February 19, 2019
To: Faculty, Other Academic Appointees, Postdoctoral Researchers, Students, and Staff
From: Daniel Diermeier, Provost
Subject: Spring 2019 Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct
Date: February 19, 2019
As announced on October 4, 2018, the University will be participating in the Association of American Universities (AAU) Spring 2019 climate survey as a part of our sustained commitment to preventing and addressing acts of sexual misconduct, increasing confidence in University processes and policies, and fostering a healthy and respectful environment for learning, living, and working.
The survey, which will go out to all undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students on February 25, is designed to assess the incidence, prevalence and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct and provides an opportunity to benchmark against peer institutions. There are 33 institutions administering this survey to students nationwide. It is expected to be among the largest of its kind.
The AAU and participating universities have contracted with Westat, a leading social science research firm, to conduct the survey and analyze survey results in a manner that protects student confidentiality and allows for data sharing across universities. AAU will publicly release aggregate results from across the participating AAU universities. The University of Chicago expects to release its own results once they are analyzed in late 2019. In order to help guide the University’s participation in this important effort, I convened a Faculty Advisory Committee and am very grateful for their continued work in this regard.
Students in the University will receive an email tomorrow from Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University, and Bridget Collier, Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs and Title IX Coordinator for the University, outlining the timeline of communications from Westat about the survey and providing details about the instrument.
The University has taken a number of steps in recent years to strengthen policies and programs aimed at preventing and addressing sexual misconduct, including substantial revisions in 2015 to the Policy on Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct. That year the University conducted its first survey on issues of sexual misconduct, which gathered findings from 4,116 UChicago students who responded. Annual sexual misconduct awareness and prevention training was made mandatory in 2016 for all members of the University community – including students, faculty, academic appointees, postdocs, and staff.
Other recent initiatives have included the creation of the Bias Education and Support Team, Bringing in the Bystander, the Campus Partner Task Force on Sexual Misconduct, and the Office of the Provost’s Student Advisory Board on Sexual Misconduct.
This survey is another vital step for the University’s prevention efforts and all students are encouraged to participate. We all share a responsibility for building a safe and welcoming academic environment, free of unlawful harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct.