Survey results highlight misconduct, sexual assault on campus

Chancellor+Patrick+Gallagher+announced+in+a+Tuesday+email+that+the+University+would+be+implementing+a+community-driven+response+following+the+Association+of+American+Universities+17-page+report+examining+the+current+state+of+sexual+assault+and+misconduct+on+campus.+
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Survey results highlight misconduct, sexual assault on campus

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in a Tuesday email that the University would be implementing a community-driven response following the Association of American Universities 17-page report examining the current state of sexual assault and misconduct on campus.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in a Tuesday email that the University would be implementing a community-driven response following the Association of American Universities 17-page report examining the current state of sexual assault and misconduct on campus.

TPN file photo

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in a Tuesday email that the University would be implementing a community-driven response following the Association of American Universities 17-page report examining the current state of sexual assault and misconduct on campus.

TPN file photo

TPN file photo

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in a Tuesday email that the University would be implementing a community-driven response following the Association of American Universities 17-page report examining the current state of sexual assault and misconduct on campus.

By Jon Moss, Assistant News Editor

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The Association of American Universities released a 217-page report and data tables Tuesday examining the current state of sexual assault and misconduct on 33 university campuses, including Pitt.

Rates of sexual assault, harassment, intimate partner violence and other issues relating to sexual misconduct were recorded in the AAU’s Campus Climate Survey. Among Pitt students, 18.6% of females and 10.7% of males responded to the survey.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher wrote in a campus-wide email Tuesday that the survey results show that Pitt’s current efforts to prevent these actions are “insufficient.”

“Our goal is — and always will be — to eradicate sexual assault and misconduct on campus and ensure that everyone feels safe, respected and supported as members of our university community,” Gallagher said. “There is simply no other acceptable option — and no other vision for Pitt worth working toward.”

He outlined several new, community-driven actions the University will be undertaking to try and combat sexual misconduct and assault, including:

  • Launching a dedicated education and prevention office
  • Establishing an education and prevention task force to help evaluate and advance solutions
  • Create several dedicated funding streams
    • Special Pitt Seed funding cycle — open to faculty, staff and students — devoted to financing solutions for preventing sexual misconduct
    • Grants administered by student government boards and earmarked for student groups
    • Grants, selected via a peer-review process, to fund research on preventing sexual misconduct
  • Hosting listening sessions to answer questions and gather real-time feedback on proposed solutions and new opportunities

Another top University official, Vice Provost and Dean of Students Kenyon Bonner, also sent a campus-wide email Tuesday about the survey. Bonner called its results “sobering.”

“Despite our intentional and sustained efforts, our students continue to be harmed by incidents of sexual misconduct,” Bonner said. “We are not alone, of course. Our entire culture is in the midst of grappling with the heartbreaking public health crisis of sexual assault.”

The report explored several types of actions on campus — sexual assault and misconduct, harassment, intimate partner violence and stalking.

Sexual assault and misconduct

Of students who said they experienced penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or inability to consent or stop what was happening, 57.4% of female Pitt students, and 42.7% of males, said it occurred on campus or affiliated property. For both women and women who experienced this, about 30% of incidents occurred in either a University residence hall, dorm or other residential housing.

Of the acts, female Pitt students said 32.3% were committed by someone the woman knew or recognized but who was not a friend, 31.1% by a friend, 24.5% by someone the women did not know or recognize, 21.8% by someone the woman was involved or intimate with at the time and 11.9% by someone the woman had previously been involved or intimate with.

Of the acts, male Pitt students said 48.4% were committed by a friend, 34% by someone the man previously had been involved or intimate with, 32.6% by someone the man was involved or intimate with at the time and 24.2% by a classmate.

For about 45% of all incidents, women said in about equal amounts that they thought they could handle it themselves, and/or did not think it was serious enough to contact programs or resources, and/or felt embarrassed, ashamed or that it would be too emotionally difficult. For about 70% of both types of incidents, men said they thought they could handle it themselves.

The number of times they experienced sexual contact without voluntary agreement also differed based on gender. Among undergraduate women, 87% said they never experienced this before, while 97.1% of undergraduate men said the same. Among trans men and women, nonbinary, genderqueer, questioning or otherwise gender-non-conforming (TGQN) students, 77.1% said they never experienced this before.

Harassment 

Nearly half — 44.8% — of female and male students said they had been harassed in some way by another student or someone else associated with Pitt during their time at the University. The vast majority — more than 70% in all groups — did not report any of these incidents to University programs or resources.

More than half of TGQN students and undergraduate women students — and about 30% of undergraduate men — said that someone made inappropriate or offensive comments about their or someone’s else’s body, appearance or sexual activities. Slightly less than half — 49.7% of TGQN students and 41.7% of undergraduate women — said someone made sexual remarks or told sexual jokes or sexual stories that were insulting or offensive to them and 16% of undergraduate men said similarly.

Intimate Partner Violence

About 10% of Pitt students — 15.7% of undergraduate women, 10.1% of undergraduate men and 20.2% of TGQN students — said since they have been a student, a partner has controlled or tried to control them, threatened physical harm, used physical force or physically hurt or injured them.

About 80% of students did not contact University programs or resources regarding these experiences. Among those who did not report, about half said that it was not serious enough to report and/or that they could handle it themselves.

Stalking

About 20% of Pitt students — 26.9% of undergraduate women, 16% of undergraduate men and 37.4% of TGQN students — said since they have been a student, they have experienced some sort of stalking behavior. Two-thirds of students said this behavior made them fear for the safety of themselves or someone else they know, or has caused them substantial emotional distress.

About 68% of students did not contact University programs or resources regarding these experiences. Among those who did not report, about half said that it was not serious enough to report and/or that they could handle it themselves.

A previous version of this story said 57.4% of female Pitt students, and 42.7% of male Pitt students, experienced experienced penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or inability to consent or stop what was happening on campus or affiliated property. The correct statistic is that of students who said they experienced penetration or sexual touching involving physical force or inability to consent or stop what was happening, 57.4% of female Pitt students, and 42.7% of males, said it occurred on campus or affiliated property. The article has been updated to reflect this change.The Pitt News regrets this error.

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