Frequently Asked Questions

Students, please visit How to Take the Survey for survey instructions.

For questions about sexual assault resources, technical difficulties, or other matters related to the survey, please visit the contact page.

What is the survey?

In February and March 2019 Georgetown is administering its second sexual assault and misconduct climate survey. The survey will allow Georgetown to examine the prevalence and incidence of sexual assault and sexual misconduct occurring within our community, attitudes among students about the campus climate regarding sexual assault, and knowledge of university resources available to students. Georgetown is using the Association of American Universities (AAU) survey (tailored to our specific university). This is the same survey that 32 other institutions of higher education, including Harvard, Yale, Brown and Penn, will administer on their campuses this spring. You can read more about the AAU survey on the AAU website. 

Why is Georgetown administering a sexual assault and misconduct climate survey?

The survey is designed to gather information to help inform our policies and practices for preventing and responding to sexual assault and misconduct within the Georgetown community. It is also designed to assess the incidence, prevalence, and characteristics of sexual assault and misconduct. It also assesses the overall climate of Georgetown with respect to perceptions of risk, knowledge of resources available to victims, and perceived reactions to an incident of sexual assault or misconduct.

How is the survey administered?

Westat, a private social science research firm, is administering the survey for Georgetown and eligible students will receive an email from Westat with a personal link to take the survey. Georgetown’s Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS) in partnership with the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action (IDEAA) and other key stakeholders worked with Westat to customize the survey for the Georgetown. The survey is open to students from February 1 – March 15, 2019. A report on responses to the survey is expected to be shared in fall 2019.

Why should I take the survey?

Every voice is critical, regardless of whether any individual has been personally affected by sexual misconduct, regardless of an individual’s level of knowledge on the topic.   

Why weren’t faculty and staff surveyed?

While we may consider surveying our faculty and staff on this topic in the future, in order to maintain comparability with the other schools that used the AAU survey, this particular survey will be administered only to students.

Why are some students offered incentives?

As is standard practice in survey administration, a smaller, statistically representative sample of the student community may be offered incentives in order to encourage participation. A high response rate within that population gives us more statistically accurate data. In order to make important decisions in the future, we have to have statistically significant and strong data.

Who analyzes the data?

The data will be analyzed by data professionals at Westat as well as by professionals in the Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS) and the Office of the Provost at Georgetown.

Is the survey anonymous and confidential?

When you complete the survey, the link between your name, email and IP address will be broken so that no one will be able to tie your responses to you. The results will be presented in summary form so no individual can be identified.

Will the results of the survey be publicly available?

Yes, survey results will be available in fall 2019.

How and why did Georgetown choose the AAU survey?

Georgetown has engaged deeply in these issues for more than a decade through its Sexual Assault Working Group. In 2015, a sub-group of faculty, staff and students researched the value that a survey on campus can bring. Their research included examining best practices identified by the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault, methodologies used by other schools, and federal recommendations. The group found that the AAU survey was designed and well-tested by a multidisciplinary team of experts, and would offer comparability with 27 other higher education institutions. The AAU survey also offers comprehensive climate questions consistent with Georgetown’s definitions. In 2019, Georgetown will join 32 other higher education institutions using the AAU survey.

How were the demographic categories and other terms selected for use in the survey?

We appreciate that there is a range of accepted terminology regarding the use of terms such as victim/survivor to describe those who have experienced sexual assault, and categories for demographic information such as sexual orientation, gender/gender identity, race and ethnicity, among others, and that preferences can differ among constituents. For purposes of comparability, the wording in the AAU survey is consistent across schools. The use or omission of certain terminology does not indicate an endorsement of any particular term over another. 

Why are you asking about such sensitive topics/using such explicit language?

We recognize the graphic nature of some of the survey questions. Fully understanding the climate at Georgetown requires asking questions on sensitive topics, using direct language that some may find uncomfortable. It is important that we use clear language so that readers understand exactly what we are asking, and so that we can accurately understand the climate on campus. If you find that taking the survey is triggering for you and/or if you wish to speak to a confidential resource on campus or in the community, information about confidential resources is located on the top right of each page of the survey.

Were students involved in the development and planning of this survey?

Yes, students were well represented on the committee that chose the survey in 2016. This year students have also offered suggestions on effective means of informing the community about the survey and encouraging students to complete it.

If I indicate on the survey that I have experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct, does this constitute a report to the university?  Will the university identify my response or follow up with me?

Because this is a confidential survey, the university cannot link your responses to your identity. Therefore, responses to survey questions do not constitute notice to the university of Title IX prohibited conduct or other violations of university policy that would trigger a response from the university.

If you do wish to make a report, please contact the appropriate Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator listed at can also report an incident of sexual misconduct online.

If you are unsure whether you wish to make a report, you can discuss options with one of the university’s confidential resources listed at

Will the survey be accessible to students with visual and other disabilities?

This is an online survey and the survey platform is compatible with screen reader software. The appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that the survey is accessible to all students. If you have questions about the survey or have difficulty accessing it, please send an e-mail to or call 1-855-793-5324.

For survey instructions, click here.

For contact information and other resources, click here.

To read university communications about the survey, click here.