Helping create a safer campus

All Penn students are urged to participate in AAU’s Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct.

Starting today, Penn students will be able to help assess the University’s progress in promoting a campus free of sexual assault and sexual misconduct. All students are encouraged to participate—regardless of whether they have ever experienced sexual assault or misconduct—and those who complete the survey will receive a $10 Amazon gift card. 

The Association of American Universities’ 2019 Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, which is being conducted in concert with 32 other universities, will take about 20 to 30 minutes to complete. 

“This survey is an important opportunity for us to understand the experiences of our students,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We need the help and participation of every Penn undergraduate, graduate, and professional student to continue to strengthen efforts to create a campus community that is free of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct.”

Students will have through March 10 to answer questions aimed at gathering insight into their knowledge, experience, and perceptions related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other gender-based misconduct. It is especially important that even students who believe they have no previous experience with sexual assault or misconduct on campus participate to gain a complete and accurate picture of the current campus environment. 

This survey follows on a similar effort conducted four years ago. In 2015, the AAU’s landmark survey—in which Penn participated—revealed important insights regarding the prevalence of sexual assault and misconduct on college campuses and students’ attitudes toward these issues. The data collected guided each participating school not just in setting guidelines, but initiating useful changes, that, as Gutmann described, “have added and strengthened campus resources available to prevent sexual misconduct and respond equitably and effectively to complaints.”

The new, confidential survey, which is completely voluntary for students, is being administered by Westat, an independent research firm. To participate, students should click on a unique survey link provided in their email invitations on Feb. 11, or they can visit and authenticate using their PennKey to access their link. 

The more students that take part, the better the outcome. Penn will use the results of this survey to assess current programs and help guide future University policies and programs to encourage a healthy and safe campus environment for everyone. 

“The aggregate survey responses will enable us to make decisions that are informed by data about our students’ experiences,” said Gutmann. “We also look forward to hearing students’ ideas for helping Penn realize our commitment to a campus community that is grounded in respect for the dignity and worth of all of our members.”