Campus Climate Survey seeks to use data to strengthen sexual violence resources

by Johann Derek Oribello, Staff Writer

To improve sexual assault prevention and intervention services, San Diego State sent out a campus-wide email on April 8 featuring a survey to better understand the climate surrounding sexual violence on campus.

The university said in the email the issue of sexual violence on college campuses is apparent yet not discussed enough.

“Decades of research have shown that official statistics severely underestimate the number of sexual assaults on university campuses across the nation,” the email reads.

Students must complete the bi-annual survey before May 17. Completion of the survey is optional and the results are posted publicly on SDSU’s title IX website once they are processed.

The survey is headed by Director of Advising for the College of Sciences Dr. Emilio Ulloa who said the surveys from previous years have assisted greatly in guiding how the university approaches the issue of sexual assault.

“These results have been shared with the sexual violence task force, members of which have used the data to inform their practices and intervention, guide decision making about where the greatest need may be and incorporated the information into their awareness, prevention and intervention programming,” Ulloa said.

Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Jessica Nare said the past surveys’ results have further reinforced the university’s long term efforts to end sexual violence on campus.

“We’ve been really lucky in 2015 and 2017 to collect a ton of data from our campus about sexual violence here at SDSU, including people’s attitudes and beliefs about sexual violence,” Nare said. “So this survey is really critical to our long term goals of ending violence here.”

Nare said the importance of understanding violence is valuable in order to properly address the issue.

“I think really understanding violence is an issue that happens at many levels and there are cultural elements to violence,” Nare said. “So, it’s really important that we understand what violence looks like within the culture of SDSU so that we’re able to make really specific interventions to work to address those problems.”

Student responses to the administration of this year’s survey have been mostly positive. Psychology sophomore Jessie Rayburn said the survey can further improve awareness since those who have been affected may be hesitant to reveal so.

“I think it’s cool that they’re trying to get information from students about that because I think a lot of students don’t come out with that information even if they have been sexually assaulted,” Rayburn said. “I think it’s good to try to get responses so we can do something about it.”

Rayburn said speaking up in order to raise the issue is utmost important, even if the issue isn’t personally relevant.

“I encourage people to speak up even if they don’t have the power or enough information about this because sometimes people think if you weren’t specifically sexually assaulted (yourself) then there’s not much you could really do about it,” Rayburn said. “It’s something that happens and a lot of people don’t feel like they have the power (to address it). I think everyone has the same amount of power to do something about it.”

Nare said the survey is a straightforward way to help address sexual violence at SDSU and is a easy method to get involved on campus.

“It’s totally, completely anonymous and it really provides us with a lot of important information,” Nare said. “I think that if you care about sexual violence and you want that to be an issue addressed at SDSU then it’s really helpful for us to take the survey. It’s a really simple way to get involved and create change.”