Eastern Michigan University to conduct innovative student survey on attitudes and culture surrounding sexual misconduct

Survey seeks to go beyond simply assessing prevalence. The goal is to understand and assess cultural and contextual factors related to campus sexual misconduct, then use that perspective to develop and implement prevention programs and policies

Colorful speech bubbles and silhouettes of young people are the artwork for the survey on campus sexual misconduct culture.

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University is taking an unprecedented, in-depth look into the culture surrounding sexual misconduct on its campus, with the goal of further improving the experiences of students and staff during their time at Eastern.

This month, Eastern will deploy an inaugural Survey on Campus Sexual Misconduct Culture to certain students who will be randomly selected to represent the University’s diverse student body.

The survey includes questions about the experiences of students with various forms of sexual misconduct, including coercion, harassment, and sexual violence. It also asks students about the degree to which they feel safe and respected, their knowledge about and satisfaction related to campus resources and policies, and their views on consent, rape myths, and bystander behaviors.

“Therefore, the survey is not meant to be answered only by students who have directly experienced sexual misconduct but instead by all students who receive an invitation to participate in this vital effort,” said Rhonda Longworth, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, in a message to campus Thursday (Jan. 17) informing students, faculty and staff of the survey.

The survey will use a sample approach. Students will be randomly selected from a list of all EMU students to receive an invitation to complete the survey.

“Therefore, it is very important that all students who receive the invitation choose to participate so that the survey findings are representative of EMU’s diverse students,” Longworth said.

Longworth noted that while surveys conducted at other universities across the country have found high levels of sexual misconduct, the EMU Survey attempts to go beyond prevalence to understand and assess cultural and contextual factors related to campus sexual misconduct.

“The objective is to inform the campus and support the development and implementation of prevention programs and policies at EMU that are specific responses to the unique needs of our students,” she said. “The EMU Survey aims to collect information about various cultural factors that should be taken into account in our efforts to prevent sexual misconduct among our students and on and around our campus.”

The survey will take about 25 to 35 minutes to complete. Participation is voluntary, and responses will be kept confidential.

In order to achieve and keep strict confidentiality of participants' information, EMU has contracted an outside survey organization, the Wayne State University (WSU) Center for Urban Studies will collect survey responses and only release completely de-identified information to the project team at EMU.

The survey was designed by the EMU Title IX Research Committee (made up of faculty and research administrators) with the active participation of students, and after conversations with stakeholders representing a wide range of campus communities. The survey is sponsored by the EMU's Provost Office and the Title IX Office.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 19,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

January 23, 2019

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Geoff Larcom