The 2016 Campus Climate Survey was the first in a series of biennial campus climate surveys of University of Mary Washington students. This survey was meant to capture perceptions, attitudes, and prevalence of interpersonal violence, in particular sexual and gender-based violence, among students. The University utilized a modified version of the Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative (ARC3) survey, sent to all undergraduate, graduate, part-time and full-time students enrolled as of February 2016.
The findings of this survey indicate that rates of interpersonal violence at the University of Mary Washington are on par with national averages. While the majority of respondents felt happy and safe during their time at Mary Washington and reported a low tolerance level for harassment and moderate rates of bystander intervention, some indicated opportunities and room for improvement on the University’s part in responding to and preventing interpersonal violence.
Overall, 82% of students who participated in this survey indicated feeling safe on campus. Perceptions of the severity of sexual on violence is evenly split, with 33.7% indicating that sexual violence was not a problem on campus, 32% reporting that it is a problem, and 34.4% neutral on the subject. Nineteen percent of all students reported that they had experienced some form of sexual/gender harassment. Of students who reported experiencing violence while enrolled, 53% said that the University met their needs for support and accommodation, 64% said the University created an environment where they felt safe to discuss their experiences, and 64% said that they felt supported either through formal or informal resources.
A vast majority (91.7%) of respondents indicated safe and healthy perceptions of their friends’ attitudes regarding a variety of interpersonal behaviors. Between 30 – 52% of respondents indicated that they participated in bystander intervention “at least most of the time” when witnessing a variety of events including asking someone who was upset at a party if they needed help (52.4%), walking a friend who had too much to drink home (44.9%), and intervening if they witnessed a friend verbally (45.4%) or physically (45.8%) abusing another person.
The findings of these ongoing studies will inform prevention, intervention, and response efforts on campus. The University of Mary Washington is committed to taking a stand against all forms of interpersonal violence as well as providing support, resources, education, and preventative awareness to our campus community. UMW understands that sexual and gender-based violence can greatly impede a student’s opportunities for academic and personal success; as such, we are committed to reducing risk and enhancing resources on campus for all of our students.
The next Campus Climate Survey will be administered in the spring of 2018.
This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-WA-AX-0019 awarded by the Office of Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.