Frequently Asked Questions

Students, please visit How to Take the Survey  [link to instructions page] for survey instructions.

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

What is the survey?

This month Georgetown is administering its first 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 will be using the Association of American Universities (AAU) survey (tailored to our specific university). This is the same survey that 27 other institutions of higher education, including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Columbia and Penn, administered on their campuses last year. You can read more about the AAU survey here.

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?

The survey is administered electronically by Georgetown’s Office of Assessment and Decision Support (OADS) in partnership with the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action (IDEAA). The survey is open to students from January 14th – February 6, 2016. A report on responses to the survey will be shared in May 2016.

Why should I take the survey?
We want our results to reflect the diversity and breadth of students and student experiences at Georgetown. Every voice is critical, regardless of gender, 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 in OADS and the Office of the Provost.

Is the survey anonymous and confidential?

We will protect the confidentiality of your answers. When the survey is closed in February, the link to 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 May 2016.

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. This past year, 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.

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

We heard helpful feedback from many constituents on campus about the wording of the survey, including 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. We appreciate that there is a range of accepted terminology in these areas, and that preferences can differ. In order to remain true to the AAU survey for purposes of comparability, the wording in our survey is consistent with the original AAU survey. 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, and 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 we can accurately understand the climate on campus. Information about confidential resources is located in the header of each page of the survey for those who may need to speak to someone.

How has Georgetown engaged on issues of sexual assault?

Georgetown has engaged deeply in these issues for many years – from being one of the nation’s first institutions to hire a full-time sexual assault coordinator in 1997 to the establishment of our Sexual Assault Working Group more than a decade ago. Last year we enhanced our student-led programming, with the student-produced play focused on handling difficult situations and “I Am Ready” peer discussions at New Student Orientation. We have added additional staff in Health Education Services to support our students and recently hired a full-time Title IX Coordinator to lead our work in this area. For more information please visit the centralized online resource for our community at

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

Yes, students were well represented on the working group that reviewed the survey and 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 here:


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

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 are concerned about your ability to take the survey, please contact OADS at

For survey instructions, click here [link to survey instructions page].

For contact information and other resources, click here [link to contact page].

To read President DeGioia’s message about the survey, click here [link to JJD message].