Voluntary surveys gauging students’ experiences and opinions on sexual misconduct demonstrate greater awareness of education and resources available on four system campuses
COLUMBIA – In another milestone in the University of Missouri System’s ongoing priority of emphasizing healthy, safe and non-discriminatory environments on its four campuses, today the university released the results of voluntary Title IX surveys facilitated at each of its campuses to better understand students’ experiences and opinions regarding sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Conducted in April at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU), the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) and the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL), the results of the surveys found a greater awareness among students of the education and prevention resources available on their respective campuses. The surveys represent the latest example of the university’s national leadership role in addressing the societal issue of sexual misconduct.
The surveys of UMKC, Missouri S&T and UMSL were designed by the university’s consultant, the National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM), and administered by the Assessment Resource Center at MU. MU participated in a national survey through its membership in the American Association of Universities (AAU), which was administered by Westat, a private research organization.
The NCHERM and AAU surveys differed significantly in how incidences were counted, sampling techniques and incentive structures, methodologies used in analyzing and interpreting results, and wording within questions. The significant differences in the two should be taken into account when comparing the results from the MU Campus Climate Survey to those of the UM System Climate Surveys for UMKC, S&T and UMSL. However, the results from both surveys provide important information to each campus that can be utilized to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence.
“Our priority is more than just fostering safe and respectful environments on our campuses, it is to maintain the University of Missouri System’s national leadership role in terms of how we address the challenging, societal issue of sexual misconduct,” UM System President Tim Wolfe said. “It is highly encouraging that the surveys revealed that awareness of the myriad of resources available to our students is increasing due to our determined efforts. Engaging in detailed surveys that ask difficult questions, questions that we know may yield a number of negative responses, is absolutely necessary for us to learn how to make our campuses places of excellence that are safe venues to grow and learn.”
Under President Wolfe’s leadership, the UM System has been engaged in a comprehensive, systemwide effort to examine and improve campus climate, focusing on preventing sexual assault and addressing mental health issues. In addition to the Title IX climate surveys and since February 2014, the university has:
- Completed a robust assessment of existing campus resources and education efforts to determine any gaps in education, prevention and response that needed to be addressed;
- Committed $2.2 million in recurring strategic funding for addressing gender-based violence, through FY2016 and beyond;
- Through President Wolfe’s Executive Order in April 2014, established a mandated reporter policy making it mandatory for every university employee to report sexual misconduct perpetrated against students to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator;
- Implemented resolution processes for resolving complaints of harassment, sexual misconduct and other forms of harassment against students or student organizations (September 2014), staff (February 2015) and faculty (February 2015);
- Launched online training for all UM System faculty and staff to understand their responsibilities as mandatory reporters; a mandatory online interpersonal violence prevention program for all new students beginning with the Fall 2015 semester, and;
- Held in-person training for more than 200 key Title IX personnel in the past year.
“The University of Missouri System is dedicated to providing a learning and working environment free from all forms of sex- and gender-based harassment,” Wolfe said. “Conducting surveys like these is critical to helping the university understand the scope of sexual harassment and gender-based violence experienced by our students, as well as assisting us in the future in evaluating how our current programming, training and response efforts are performing.”
For the complete surveys for all four campuses, visit the Title IX websites of each of our campuses at the following links:
To learn more about the comprehensive, systemwide effort to examine and improve campus climate and safety, visit https://umsystem.edu/hr/titleix.