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February 19, 2019

University to Begin Administering Campus-Wide Sexual Misconduct Survey


The admissions office housed in Rosenwald Hall.

Giovanna DeCastro / The Chicago Maroon

The University will begin administering a campus-wide survey on sexual misconduct on February 25, Provost Daniel Diermeier announced in an e-mail Tuesday.

In October, the University said that it would participate in the Association of American Universities (AAU) spring 2019 climate survey as part of a partnership with 33 other U.S. institutions of higher education.

The survey will examine sexual assault and misconduct at the University. Westat, a Maryland-based research and professional services firm, will conduct the survey. Details about the survey instrument will be released to students Wednesday.

The AAU will release aggregate results from all 33 institutions, although a publication timeline has not yet been determined. UChicago-specific results are expected to be released in late 2019. A faculty advising committee will provide oversight throughout the survey process.

The first UChicago-wide survey on sexual misconduct took place in 2015, in the wake of several high-profile incidents, including threats of rape posted to a hacked RSO web page and the launch of a Title IX investigation against the University.

The 2015 survey found that 25.6 percent of respondents had experienced some form of sexual misconduct while at the University. Specifically, 52 percent of undergraduate female respondents and 20.5 percent of undergraduate male respondents reported that they had experienced sexual misconduct. However, that survey may not have been representative of the total student population, because only 31.7 percent of students responded.

Following the 2015 survey, in 2016 the University made annual sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training mandatory for all members of the University community.

Westat previously partnered with the AAU in 2014 to survey 27 institutions of higher education, not including UChicago. In that survey, 11.7 percent of respondents reported experiencing nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching since starting college, although sexual assault rates varied widely from institution to institution.

Also in 2014, Westat paid $1.5 million to settle a U.S. Department of Labor employment discrimination suit which concluded that Westat had systematically discriminated against minority and female job applicants.

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