SUNY Brockport Summary & Recommendations Report

RE: 2021 SUNY Uniform Campus Climate

Sexual Violence Prevention Student Survey Results (n=1,196)

Consistent with New York State Education Law 129-B and policies of The State University of New York, SUNY Brockport participated in the 2021 SUNY Uniform Campus Climate Survey; one survey was directed to students, while another was directed to employees. This report focuses on the student survey, which gathered information about students’ knowledge and experience with sexual and interpersonal violence, stalking, and awareness of related policies and resources on campus. This confidential online survey was disseminated to all students, undergraduate and graduate, via an email invitation on February 15. Several reminder emails were sent, and the survey was closed on March 26, 2021.

STUDENT SURVEY DEMOGRAPHICS

The student response rate was 17.8%, with 1,196 respondents. Most of the student respondents (63.6%) were living with family; 38.7% were living in campus housing; and 31.3% were living in off campus housing with roommates/friends. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported having a disability, and of that number, 14.6% reported having a chronic mental health condition, while 8.5% reported having a learning disability.

Respondents identified their gender as follows:

  • 71% women;
  • 25.4% men;
  • 1.8% non-binary;
  • .8% transgender;
  • ·8% genderqueer/gender-fluid;
  • .8% were questioning/unsure; and
  • .8% preferred not to respond.

The sexual orientation of respondents was as follows:

  • Respondents were primarily heterosexual (77%);
  • 1.8% identified as gay;
  • 2.3% identified as lesbian;
  • 11.2% identified as bisexual;
  • 1.3% identified as asexual;
  • 2.2% identified as pansexual;
  • 2.6% identified as queer;
  • 3.5% were questioning/unsure; and
  • 2.2% preferred not to respond.

RESPONSE RE: TITLE IX INFRASTRUCTURE, POLICIES & RESOURCES:

The following section relates to students’ knowledge and awareness of SUNY Brockport’s Title IX Office, policies and procedures, and campus and community resources.

  • Most students (55.9%) reported knowing how to contact the Title IX Coordinator, while 24.5% did not know, and 16.8% were unsure of how to contact the Title IX Coordinator.
  • Most students (62 to 69.3%) reported awareness of the role of the Title IX Coordinator.
    • 9.3% reported knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator role in regards to reporting sex discrimination/sexual assault/ sexual misconduct;
    • 62% reported knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator role in regards to coordinating the campus response;
    • 63.4% reported knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator role in regards to ensuring training/education to the campus; and
    • 63.2% reported knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator role in regards to providing accommodations and services to reporting individuals (persons making a disclosure about being impacted by sex discrimination).
  • Most students responded knowing how to report Title IX incidents, with:
    • 69.7% knowing how to report a sexual assault;
    • 68.4% knowing how to report sexual harassment;
    • 61.8% knowing how to report domestic violence/dating violence;
    • 56.1% knowing how to report stalking; and
    • 21.9% not knowing how to report any of these types of incidents.
  • The top five campus departments where students responded a victim or witness could file a formal complaint of sexual assault were:
    • University Police (82.5%);
    • Title IX Coordinator (74.4%);
    • Counseling Center (69.7%);
    • Health Center (66.7%); and
    • Advocacy Services (54.5%).
  • Most students (60.6 to 65.8%) reported receiving from SUNY Brockport either written or verbal (presentations, trainings) information about sexual assault, including:
    • 60.6% received information on the definition of sexual assault;
    • 63.1% received information on how to report a sexual assault;
    • 65.8% received information on where to go to get help;
    • 61.5% received information on who to speak to confidentially about a sexual assault;
    • 61.2% received information on policies prohibiting sexual assault; and
    • Only 16% reported not receiving information on any of the above.
  • The majority of students (83.6%) are knowledgeable about the definition of affirmative consent, with only 5.6% reporting not knowing, and 5.5% reporting they were unsure. The majority of students (87.1%) reported knowing that someone who is incapacitated cannot provide consent, while 3.6% reported that an incapacitated person is able to provide consent, and 3.8% were not sure.
  • Most students (61.2%) reported knowing the difference between the university disciplinary process and the criminal justice system, although 16.1% were not aware of the distinction, and 17.1% were not sure.
  • Most students (62.4%) reported being aware of the amnesty policy (related to the use of drugs and alcohol), while 19.7% reported not knowing, and 12.2% were unsure.
  • The top five campus and community resources students reported having an awareness of (the Title IX office was not included) were:
    • University Police (74%);
    • Counseling Center (71.6%);
    • Health Services (66.2%);
    • Student Conduct (58.5%) and
    • Local Police/Sheriff (55.6%).

STUDENT EXPERIENCES OF SEXUAL/DATING/DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND/OR STALKING

This section asked SUNY Brockport students about their experience, within the past year, with sexual and interpersonal violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking, including whether students disclosed their experience to others and/or reported the incident to SUNY Brockport. If they did not report the incident, the survey asked their reasons for not reporting.

