UI gets improved response in second campus-wide sexual assault survey

The campus climate survey had a response rate of 22.8 percent, up from 2015’s survey. Administrators are now able to view unsafe trends on campus and target initiatives accordingly.


A second survey looking at sexual misconduct in the University of Iowa community saw more than double a response rate from its first go-around.

The Speak Out Iowa survey results, published today, show the response of 6,952 UI students — 22.8 percent of the student body.

One of the biggest findings of the survey showed that lesbian and bisexual women experience sexual misconduct at higher rates than straight women. The same trend is seen between gay and bisexual men compared to straight men.

Carolyn Hartley, chair of the Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey Subcommittee of the UI Anti-Violence Coalition, said researchers are comfortable with this response rate, as rates in the low 20s are typical for a campus of this size, compared to other universities who have conducted similar surveys.

In 2015, the survey had a response rate of 9.3 percent — a size researchers could not draw many conclusions from. To improve the response, researchers limited the time of filling out the survey to about 15 minutes by removing some areas from the 2015 survey.

RELATED: UI gets little response in misconduct survey

Researchers do not plan to compare the 2015 data to the 2017 data because of the vastly different response rate and the change in survey questions and methodology.

In order to keep the survey short but still get response to many aspects of campus climate, researchers created four different modules to be distributed randomly to respondents.

These four modules looked at students’ understanding of consent, bystander intervention, thoughts on what peers think about sexual misconduct, and thoughts about what peers think about reporting incidents to the university. Since the modules were distributed randomly, the findings could be extrapolated to the entire group of respondents, Hartley said.

The results of the survey will be used to inform stakeholders on campus who can help with prevention of sexual misconduct, like residence hall employees. The data also were used to inform the 2018-2021 Anti-Violence plan, UI’s three-year strategy to prevent sexual misconduct and violence on campus.

Moving forward, Hartley said researchers would like to further examine the experience of sexual minorities, who experience sexual misconduct at higher rates, through focus groups, interviews, and other targeted research methods.

Survey results had:

  • 6952 respondents
  • 4728 were female
  • 2198 were male
  • 26 gave no answer
  • Survey was sent to 30,458 degree-seeking UI students
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