

Recent USU Initiatives

USU has introduced several new initiatives, including a mandatory online sexual assault awareness course for all incoming students, the introduction of a new campus-wide bystander intervention training program, introduction to the principles of bystander intervention in the freshman success class taken by most incoming students and a week of workshops and presentations focused on healthy relationships, communicating consent and preventing sexual assault.

USU has also released a new sexual assault resource guide in print and online at www.usu.edu/sexual-assault and has plans to roll out more information about how the formal complaint process works. You can pick up a printed guide at resource providers on campus.