Last spring, Luther College conducted a Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey to assess the issue of safety and sexual assault on our campus. President Carlson communicated with the Luther community regarding the results of the survey this week. I am providing you a general overview of the survey and the results (included via links in this document).
Sexual violence is a serious problem on our campus, as well as in other settings across the country. At Luther we value safety, trust, and the ability to live without fear of harm–sexual violence violates all of these values. Any incident is one incident too many. We are committed to creating a campus community that is intolerant of sexual violence in any form.
We launched the survey to better understand our campus climate and the results confirmed what we knew - sexual assaults do happen on our campus. The rates at which assaults were reported in the survey are roughly the same as reported at peer institutions that administered the same survey. While the results are similar and establish this is an issue all colleges face, we believe strongly in focusing on what we must do to make Luther a safer community.
Approximately 30 percent of Luther students completed the survey which, comparatively, is a strong response rate. We found that most students feel safe on campus, 77 percent of women and 92 percent of men. Of those who completed the survey, 14 percent of women and 3 percent of men reported having experienced sexual assault since starting at Luther. Those affected by this behavior are the classmates, friends, roommates, and members of clubs, ensembles and athletic teams of our students.
We work hard to engage students around issues of sexual assault, substance abuse, and mental health. This week, we invited all students, faculty, and staff to join us for a town hall meeting to further the campus conversation around this important issue. A summary of the survey results and an FAQ document are available on the Luther College Title IX website. I invite you to review those documents as well as the Title IX website to see how we support students. We will continue to create opportunities for the community to engage around the survey results and this very important issue.
Last spring, I charged a working group to review and make recommendations regarding our prevention efforts around several wellness-related concerns, including sexual violence. They are in the process of assessing bystander intervention models which we will employ on campus to train our students. Our survey results suggest this is an area of in need of heightened focus and we plan to provide increased opportunities for students to receive this important training. Additionally, we will continue to review our policies and processes and revise where necessary as well as to provide resources to ensure students have access to a fair and timely process and support.
If you have questions or concerns related to the survey or our efforts, please do not hesitate to contact me.