State-mandated survey on campus sexual violence to be distributed today
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Employees and most students at Washington state’s community and technical colleges will get a voluntary survey emailed to them today asking about sexual and physical violence on and off campus. The state-mandated Campus Climate Assessment is designed to learn more about college student, faculty and staff attitudes and knowledge about sexual and physical violence, awareness of resources, and incidences of sexual and physical violence on and off campus.
The survey is being distributed to comply with a law passed by the Washington state Legislature in 2015. The law also requires the state’s public four-year universities to send a similar survey to their employees and students. Survey results for the state’s two-year colleges will be gathered by the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and summarized report for the state’s community and technical colleges. Additionally, the law requires SBCTC to report survey findings to the governor and the Legislature’s higher education committees.
“The safety of our students, staff, faculty and visitors is our highest priority,” said Joe Holliday, SBCTC director of student services. “The results of this survey will allow us to better address and prevent these types of violence from happening.”
The survey is completely voluntary, and survey-takers will remain anonymous. Those responding may opt out of the survey at any time and may choose to skip questions.
The survey was designed so colleges and resource centers could determine attitudes and prevalence of sexual and physical violence on- and off-campus. Types of questions include those asking survey-takers about their knowledge of their college and local community resources, whether they’ve witnessed a violent act, and their opinions about violence.
“Students learn — and employees work best — when they know they have a supportive environment in which to do so,” Holliday said. “We are confident our colleges have the people, tools and means in place to help keep everyone safe while they’re on campus. What we learn from this survey will help us reinforce and improve what we’re doing so we can continue providing a healthy and productive environment.”
Student services, research, and human resource experts from the Washington state community and technical college system worked together as an oversight group to compile the survey instrument. The group used a bank of questions from existing surveys provided through the White House Not Alone task force and other universities who have conducted similar surveys. The survey was also reviewed and approved by the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB), part of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. The WSIRB is responsible for looking at all research questions and tools before a survey starts. They are also responsible for ensuring the rights of respondents are protected throughout the entire survey process.