(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) issued the following statement on the Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct report released this morning by the Association of American Universities (AAU):
“This survey of sexual assault on college campuses – in which over 150,000 students across the country voluntarily participated – reinforces the urgent need to address this egregious epidemic. The horrific trends confirmed in this report are what that I have heard all too often: alarmingly high rates of assault, shockingly low rates of reporting (both to campus authorities and law enforcement), and general confusion among students regarding the resources and remedies available on campus continue to be serious problems on college campuses.
“I commend the students and administrators at Yale and the other 26 AAU member schools that took part in the survey, however students and parents deserve to know this important information regardless of where their child goes to college. These climate surveys should be replicated at every institution in the country so we can produce a clear picture of campus climate regarding sexual assault. My Campus Accountability and Safety Act requires biennial campus climate surveys, standardized and anonymous, at every school in the country so that prospective students and their parents can compare the results and make informed decisions. Only by better understanding the climate of campus sexual assault facing students today will we be able to fully address this unacceptable problem.”
Twenty-seven institutions and over 150,000 students participated in the AAU study, which found that 23.1 percent of female undergraduate students experience nonconsensual sexual contact during their time in college. The survey also found further evidence that students felt reluctant to report sexual assault to campus officials or law enforcement, with reporting rates ranging from 5 to 28 percent (depending on the type of assault). Additional information on the survey can be found here.
Senator Blumenthal joined a bipartisan group of colleagues earlier this year in reintroducing the Campus Accountability and Safety Act. The bill includes a provision that requires schools to conduct biennial campus climate surveys which would then be posted online by the Department of Education.