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Otterbein University Releases Results of Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault

October 15, 2015
Otterbein University

New data from a climate survey on sexual assault and misconduct show that Otterbein University students feel safer on campus than students at other small institutions across the nation. Otterbein has released the results of its Sexual Assault Climate Survey to the public via its website.

The Sexual Assault Climate Survey data for Otterbein were collected using the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium instrument developed using White House recommendations for sexual assault campus climate surveys. Voluntary participation in the HEDS Consortium survey allowed Otterbein to access benchmarking data gathered from 57 colleges and universities throughout the United States. Fifty-four of the participating universities are small universities (private institutions with fewer than 3500 undergraduate students), including 44 members of the HEDS Consortium and 10 non-member survey participants. Otterbein is a member of the consortium.

Although the survey is not required of universities, Otterbein plans to conduct the survey annually as an additional tool to improve sexual assault awareness, educational programming and response on its campus. The Otterbein Task Force on Sexual Violence, a group comprised of students, faculty and staff who focus on preventative and educational initiatives for students, will study the results to implement changes.

The entire population of eligible Otterbein students—those over 18 years old who were registered during the 2015 spring semester—was sampled for this study and all responses were anonymous. There was a 13 percent response rate.

Students at Otterbein compared favorably to other institutions in terms of perceptions of sexual assault prevalence on campus as being low and that the University would respond in appropriate ways.  Otterbein has the lowest prevalence rate of sexual assaults among the 44 HEDS member institutions that participated in the survey.

When compared to their peers at other small institutions in the HEDS Consortium, Otterbein students indicate:

  • feeling safe on Otterbein’s campus at a much greater rate
  • better (or higher) confidence that Otterbein would respond to dangerous situations and sexual assaults and that sexual assault prevalence is low
  • receiving, remembering and finding helpful information about how to recognize and prevent sexual assault at a greater rate
  • experiencing less unwanted sexual contact
  • experiencing many less sexual assaults

Otterbein students matched other institutions in general climate scores.

Otterbein’s current programming is one reason that Otterbein’s survey results compare well against national data. Otterbein has the following initiatives in place:

  • University Discrimination and Harassment Policy
  • University Sexual Misconduct Policy
  • Required online education for all students, faculty and employees to learn about sexual misconduct and related topics, Otterbein-specific policies and resources and Ohio statutes as required by the Campus SaVE Act
  • University Title IX website, including definitions, policies and resources that address concerns of both the individual seeking general information and the person who is in crisis requiring immediate assistance
  • Overview of Title IX in the Otterbinder, a binder of information about University polices and department written for and sent to new students and families prior to the fall semester
  • Resident Assistant (RA) training on sexual misconduct
  • New Student Orientation programming, includes skits focusing on realistic scenarios involving challenging topic such as sex, alcohol and bystander awareness, as well as small group discussions
  • Title IX magnet with information about Title IX, sexual misconduct policy, resources and reporting information, in all on-campus housing
  • Small group programs, including Team Consent, Relationship Spectrum, Violence and Alcohol and Bystander Awareness
  • Safety Week, including programs and educational campaigns on bystander awareness and sexual misconduct
  • Sexual awareness information distributed on residence hall bulletin boards, presentations to students, poster campaign and call-in radio show to discuss sexual health, consent, rape and resources
  • Departmental training for faculty and staff

Additionally, Otterbein’s Title IX representatives meet personally with student organizations and host events on campus for educational outreach. Recently, more than 400 students attended a lecture about alcohol, drugs and sex, which also addressed sexual assault and misconduct topics.

The survey results, as well as information and resources for students, can be found online at www.otterbein.edu/public/titleIX.aspx.

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