On March 28, Colgate University students, faculty and staff hosted a panel to discuss the results of a sexual violence survey distributed in February.
The Hamilton, New York, school partnered with the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium to administer its Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey, according to Colgate Maroon-News. Students received a voluntary survey invitation that included a set of questions created by HEDS and additional open-ended opportunities to share personal experiences.
The survey asked students about their perceptions of Colgate’s climate for unwanted sexual contact and sexual assault, how often they have experienced unwanted sexual contact or sexual assault, and how the school responds to sexual assaults. The full results can be seen here.
The survey was last administered in 2015, leading to the creation of new resources for Colgate students, including the SANE program, Haven, the Sexual Assault Response Team and the Sexual and Intimate Partners Violence Coalition.
The panel, facilitated by Dawn LaFrance, Director of Counseling and Psychological Services and Haven, aimed to educate the community on sexual violence prevention and response services available on campus.
Susan Woolley, Associate Professor of Education Studies and Interim Director of Women’s Studies, said she was bothered by some of the survey data, including that 62% of respondents said they were sexually assaulted during their first year at Colgate.
To lower this statistic, Woolley suggested incorporating sexual violence education into orientation programs, required summer reading and First-Year Seminars (FSEMs).
“I think all FSEMs or professors, in general, should bring their classes to Haven or have [Program Coordinator of Haven Tracia Banuelos] come speak at their classes. I think that would be really helpful because no one knows about Haven really,” said first-year student Julia Sicklick.
Another first-year student, Nicole Weiss, said she greatly benefited from Haven as a survivor of sexual assault and received “an overwhelming amount of support” from the Colgate community.
“I made the right choice [by coming to Colgate],” she said.
Woolley also pointed out that 92% of students who were sexually assaulted did not report the incident and only 30% of students responded to the survey.
Senior Kate Bussey, a member of The Sexual Violence Coalition, said she thinks the silence can be attributed to the “intrinsically patriarchal environment on this campus.”
Junior Eli Cousin, an intern for Colgate’s Bystander Intervention, acknowledged his position and privilege as a white heterosexual male and wants to use that privilege to normalize the conversations of sexual violence on campus and the fact that it is not just a women’s issue.
“I’m looking out into the crowd and there’s really no male representation here, sadly,” he said. “The burden can’t solely be on women and survivors.”
Other findings from the survey include:
- 81.7% agreed or strongly agreed they feel safe on campus
- 36.9% disagreed or strongly disagreed campus officials would take action against an offender
- 88.4% know how to report an incident of sexual assault on campus
- 42.9% said they were sexually assaulted once on campus since starting at Colgate
- 31.7% said they were sexually assaulted twice
- 14.3% said they were sexually assaulted three times
- 4.8% said they were sexually assaulted four times
- 4.8% said they were sexually assaulted more than four times
- 90.5% of the perpetrators were male
- 55.6% of sexual assaults occurred on campus, in a dorm or other campus housing
- 36.5% said there were bystanders when they were sexually assaulted
- 60.9% said the bystander(s) did not intervene
- 88.9% told a close friend about their sexual assault
- 50% were satisfied with Colgate’s response to their report
- 25% were dissatisfied
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