Respondents reported the following incidents having occurred without their consent within the year preceding the survey:

  • 19.6% reported experiencing unwanted sexual comments, sexual slurs, or demeaning jokes;
  • 2.7% reported someone viewing their sexual activity/nakedness, or taking explicit pictures/recordings without consent;
  • 13.8% reported experiencing unwanted sexually suggestive digital communications, words or images, or both, including emails, texts, social media, or other written communication;
  • 6.4% reported having experienced an attempted but not completed incident of being fondled, kissed, or being rubbed up against the private areas of body without consent; 3.9% reported that the act, i.e., fondling, etc. was completed;
  • 2.8% reported someone attempted but did not complete the removal of respondent’s clothes without consent; 1.9% reported that the act was completed;
  • 2.1% reported that someone attempted, but did not complete, performing oral sex on them or forcing them to perform oral sex without consent; 1.3% reported the act was completed;
  • 2% reported that someone attempted, but did not complete, sexual penetration (by inserting penis, fingers or object into vagina or anus) without consent; 1.7% reported the act was completed.
  • For the most recent incident (attempted or completed) of sexual comments, sexually suggestive communications, fondling/kissing/rubbing of private body parts, removal of clothes, having oral sex or performing oral sex or sexual penetration (all without consent), respondents reported that 6.3% of the perpetrators were persons affiliated with the campus community.

Students reported the relationship to the perpetrator as follows:

  • 7% were strangers;
  • 4.3% were acquaintances;
  • 3.9% were non-romantic friends;
  • 2.2% were other college students;
  • 1% were coworkers and .3% were a boss/supervisor;
  • 1% were current romantic partners and .8% were ex-romantic partners;
  • .1% were family members; and
  • .8% reported there was more than one person involved in the incident, who either was an acquaintance (.4%), stranger (.3%), other college student (.3%), non-romantic partner (.3%), ex-romantic partner (.2%) and coworker (.1%).

The top five persons that students reported telling about the most recent incident were to a friend, roommate/housemate, romantic partner, parent/guardian, and other family member. Only a few students reported the most recent incident to a campus department, with .3% reporting to the Title IX Office; .4% to Residential Life; .4% to a faculty/staff/administrator; .4% to Hazen; .3% to Student Conduct; and .2% to University Police. When asked specifically if they filed a complaint with anyone at SUNY Brockport, nine students reported having filed a report, and 71 students reported they did not.

For those who decided not to report the most recent incident to SUNY Brockport, the top reasons/concerns were (could choose all that applied):

  • “I did not think it was important enough” (82 responses);
  • “I just did not want to deal with it” (62 responses);
  • “I did not recognize it as sexual assault at the time” (49 responses);
  • “I was ashamed or embarrassed” (36 responses);
  • “I was concerned that others would find out” (28 responses);
  • “I thought I would be blamed for what happened” (23 responses);
  • “I do not think I would be believed” (20 responses);
  • “I was afraid of losing my friends or friend group changing (17 responses);
  • “I was worried that if I told someone at my campus, the administration would take action on their own without my permission” (16 responses); and
  • “I did not trust the campus to take appropriate action” (11 responses).
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

Students were asked about experiences with intimate partner violence (intimate partner was defined as “a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or anyone [the respondent] was in an intimate relationship with or hooked up with, including exes and current partners”) within the past year.

  • 81 students (6.8%) responded an intimate partner controlled or attempted to control them;
  • 36 students (3%) responded that an intimate partner threatened to hurt them, their family/friends, or themselves, in order to influence their partner; and
  • 30 students (2.5%) reported they have been scratched, slapped, hit, kicked, beaten, punched, or physically harmed by an intimate partner.

Forty-two (3.5%) students told someone about the most recent incident of IPV, while 43 students (3.6%) did not tell anyone.

The top persons whom students told about the most recent incident of IPV were (respondents could check all that applied):

  • 31 students (2.6%) told a friend;
  • 23 students (1.9%) told a parent or guardian;
  • 15 students (1.3%) told a roommate or housemate;
  • 9 students (.8%) told other family member; and
  • 8 students (.7%) told a romantic partner.

Very few students reported the incident to the Title IX Office (one student) or faculty/staff/administrator (one student). Two students reported the IPV to the Counseling Center. Only one student reported having filed a formal complaint, while 40 reported they did not make a formal report.

The top reasons/concerns for students not reporting or sharing with anyone were:

  • “I just did not want to deal with it” (14 students);
  • “I did not think it was important enough” (11 students);
  • “I did not recognize it as domestic/dating violence at the time” (10 students);
  • “I was ashamed or embarrassed” (9 students);
  • “I was worried that it was partly my fault” (7 students); and
  • “I was concerned others would find out (friends/faculty/family) (6 students).
Stalking

Eighty-two students (6.9%) reported that a stranger/friend/current or ex-partner repeatedly followed, watched, texted, called, emailed, or communicated with them in ways that seemed obsessive and made them afraid and concerned for their safety. Thirty-one students (2.6%) reported the relationship with that person as an ex-romantic partner; 18 (1.5%) responded that it was a non-romantic friend; 9 (.8%) responded that it was an acquaintance; 6 (.5%) reported it was a college student; and 5 (.4%) reported that it was a stranger.

