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Alumni Reflect on College Responsiveness to Sexual Assault
Education

Alumni Reflect on College Responsiveness to Sexual Assault

Alumni Reflect on College Responsiveness to Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- About a third (32%) of recent college graduates who completed their bachelor's degree from 2010-2019 strongly agree they are confident that, if they had raised an issue about sexual assault while on campus, their alma mater would have fully investigated it. Public college graduates are slightly more likely than private not-for-profit graduates to strongly agree that their institution would have investigated such a claim, and are much more likely than graduates from private for-profit institutions to say the same.

U.S. Grads' Confidence That Their Alma Mater Would Have Fully Investigated a Report of Sexual Assault
On a scale of 1 to 5, in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. If I had raised an issue about sexual assault on campus, I am confident [University name] would have fully investigated it.
5
Strongly
agree
4 3 2 1
Strongly
disagree
Don't
know
% % % % % %
All recent graduates 32 24 18 8 5 14
Public graduates 34 23 18 6 4 15
Private not-for-profit graduates 30 24 19 12 5 10
Private for-profit graduates 26 24 12 1 11 26
Gallup Alumni Survey, Oct. 24-Nov. 7, 2019

These results are based on interviews with more than 1,600 college graduates who completed their bachelor's degree from 2010-2019.

Female and LGBT Grads Less Likely to Be Confident in Alma Mater

Groups that experience higher rates of sexual assault on campus -- females and LGBT individuals -- are less likely than their peers to report they are confident their institution would have fully investigated a claim. Averaging the results across types of schools, 30% of recent female college graduates strongly agree that they are confident the institution would have fully investigated a claim, compared with 34% of male recent graduates. A higher percentage of male than female graduates report they are unsure whether their institution would have fully investigated a claim (17% vs. 11%, respectively).

One-quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender graduates strongly agree that their institution would have fully investigated their claim, compared with one-third of those who do not identify as LGBT.

U.S. Grads' Confidence That Their Alma Mater Would Have Fully Investigated a Report of Sexual Assault, by Key Groups
On a scale of 1 to 5, in which 1 means strongly disagree and 5 means strongly agree, please rate your level of agreement with the following statement. If I had raised an issue about sexual assault on campus, I am confident [University name] would have fully investigated it.
5
Strongly
agree
4 3 2 1
Strongly
disagree
Don't
know
% % % % % %
All recent grads 32 24 18 8 5 14
Female grads 30 23 21 8 7 11
Male grads 34 24 14 8 3 17
LGBT grads 25 22 20 14 10 10
Non-LGBT grads 33 24 17 7 4 15
Gallup Alumni Survey, Oct. 24-Nov. 7, 2019

White graduates are also slightly more likely to strongly agree that their institution would have fully investigated a claim (33%), compared with their nonwhite peers (29%).

Implications

Gallup data confirm that organizations must give individuals three critical experiences if they are to be truly inclusive places: individuals must feel valued and respected; that their organization values their unique strengths; and, critically, that their organization would do the right thing if they reported an issue. For most, this belief that the organization would do the right thing means their organization would fully investigate a complaint. These data suggest that, on this final element of an inclusive environment, most college graduates lack full confidence in their alma mater.

Extensive research demonstrates that issues of sexual assault are underreported because of a number of factors, including fear, shame, embarrassment and a lack of belief that reporting will make a difference. In order to increase reports and make universities a safer place for all students, it's crucial that students feel confident their institution would appropriately investigate these issues. That female and LGBT graduates are less confident is particularly concerning because these students are more frequently victims of nonconsensual contact.

Creating a safe and inclusive campus requires that all students feel confident their institution would take any claim seriously and fully investigate it. In order to do so, institutions must implement robust policies and procedures, including reporting systems that allow for direct reporting by name, confidential reporting or anonymous reporting. This reporting system must also be supported by mental health counselors who are equipped to provide students with the critical support they need. Most importantly, university leaders must communicate the importance of inclusivity and safety, as no policies and procedures can be successful without the community's trust that the policies are core institutional values.

Learn more about the Gallup Alumni Survey.

Learn more about Gallup Education.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/311675/alumni-reflect-college-responsiveness-sex-assault.aspx
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