Penn State releases University-wide survey on sexual misconduct

Penn State Brandywine plans to use findings to better understand student experiences and evaluate current programs
The Penn State Brandywine Lion Shrine

Penn State Brandywine plans to use findings from the Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey to better understand student experiences and evaluate current programs.

Credit: Penn State

MEDIA, Pa. — Penn State Brandywine released the results of a survey of students’ experiences with and attitudes about sexual misconduct today (April 12). The survey found that nearly 13% of students reported being the victim of at least one instance of non-consensual sexual contact, while about 90% of students indicated they feel safe from sexual harassment or sexual violence on or around the campus. The results are part of a comprehensive University-wide survey conducted last fall.

The Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey is part of an ongoing broad-based initiative by Penn State to significantly curtail sexual misconduct on all of its campuses, while at the same time expanding its efforts to provide an effective response to any cases. The survey asked students about their experiences, as well as about their attitudes, and awareness of the resources available for preventing and responding to sexual misconduct.

“The results of this survey are important in allowing Penn State Brandywine to understand the current climate and to continuing our battle against sexual misconduct. Providing a safe and secure environment for our students to live and learn is our priority across the commonwealth,” said Andrea Dowhower, interim vice president for Penn State Student Affairs.  

 “I want to thank all of the students who took the time to complete the survey,” Brandywine Chancellor Marilyn J. Wells said. “We will use this data to help inform the programs and initiatives we offer to prevent and address sexual misconduct on our campus and to identify missing or under-used services.”

“We take any incident of sexual misconduct and assault seriously,” Wells emphasized. “Some of the findings in the survey are troubling and we will continue to analyze and reference the results as a way to better understand student experiences and perceptions and determine where and how we can best assist. We want every student to feel safe and to experience a secure learning and living environment.”

Wells commended the Student Affairs office, the Chancellor’s Commission on LGBTQ+ Equity and the Chancellor’s Commission on Empowering Women for leading campus efforts to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors to Brandywine, while noting that the entire campus leadership team is committed as well.

At Penn State Brandywine, 1,037 students received the survey, and the response rate was 19.4%. University-wide, a representative sample of 7,352 students completed the survey, including both undergraduates and graduate students. Completely anonymous, voluntary and completed electronically, the survey covered topics such as whether a student thinks the University would take a report of sexual misconduct seriously, whether the student is aware of resources available and whether they would walk a friend home who had had too much to drink.

Summaries of the findings for each of the 23 Penn State campuses where students were surveyed, including Penn State Brandywine, can be found online.

The survey itself was based on the Administration Researcher Campus Climate Collaborative (ARC3) survey, which was created based on suggestions from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. Penn State’s survey was administered by the Office of Student Affairs Research and Assessment, which partnered with DatStat, a data research company the University has worked with on other survey projects.

For more information about resources to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct at Penn State Brandywine, contact the Student Affairs office in Student Union 207 or by email at [email protected].