Sexual Assault Awareness Climate Survey

Introduction

This document summarizes main findings from the Sexual Assault Awareness Climate Survey conducted at The Sage Colleges during the month of April 2017. The survey was administered from April 17, 2017 to May 2, 2017. The template provided by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault was utilized. The survey was conducted in order to identify the problem, and the extent, of sexual violence on our campuses.

Demographics

This survey was administered to all current Sage students, totaling 2456 students. There were only 224 respondents to the survey (9% response rate). Approximately 44% of the respondents were undergraduate Russell Sage College students (RSC) students, 21% undergraduate Sage College of Albany (SCA) students, 29% Sage Graduate students (SGS), 2% School of Professional and Continuing Education (SPCE) students and 3% reported other. A majority of respondents identified as female 88%, white 82%, and heterosexual 76%.

Campus Cohesiveness/Sense of Community

The findings in this category are positive as illustrated by the fact that nearly 83% of students agree that faculty are genuinely concerned about their welfare and 76% feel the same about administrators. Even more positive is that nearly 87% of students feel that faculty, staff, and administrators respect what they think. Nearly 72% of students reported feeling close to people on campus. Almost three quarters of students feel a part of this college. 77% reported feeling happy at this college. 79% feel that the faculty, staff and administrators at this school treat students fairly. These findings have positive implications for increased 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 offense. However, there is always room for improvement in and the College will work diligently to increase these numbers.

General Campus Safety & Response to Sexual Assault

A couple of areas of concern were highlighted in this category. Although about 84% of students reported feeling safe on campus overall, 59% of students thought the college should do more to protect students from harm. This figure reveals that the college can do more to improve our anti-violence awareness and education so that students are more confident in our efforts.

Only 51% of students felt that the College did an adequate job notifying students who the Title IX Coordinator was, and only 43% of students would feel comfortable reporting a sexual assault to the Coordinator. These numbers could reflect the fact that the College hired a new stand-alone Title IX Coordinator at the end of September 2016. The Title IX Coordinator needs to acclimate to Sage culture, and its attitudes and procedures toward campus sexual assault.  The students need time to identify and learn what the Title IX Coordinator will be doing in his new role with the College. With a permanent stand-alone Title IX Coordinator position, it will take some time to disseminate the identity and role of the Title IX Coordinator to the entire College. Some positive steps have already been taken to increase the identity and role of the new Title IX Coordinator.

Some figures revealed student confidence in overall college concern over student safety.  At Sage, 76% of students thought the college would take steps to protect the safety of the person making a report, and 75% believe that the college would support the person making the report.  72% of students believe that the college would take steps to protect the person making the report from retaliation.

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 66% 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. With the new Title IX Coordinator, we hope to increase training and awareness throughout the college community.

Victimization

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.

Overall, 8.8% of students reported being sexual assaulted this past year. Over a four year college career, this averages out to be 35%, which is close to the national average.

17% of the unwanted behavior involved strangers. This means that 83% 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. The leading category of perpetrators was non-romantic friend at 29%, which also coincides with national figures.

When asked if the person was a student at your college, 50% of total students said no. To our knowledge, the cases of sexual assault are primarily taking place off campus. 83% of the perpetrators were male.

21% of victimized students surveyed used formal procedures to report 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. Increased prevention education and awareness will improve victim trust in Sage procedures, which should lead to increased reporting.

Moving Forward…

Sage is committed to be innovative, to engage in complex conversations, and ultimately, to change campus culture and work toward a violence-free community. In the last few years at Sage, particularly in the last year, we have continued to focus on the issue of sexual misconduct in numerous ways, from providing support to our students to developing strong policies and implementing comprehensive education programs. These include:

  • Hiring a new Title IX Coordinator who has worked with victims of interpersonal violence throughout his professional career in and around the areas where both campuses are located;
  • Hiring a new Title IX Coordinator who exclusively manages the college’s Title IX process, which includes receiving reports, overseeing the adjudication process, and training/educating the college community;
  • Increasing training of students about Title IX, NYS’s Enough is Enough Law, Sage’s reporting procedures, dating violence, intimate partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, consent, bystander intervention among other related topics;
  • Increasing training of college employees (including student employees) regarding reporting obligations;
  • Increasing training of the faculty and staff members regarding sexual assault and trauma informed care.

Sage will continue its proactive efforts in educating our community about sexual violence and reducing its occurrence creating the safest environment possible for its students to learn and grow.