Sexual Assault Awareness Climate Survey
This document summarizes main findings from the Sexual Assault Awareness Climate Survey conducted at The Sage Colleges during the month of November 2014 (11/2/14- 11/30/14). The template provided by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault was utilized. Significant differences between campuses on specific questions are noted. The survey was conducted in order to identify the problem, and the extent, of sexual violence on our campuses.
This survey was administered to all current Sage students. There was a total of 380 respondents to the survey (13% response rate). Approximately 50% of the respondents were undergraduate Russell Sage College students (RSC) students, 19% undergraduate Sage College of Albany (SCA) students, a quarter Sage Graduate students (SGS), 3% School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) students and 2% reported unsure. A majority of respondents identified as female, white and heterosexual.
Campus Cohesiveness/Sense of Community
The findings in this category are rather positive as illustrated by the fact that nearly 90% of students agree that faculty are genuinely concerned about their welfare and 85% feel the same about administrators. Nearly 70% of students reported feeling close to people on campus. Three quarters of students feel a part of this college. 82% reported feeling happy at this college. 88% feel that the faculty, staff and administrators at this school treat students fairly. These findings have implications for reporting as the more trust the students have in their professors and administrators, the more likely they will come forward in the case of an assault.
General Campus Safety
A couple of areas of concern were highlighted in this category. Slightly more than three quarters of students reported feeling safe on campus. 79% of RSC students, 68% of SCA students, 69% of SGS students, and 50% of SPCE students feel that college officials handle incidents in a fair and responsible manner. While students may not have limited this to just sexual assault incidents in their response, there is room for improvement in this category and a need to balance out the campuses as well.
When it comes to support- 20% of RSC students, 26% of SCA students, 14% of SGS students, and 30% of SPCE students disagree that there is a good support system on campus for students going through difficult times. This reflects poorly on the counseling services provided by the Wellness Center- specifically with trauma support services.
Campus Response to Sexual Assault
91% of students reported feeling that the College would take the report seriously if someone were to report a sexual assault to a campus authority. This is indicative of the competency of the Title IX team and their ability to handle reports on campus.
It appears that students do feel they would be supported if they were to come forward with a report of sexual assault as illustrated by the following; if someone were to report a sexual assault to a campus authority, 86% of respondents feel that the college would take steps to protect the safety of the person making the report and 87% felt that the person would be supported.
There has been considerable media attention recently focused on the lack of punitive action against alleged offenders. It appears that the perception among Sage students contrasts with this as two thirds of students found it likely that the college would take corrective action against the offender if someone were to report a sexual assault to a campus authority and 80% felt that the college would take steps to protect the person making the report from retaliation.
When asked “If someone were to report a sexual assault to a campus authority- students would label the person making the report a troublemaker, “44% of RSC students, 63% of SCA students, and half of both SGS and SPCE students reported feeling that the chances are slightly to very likely. The fact that all schools but RSC are co-ed could explain the difference.
The fact that 32% of RSC students, 45% of SCA students, and a quarter of both SGS and SPCE students feel that it was moderately or very likely that the educational achievement/career of the person making the report would suffer is disconcerting, as is the significant difference between the schools.
Student Knowledge of Training/Policies/Procedures/Resources
Sage is diligent about adhering to the training requirements as outlined by federal guidelines under Title IX. About 60 % of students reported receiving training in policies and procedures regarding incidents of sexual assault and the prevention of sexual assault. All first year undergraduate students receive training in the summer through an online module and in person training during orientation in August. Effective Fall 2014, all SGS students were offered an online module as well. As a result of these efforts, 100% of students would have reported receiving training on both subjects, since it was offered to all. This illustrates the need to continue to strive to reach all students on this important topic.
When it comes to knowing where to get help if a friend or the student were sexually assaulted, the results were fairly favorable among SGS and RSC students, as 85% of SGS students and 83% of RSC students who said they agreed. SCA was slightly lower at 78% and SPCE was the lowest at 63%. The latter can most likely be explained by the minimal time SPCE students are on campus and a lack of connection to resources.
This section is an essential piece of the survey given our lack of knowledge surrounding victimization rates given the fact that reporting rates at The Sage Colleges have been historically low. We are hoping that with increased education and training, more students will feel comfortable coming forward and reporting.
Below are graphs depicting the answers to the following questions focused on victimization:
In the last year (or since you’ve enrolled in Sage if you’ve been here for less than one year), has anyone had sexual contact with you by using physical force or threatening to physically harm you?
In the last year (or since you’ve enrolled in Sage if you’ve been here for less than one year), has someone had sexual contact with you when you were unable to provide consent or stop what was happening because you were passed out, drugged, drunk, incapacitated or asleep? This question asks about incidents you are certain happened.
No students reported being victimized at SPCE or Other.
Overall, 7.5% of students reported being sexual assaulted this past year. Over a four year college career, this averages out to be 30%, which is the average nationally.
79% of incidents involved alcohol. 80% of victims indicated that they had been drinking but none indicated drug use and only one individual was given a drug without their knowledge.
18% of the unwanted behavior involved strangers. This means that 82% of the unwanted behavior involved someone the person knew (non stranger) which exactly coincides with the national figure presented in the U.S. Department of Justice, National Crime Victimization Study: 2009-2013.
When asked if the person was a student at your college, 63% of SCA students said yes, half of SGS students said yes (four respondents), and just 10% of RSC students said yes. To our knowledge, the cases of sexual assault at RSC are primarily taking place off campus. 97% of the perpetrators were male.
19% of RSC students used formal procedures to report the incident and neither SCA nor SGS students reported the incident. Unfortunately, this is the situation nationwide, as “campus sexual assault… is chronically underreported: only 2% of incapacitated sexual assault survivors, and 13% of forcible rape survivors, report the crime to campus or local law enforcement.” Krebs et al. The Campus sexual assault (CSA) study. It is Sage’s hope that the more prevention education that is conducted, the more likely it is that a victim will feel comfortable coming forward- or be supported by friend to report.
Sage remains committed to educating its community about sexual violence, and reducing its occurrence. Sage will continue to provide a safe environment for its students to learn and grow.
In 2015-16, Sage will comply with the NYS Sexual Assault Legislation, also known as Enough is Enough, recorded as Article 129-B of the Education Law, which goes into effect on October 5, 2015.