The findings of the campus sexual violence survey, released by Senator Claire McCaskill on July 9, assess how institutions report, investigate, and adjudicate sexual violence. Overall, the findings are critical of every aspect of how campuses are handling sexual assaults on campus.
The report, “Sexual Violence on Campus: How too many institutions of higher education are failing to protect students,” highlights issues ranging from low levels of awareness of the problem, to a lack of support for survivors, to failures in sexual assault training, reporting, investigation, and adjudication.
Specific findings highlighted by Sen. McCaskill show that more than 40% of the schools responding to the survey had not conducted a single sexual assault investigation over the past five years, and eight of the largest private institutions conducted fewer investigations than the number of sexual assaults they reported under the Clery Act.
The report was also critical of institutions that give athletic departments oversight of sexual violence cases involving student-athletes—a practice of over 20% of the institutions surveyed. Sen. McCaskill raised her concerns with NCAA President Mark Emmert at a hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee that focused on the well-being and academic success of college athletes.
She indicated that she is continuing to work with a bipartisan group of Senators to develop legislation addressing the issues raised in the report.
The survey was distributed in April to a national sample of 350 four-year institutions, representing all sectors of higher education. The survey generated 236 responses, a 67% response rate. The survey was also sent to two additional samples: the 50 largest public four-year institutions; and 40 private non-profit institutions with enrollments of 15,000 or more. Response rates to the additional samples were 98% and 85%, respectively.