Campus Climate Survey reveals student unease about personal safety
The Campus Climate Survey was conducted by the University of Tulsa Institute of Trauma, Adversity and Injustice (TITAN) and the Advocacy Alliance. The stated purpose of the survey was, “to investigate the prevalence rates, attitudes regarding interpersonal violence, knowledge of and access to resources, alcohol and drug consumption, mental health symptoms, and perception of preventative and response efforts by the university.”
The results of the most recent survey were finalized on October 24. Members of TITAN and the Advocacy Alliance have been unavailable for contact to answer further questions about the survey, but some of the survey’s key findings are still noteworthy.
The sample size of the survey was 424 students, approximately nine percent of the total student population. Overall, 9.1 percent of students reported the experience of sexual violence while a student at TU.
Information about the contexts in which students at TU experienced assault was made available. 58.2 percent of perpetrators were also students at the university and 73.8 percent of perpetrators were male. Alcohol use was prevalent with 76.9 percent reported use by the perpetrator an 76.8 percent use by victims. 71.1 percent of sexual assaults reported occurred on campus and of the 31 respondents who listed specific locations, 51.6 percent occurred in campus apartments, 29 percent occurred in fraternity houses and 19.4 percent occurred in dorm rooms.
Respondents who said they had experienced assault were asked to indicate if and to whom they disclosed their assault. 55.3 percent said they had not told anyone about their assault. Others told a roommate or close friend, a family member, a counselor or mental health professional and in only one case to a campus sexual assault advocate.
Of the students who told no one, their reasons for doing so included: being embarrassed and ashamed (52.6 percent), believing it was private matter and prefered to deal with it alone (70 percent), being concerned that others would find out about their assault (31.3 percent), fearing retribution from the perpetrator (14.3 percent), fearing not being believed (31.3 percent), fearing punishment for infractions such as underage drinking (13.3 percent), did not know reporting procedures on campus (14.3 percent), feeling as though nothing would be done (26.7 percent) and not thinking the school would do anything about their report (14.3 percent).
Only two of the students who had experienced assault identified using formal university procedures to report the incident.
Students were also asked about their perceptions of leadership, policies and reporting violence at TU. Despite mandatory training required for all students prior to enrollment, only 72.9 percent of respondents reported receiving training in university policies and procedures. 23.4 percent of students expressed a belief that official were “not at all” or “slightly likely” to take corrective action against an offender; and 20.3 percent believed that officials were “not at all” or “slightly likely” to take corrective action to address the factors that may have led to the sexual assault. 60.6 percent of students felt college administrators should do more to protect students from harm.
Students also expressed attitudes about safety on campus. These included concerns about poor walkability at night, the absence of patrolling campus security officers, lack of safely located parking lots and the public accessibility of campus.
The report highlights, “there has been no reduction in the occurrence [of] sexual violence on the University of Tulsa campus from the 2014-2015 to the 2015-2016 academic year.”
“Our primary hindrance from achieving best practices with regards to sexual violence prevention on TU’s campus is the need to have information centralized and managed on a full time basis through positions dedicated to these efforts,” the report concludes.