University of iowa sees improved response to sexual assault-climate survey the gazette

Carolyn Hartley chair of the sexual misconduct and climate survey subcommittee of the University of Iowa anti-violence coalition talks about the results of the latest 2017 Speak Out Iowa campus climate survey on sexual misconduct at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette) Monique DiCarlo University of Iowa Title IX coordinator and chair of the UI’s anti-violence coalition answers a questions as the results of the latest 2017 Speak Out Iowa campus climate survey on sexual misconduct are announced at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette) Carolyn Hartley chair of the sexual misconduct and climate survey subcommittee of the University of Iowa anti-violence coalition explains a graph highlighting one of the key findings determined from the latest 2017 Speak Out Iowa campus climate survey on sexual misconduct as results are announced at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa, on Thursday, April 26, 2018. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)


“The higher response rate along with the weighting with the data we did allow us to have greater confidence,” Hartley said. “But the rates are still considered to be estimates since not all students did respond to the survey, and there could be some differences between those who students who chose to take the survey and those who didn’t.”

• Except for sexual harassment by faculty and staff, undergraduates reported much higher rates of all types of sexual misconduct than graduate students, with 27 percent reporting sexual violence victimization, compared with 14 percent of graduate students.

• Students were far more likely to disclose incidents to friends or roommates than formally to administrators or police, for example. About 95 percent said they sought informal support for sexual violence, compared with 20 percent who sought formal support.

• UI students, in a finding perhaps related to reporting habits, said they had limited knowledge about the reporting process and where to access help — with just 36 percent saying they understand what happens when students report and 44 percent saying they know where to make a report.

The university in recent years has rolled out new training modules and requirements for incoming students, stressing — among other things — bystander intervention, which asks students to look for warning signs of sexual misconduct and intervene.

But, according to the new findings, fewer than half of students reported consistently intervening when given the chance. Just 29 percent said they spoke up against sexist jokes, 40 percent said they intervened with a friend who was being physically abusive to someone, and 46 percent “intervened when a friend was trying to get someone drunk and do something sexual.”

The plan also seeks to engage faculty and staff in a more robust way, continue collaborating with alcohol-harm reduction efforts, and charge a “healthy masculinity task force” to define a mission and set targets, coordinate training opportunities, and host monthly discussions “to shift social norms.”