Monroe College is committed to ensuring a positive campus climate, especially surrounding issues of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination on campus. As part of this important work, we anonymously surveyed the College community to better understand the perspectives and experiences of our students. The results of this survey will be used to improve our policies and services to support our students.
The survey was administered from September 25, 2019 to October 25, 2019 and was adapted from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
The survey was sent to all currently enrolled Monroe College students on the Bronx and New Rochelle campuses and online. We received 183 responses to the survey. The majority of respondents were Bachelor’s (43%) and Associate (42%) students. Most of the respondents were female (81%) and heterosexual (73%), and most students fell between the ages of 18-24 (52%).
The results revealed that the majority of students feel valued (78%), safe (86%) and have a sense of belonging (78%) at the College. Students report they feel the College treats all students fairly (81%), and that Public Safety is genuinely concerned about students’ well-being (83%). Most respondents agreed that Public Safety officers protect students from harm (91%) and treat students respectfully (95%).
Awareness on Policies and Procedures
Students demonstrated that they know the definition of sexual assault (99%), affirmative consent (95%), sexual harassment (99%), and gender discrimination (98%). More than half of students know how and where to report a sexual assault (58%), but only 43% of students know who the Title IX Coordinator is on their campus.
The feedback regarding policy awareness from 2018 helped us improve our policy, communication tools, training, and education regarding Title IX and Enough is Enough. In the prior year’s survey, less than half of students thought that policies relating to gender discrimination (35.1%), sexual violence (40%), sexual harassment (40.2%), and sexual assault (40.8%) were well-communicated. The positive feedback on policy communications improved this year to: gender discrimination (61%), sexual violence (65%), sexual harassment (67%), and sexual assault (64%). We attribute this improvement, in part, to the creation of a student-friendly digital brochure to help students better understand the College’s policies and procedures, as well as their rights. As well, information flyers and posters were prominently placed around campus to raise student awareness of essential facts regarding Title IX and Enough is Enough. This year’s survey results reflect the success of these efforts.
The 2018 survey results revealed other areas for improvement. Specifically, there is a need for better communication of services available for victims of sexual assault, as half of respondents (51%) said they are unsure of available services. That number decreased to 40% of respondents in the 2019 survey. The College will be working to further improve student awareness on such critical information.
Another area that was cited for improvement in 2018 was students’ knowledge of the College’s sexual assault education. This also improved by 10%. In 2018, 40% of students reported they were not sure whether Monroe was doing a good job of educating students about sexual assault. In 2019, that percentage improved to 30%.
Bystander Intervention and Education
More than half of Monroe students (67%) would respect someone who did something to prevent a sexual assault. Most (69%) felt that they were aware of strategies to intervene if a situation had the potential for sexual assault. Students (70%) largely reported they feel empowered to intervene in a sexual assault or harassment incident if they feel safe in doing so.
Over the past two academic years, the College has developed and disseminated additional materials regarding bystander intervention and added more bystander training sessions to the training schedule. These efforts have yielded positive increases for all of the indicators related to this area.
Most students (97%) understand the basic Title IX and Enough is Enough definitions -- as well as how and where to report incidents. To ensure more students are participating in training and education seminars, we are working to present them more frequently and in smaller groups.
Among the forums through which we disseminate Title IX information: FYE Freshman Seminars, New Student Orientations, Pre-Season Athlete Orientations by team, Residence Assistants training, Parent Orientation, and pamphlets distributed with Freshman Welcome Folders. These efforts have substantially increased student participation in sexual assault education and training from 43% in 2018, indicating that they had been educated on sexual assault, to 83%, indicating they received sexual assault education.
The survey questions surrounding victimization are designed to help us better understand if victims of sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination are reporting these incidents. Overall, seven students reported being sexually harassed, four students reported being a victim of sexual assault, and eight students experienced gender discrimination.
Among students who report they were victimized, seven students spoke with someone off campus regarding the incident, three students spoke with local law enforcement, and five students spoke with a college official. While these results are encouraging, more training and education need to take place to ensure that victims feel comfortable speaking to someone and reporting an incident.
Comparatively, 11 students reported witnessing a student being sexually harassed, four students reported witnessing a sexual assault, and 12 students reported witnessing gender discrimination. Among students who witnessed an offense, approximately six students reported it to a college official and five students reported the incident to local law enforcement. The College will be increasing the frequency of bystander intervention trainings and inviting local law enforcement experts on campus to better familiarize students about resources and information available on campus.
Monroe College wholly supports the principles set forth in Title IX and Enough is Enough. The College is committed to working to prevent sexual offenses from occurring on-campus and within the local community.
As part of its commitment to a safe and supportive campus climate, the College has expanded available campus resources. A psychologist is on staff to provide counseling to victims as well as confidential resources, and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office is helping the College improve policies and procedures relating to Title IX and Enough is Enough. Additionally, the College runs training sessions for students, faculty, and staff regarding bystander intervention, consent, and reporting. Going forward, The College plans to increase the frequency and variety of training and education sessions, run a campaign to promote more student participation in the Campus Climate Survey, and include training sessions on Dating Violence.