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Penn State Finally Releases 2018 Sexual Misconduct Survey Results

Penn State finally released results to its 2018 Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey, which investigated university-wide student experiences with and attitudes about sexual misconduct. The survey is completed every three years, and data varies by campus.

According to the survey results, 19% of undergraduates and 7.1% of graduate/professional students across Penn State reported being the victim of at least one instance or attempt of sexual assault.

The voluntary survey was delivered anonymously and electronically. The distribution of 2018’s results was delayed due to staffing limitations and unforeseen disruptions based on COVID-19-related needs, Penn State said.

The survey results were released Monday following an open letter created by the Gender Equity Coalition that asked the university to release it and pursue additional surveys in the future. Last Wednesday, UPUA unanimously supported publishing the results.

“The data from this survey is invaluable and will guide our actions as we build on our educational programs and support resources for those who are impacted by sexual misconduct,” Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs, said. “The University is committed to creating a safe, supportive campus climate that leaves no room for sexual assault or harassment. This survey is just one tool in the University’s efforts to address sexual misconduct.”

More than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate Commonwealth Campus students and nearly 14,000 University Park students completed the survey. University Park achieved respective response rates of 25.6% and 41.1% for undergraduate and graduate students.

According to the University Park results, 78.5% of undergraduates and 83.5% of graduate/professional students feel safe from sexual harassment on or around campus — a slight increase from the 2015 results.

About 68.3% of undergraduates and 73.6% of graduate/professional students feel the university would take a report of sexual misconduct seriously. Of students who reported experiencing sexual misconduct, 62.9% of women and 43.6% of men reported telling someone about the incident or incidents.

Additionally, 27.1% of women, 6.1% of men, and 25.5% of sexual and gender diverse undergraduate respondents said they’d been the victim of at least one instance of sexual assault or attempt.

Racial identity was not analyzed in these reports, but demographics will be a variable discussed prior to the next survey in 2022. Penn State said it will also host a town hall later this semester to address the survey and university efforts to mitigate sexual assaults.

A link to the full report can be found here.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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