Purdue releases report on campus climate survey

September 21, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University on Monday (Sept. 21) released the findings of a campus climate survey on sexual assault sponsored by the Association of American Universities (AAU). The Purdue release follows the AAU release of its aggregate report from 27 institutions nationwide.

“We recognize that sexual assault and misconduct is a national issue, and our participation in this survey helps us to understand both the national and our local climate,” President Mitch Daniels said. “In reality, we have to do what is right for our students right here at Purdue no matter Purdue’s disappointingly low response rate to the survey or the campus climate elsewhere. Even one incident of this sort is unacceptable, and we will use what we are learning from these results to focus on problems that are clear.”

Daniels released the results to Purdue students on the West Lafayette campus via a direct email late Monday morning.

The survey was administered in April to all students at 26 AAU member institutions and one non-member institution. In all, the survey included a potential population of more than 775,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Purdue students’ response rate was 13.3 percent, below the AAU survey average of 19.3 percent.

At Purdue, 13.2 percent of female undergraduates who responded to the survey reported they had been sexually assaulted during the current year, and 21.9 percent said they had been sexually assaulted since entering Purdue, compared respectively with 13.2 percent and 23.1 percent AAU aggregate. (Note: Sexual assault in this survey is defined as experiencing nonconsensual sexual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation.) For female graduate and professional students, 4.9 percent of Purdue respondents said they had been sexually assaulted in the current year compared with 3.4 percent AAU; and 11.8 percent reported a sexual assault since their arrival at Purdue, compared to 8.8 percent AAU. A majority of these assaults were reported to have involved friends or acquaintances.

Responses indicated that the use of alcohol and/or drugs is involved in a majority of incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, and that the majority of respondents who witnessed a drunken person headed toward a sexual encounter or witnessed sexually violent or harassing behavior did not intervene.

Purdue has many programs in place, including a 24-hour crisis line, required educational programming for beginning students, a health and safety session at the Boiler Gold Rush orientation program, and educational sessions on bystander intervention, among others.

Purdue intends to expand on these programs, specifically in bystander intervention and relationship violence, while also establishing the Center for Advocacy, Response and Education (CARE), a centralized resource center for students who are victims/survivors of sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking. CARE is expected to be fully operational prior to the start of the 2016 academic year.

“These educational programs are designed to provide students with important information on this topic, including information on available resources and Purdue policies and procedures. Purdue’s survey results indicate that education is vital to both the prevention and response to sexual assault,” said Alysa Christmas Rollock, vice president for ethics and compliance. “Purdue will continue to evaluate the programs and services we offer and will engage our entire community in this important topic.” 

Media contact: Brian Zink, 765-494-2080, bzink@purdue.edu 

Related websites:

Message to students from Purdue President Mitch Daniels: http://www.purdue.edu/president/email/2015/150921-aau-report.html

Purdue report: http://www.purdue.edu/titleix/Climate_Survey/PurdueReport.pdf

AAU report and fact sheet: https://www.aau.edu/Climate-Survey

Purdue educational programs and resources: http://www.purdue.edu/sexual_assault/education/programs/index.html 

Purdue Climate survey website: http://www.purdue.edu/titleix/Climate_Survey/Index.html

Previous news release:

Purdue to take part in national survey on campus sexual assault climate: http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2015/Q2/purdue-to-take-part-in-national-survey-on-campus-sexual-assault-climate.html

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