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Notre Dame releases results of 2020 campus climate survey

| Friday, March 5, 2021

Maggie Klaers | The Observer

The Office of Institutional Equity shared the results of the fall 2020 student climate survey Thursday which provided data on Notre Dame students’ perceptions of and experiences with sexual misconduct and corresponding University policies.

The survey had a 47.5% completion rate, up 3% from the last one. All undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students were invited to participate Oct. 5-19. This year’s questionnaire was the fifth of its kind — surveys on campus climate were also administered in 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2018.

According to the survey results, 4% of females and 1% of males indicated they had experienced non‐consensual sexual intercourse as a student, while 16% of female students and 4% of male students said they had personally experienced other forms of non‐consensual sexual contact while enrolled at Notre Dame.

Out of the students who had experienced non‐consensual sexual intercourse, 6% reported the assault to the University. Of the students who had experienced non‐consensual sexual contact, 3% reported the incident to the University.

In the accompanying survey results overview released by the Title IX office, officials acknowledged the likelihood of instances of sexual assault and sexual misconduct being underreported.

Most students who chose not to report an instance of sexual assault did not report it because they wanted to forget about it (69%) or they did not want to go through the University process (65%). Meanwhile, 58% of students who did not report a sexual assault thought reporting would not solve anything, and 57% blamed themselves for the incident.

About half of students who had not reported said they did not do so because they did not trust the University’s process.

Of the survey respondents, 1% reported they had experienced dating or domestic violence, and 3% reported experiencing stalking behaviors.

In addition, 23% of students said they would not intervene during an incident related to sexual violence out of fear for being punished for other violations of University policies, including parietals and underage drinking.

“It is important to reiterate that the University’s interest in addressing these harmful incidents outweighs concerns about those other violations — survivors and witnesses will not be referred to the University’s Conduct Process for these lesser violations, as stated in Section G here,” assistant vice president for institutional equity Erin Oliver and assistant vice president for student services Christine Caron Gebhardt said in an email about the survey results.

For students worried about Campus Compact violations, the Office of Institutional Equity said, COVID-19 amnesty from University disciplinary action will be granted to students reporting sexual violence, interpersonal violence or other behaviors the University considers harassment.

Students also called for greater transparency to the University’s response to incidents in the survey.

While 65% of students said the University response to sexual assault was very effective or mostly effective, 35% said it was somewhat effective or not effective at all. Additionally, 60% of students said the University’s response to other types of sexual misconduct was very effective (28%) or mostly effective (32%).

In regards to on-campus safety resources, 31% of students said they were not aware of the SafeBouND/Safe Walk service, and an additional 44% said they were aware of the service but did not know how to use it.

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