UF releases results of sexual assault and misconduct survey

September 21, 2015
UF News

The University of Florida today released the results of the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, a survey of the Association of American Universities, in which UF and 26 other universities participated.

The voluntary survey was distributed to 12,000 randomly selected UF students in April in an effort to learn their knowledge, attitudes and experiences regarding sexual violence.

With almost 17 percent of students responding, the survey results will be used to further develop programs and initiatives that educate the student community regarding inappropriate behavior, available resources, ways to report and resolution options. These universitywide efforts seek to ultimately curtail the incidences of sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus.

“UF volunteered to participate in this survey because of the importance of this issue. The survey gives us the ability to learn about our students’ experiences and use that data to make our community a safer one for all students,” Dean of Students Jen Day Shaw said. “At UF, every Gator counts.”

UF’s findings generally mirror student responses from the other top-tier universities that participated in the study and align with similar recent national surveys of sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses. 

  • One in five UF female undergraduate students indicated they have experienced some type of sexual assault---ranging from sexual touching such as groping to unwanted penetration --- since entering UF.  Five percent of male undergraduates reported the same.
  • 17.6 percent of non-heterosexual UF students reported experiencing nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or incapacitation, compared with 10.6 percent for heterosexuals.
  • In responding to questions concerning sexual harassment, which includes offensive comments and jokes, the offender’s affiliation to the university was described nearly 92 percent of the time as another student; more than 70 percent of students who said they were harassed said the offender was a friend or acquaintance.

The survey also looked at whether female victims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct report it to either the university or another organization, such as law enforcement. Of female students who responded that they had been victims of penetration by physical force:

  • 58 percent said they did not report the behavior because they did not think it was serious enough to report;
  • 23 percent did not report the incident because they did not think anything would be done about it;
  • 18 percent did not report because they feared the information would not be kept confidential; and
  • 27 percent did not report because they felt embarrassed or ashamed.*

Finally, the survey revealed that more than two-thirds of UF students believe that a report of sexual assault or sexual misconduct would be taken seriously by campus officials. Sixty percent said it was very or extremely likely that the safety of those reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct would be protected by university officials.

The benchmark data provided by the survey will help the university focus efforts on opportunities for improvement. The universitywide Title IX Committee will use the results to identify gaps and determine priorities.

Education and training is provided to students starting at orientation and continuing through their UF experience. Even before getting these results, UF implemented a mandatory sexual violence online educational training module for all students that are new to UF which began this summer.  Additionally, UF’s Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution Chris Loschiavo was one of a handful of conduct officers invited to the White House in 2014 to consult about sexual violence on the college campus.  The “It’s On Us” White House campaign against sexual violence was one of the initiatives. 

“We have been working hard to encourage students to report their experiences so that we can both provide support to the survivor and address the behavior,” Loschiavo said.

The full AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct aggregate report, including an executive summary, a description of the methodology, and extensive data and analysis, is available on the AAU website.

*Does not add up to 100 percent because students could choose more than one answer. 

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