2016 Survey Results Frequently Asked Questions

What is the survey?

In January 2016 Georgetown administered its first sexual assault and misconduct climate survey. The survey allowed 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 misconduct, and knowledge of university resources available to students. Georgetown used the Association of American Universities (AAU) web-based questionnaire (tailored to our specific university). This is the same questionnaire 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.

What is sexual misconduct? What is sexual assault?

Sexual misconduct is a term that incorporates sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, and stalking. In the survey, sexual assault includes non-consensual sexual contact ranging from unwanted touching to penetration/oral sex, Sexual harassment is defined in the survey as behavior that interferes with academics or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive social, academic or work environment. The survey also provided detailed definitions for intimate partner violence and stalking.

For the full text of definitions, as used in the survey, please see Appendix 3 of the full report.

How has Georgetown engaged on issues of sexual assault and misconduct?

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. The university has a dedicated full-time Title IX Coordinator (to coordinate the university’s sexual assault and misconduct prevention, educational and response efforts), as well as a Title IX investigator (to ensure prompt and equitable investigation of sexual misconduct cases), Deputy Title IX Coordinators on each of our campuses (to serve as a helpful resource for students, to coordinate training and to oversee a prompt and effective response to incidents as they arise), and confidential counselors in Health Education Services and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS). We provide in-person mandatory training for undergraduate students (“I Am Ready”) and online trainings for graduate students, staff, and faculty (“Think About It” and “Respect”). Programming during New Student Orientation that addresses issues of sexual assault and misconduct is mandatory for all first year students.

For more information about Georgetown’s ongoing work in this area, please visit sexualassault.georgetown.edu/ongoing-work.

Who took the survey?

The survey was sent to all degree-seeking students enrolled through Georgetown’s campuses in Washington, D.C. Of the 15,608 Georgetown students invited to participate, a total of 7,926 (51%) completed this survey. 

How did Georgetown choose the 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.

Will Georgetown be conducting the survey again?

Yes, the survey will be conducted every other year, so the next survey will be administered in 2018.

What does standard error mean? How does it impact how we interpret the data?

Nearly every percentage shown in the tables is a sample-based estimate. The standard error is a measure of how stable a given estimate is likely to be over repeated samples of the same size. Statistically, it is the standard deviation of the estimate shown over repeated samples and is based on the underlying sample size from which the estimate is drawn. Generally, the smaller the standard error is in relation to the estimate it accompanies, the more stable the estimate is.

What do the symbols in the report mean?

The “S” symbols found in the tables section of the report indicate that the number was “suppressed” for confidentiality reasons (meaning the number of respondents for that question was too small to maintain anonymity of survey respondents). Any other non-numeric symbol in the tables indicates that not enough people answered for the number to be statistically significantly different from zero.

What steps is the University taking to address sexual assault and misconduct on campus?

The survey findings underscore an urgent and critical need to continue to address sexual assault and misconduct and provide us the information we need to better target and focus our work.

Our immediate work will focus in the following areas:

  • Focus Groups. The survey findings tell us what is happening, but they do not tell us why. This fall, we will engage focus groups of students to gain deeper insights into the survey findings.  It is important to hear directly from students how we can best prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct on our campus.  The results will inform our work going forward.
  • Task Force. We will establish a new Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Task Force comprised of students, faculty, and staff, many of whom have been long engaged in our Sexual Assault Working Group (SAWG).  This Task Force will be charged with helping us understand why sexual assault and misconduct occurs on our campus, what further commitments we can make to address this problem, and how we, as an institution, can increase reporting, knowledge of resources and trust in our policies and procedures. The Task Force will recommend sustainable long-term approaches and action steps in the areas of reporting and resource awareness; bystander intervention; alcohol and drugs; metrics and evaluation; mandatory education; and vulnerable populations. The Task Force will be co-chaired by Rosemary Kilkenny, J.D. (L’87), Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity, Todd Olson, Ph.D., Vice President for Student Affairs, and a student member of our community. 
  • Required Annual Training. In the coming year, we will require all students to complete a training program that will address issues ranging from bystander education to sexual assault and misconduct, and substance abuse. This builds on and expands existing training resources and will be required annually.
  • Resource Awareness. This fall, we will implement a comprehensive resource awareness campaign that will address prevention, support for survivors, and campus resources to promote a culture of care and to ensure that students know how to report misconduct and how to get help when they need it.

How does Georgetown sanction a student who is found responsible for sexual misconduct?  Has anyone been expelled for sexual assault or misconduct?

Over the past four academic years (2012-2016), the Office of Student Conduct has fully adjudicated 18 cases of sexual misconduct.  Of those, 9 of the respondents were found responsible and 9 were found not responsible.  Of the 9 found responsible for some form of sexual misconduct, 7 students were suspended and 2 were dismissed from the University. In addition, one case was resolved through mutually agreed-upon informal resolution (which is only available in cases where there are no allegations of sexual assault or relationship violence).  Note that these cases cover all forms of sexual misconduct – not just sexual assault.

How can I get involved?

Join our Volunteer Corps to help raise awareness on campus and support the work of the Task Force by promoting new initiatives, assisting in providing feedback, and volunteering as needed.

To get involved in other campus initiatives related to sexual assault and misconduct, visit http://sexualassault.georgetown.edu/initiatives

I want to talk to someone about these results.  Who should I talk to?

For questions about the survey, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, at titleixideaa@georgetown.edu.

For questions related to sexual assault and sexual misconduct, confidential help, and Title IX resources, please visit: http://sexualassault.georgetown.edu/get-help