Forty-three (3.6%) students told someone about the most recent incident, while 30 (2.5%) students did not. The top persons that students told about the incident were:

Friend (32 students);

  • Parent/guardian (20 students);
  • Romantic partner (14 students);
  • Roommate/housemate (14 students); and
  • Other family member (8 students).

Some students reported to SUNY Brockport, including Residential Life/LLC staff (5 students); Title IX Office (4 students); Student Conduct Office (3 students); and two students reported to University Police.

Eight students filed a formal complaint, while 35 chose not to. The reasons/concerns for not reporting were:

  • “I did not think it was important enough” (14 students);
  • “I just did not want to deal with it” (11 students);
  • “I feared the person who did it would try to hurt me again in some way (9 students);
  • “I was ashamed or embarrassed” (8 students);
  • “I did not think I would be believed” (8 students); and
  • “I thought I would be blamed for what happened” (8 students).

Students were asked if incidents of sexual violence, dating/domestic violence and stalking made them change their educational plans, and reported:

  • Changing academic schedule and/or housing (26 students);
  • Transferring to another college/university (9 students);
  • Deciding to leave school (8 students); and
  • Changing academic program (8 students).

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION.

This section asked students about their perceptions of how their fellow students would respond and how SUNY Brockport would respond, in various situations.

  • 40% reported that a fellow student would express their discomfort if someone made a joke about a person’s body;
  • 59.2% reported that a fellow student would call 911for help if they heard a neighbor yelling “help”;
  • 64.8% reported that a fellow student would get help and resources for a friend who disclosed they had been assaulted;
  • 50.6% reported that a fellow student would confront a friend who told them they had sex with someone who was passed out or who did not give consent; and
  • 46.4% reported that a fellow student would tell a resident assistant or other campus authority about information that might help in a sexual assault case, even if pressured by their friends to stay silent.
  • Students’ perceptions about how the campus would respond to a formal complaint of sexual violence:
  • 68.6% reported that SUNY Brockport would take the report seriously;
  • 59.4% reported that SUNY Brockport would conduct a fair investigation; and
  • 64.3% reported that SUNY Brockport would provide the student with the necessary support during the process.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS:

The student response rate of 17.8% fell short of SUNY’s 20% aspirational goal for all campuses, but was a large enough sample to generalize the survey findings.

The majority of respondents (71%) were heterosexual women, an overrepresentation of women, based on enrollment consisting of 58.6% women and 41.4% men. Of note, the representation of non-binary/transgender students was 4.2%.

Nearly 64% of student respondents reported living at home with family; 38.7% reported living in on-campus housing, while 31.3% reported living in off campus housing with roommates/friends.

Interestingly, 32% of respondents reported having a disability, and of that number, 14.6% had a chronic mental health condition, while 8.5% reporting having a learning disability.

STUDENTS’ KNOWLEDGE/AWARENESS OF TITLE IX OFFICE:

  • Most students reported knowing how to contact the Title IX Coordinator and most are aware of the Title IX Coordinator’s role.
  • Most students reported knowing that a “victim” could file a formal complaint of sexual assault to University Police (82.5%); Title IX Coordinator (74.4%); Counseling Center (69.7%); Health Center (66.7%); and Advocacy Services (54.5%). Although students can confidentially report to Hazen (Student Health and/or Counseling Center) and Advocacy Services (RESTORE/Willow), confidential reports are not formal complaints. The confidential resources may refer students to the Title IX Office, however.
  • Most students reported receiving from SUNY Brockport either written or verbal (presentations, trainings) information about sexual assault, with only 16% reporting not having received information.
    • The survey question does not specifically ask about the online training students receive, asking only if students received written or verbal information. Not only are all new SUNY Brockport students and all student leaders required to take the online module, EverFi Sexual Assault Prevention, but they also receive written information about Title IX during the summer orientation program and annual emails with a link to resources.
  • The majority of students are knowledgeable about the definition of affirmative consent and recognize that someone who is incapacitated cannot provide consent.
  • Most students reported knowing the difference between the university disciplinary process and the criminal justice system.
  • Most students reported being aware of the amnesty policy, while 19.7% reported not knowing about it, and 12.2% were unsure.
  • Most students reported being aware of campus and community resources.

STUDENT EXPERIENCES WITH INCIDENTS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT, IPV AND STALKING:

  • The most common type of incident reported (n=235 or 19.5% of respondents) was that of unwanted sexual comments, sexual slurs, or demeaning jokes; the next most common type of incident reported (n=165 or 13.8% of respondents) was that of unwanted sexually suggestive digital communications, words, or images, or both, including emails, texts, social media or written, during the year preceding the survey.
  • Students who reported being sexually assaulted ranged from 1.3 to 3.9% of respondents, based on the form of sexual assault:
    • 47 students reported someone fondled, kissed, or rubbed up against their private areas of body without consent;
    • 16 students reported that oral sex was performed on them without consent, or they were forced to perform oral sex on someone without consent, and
    • 20 students reported being sexually penetrated without consent.
  • For the most recent incident they experienced, 75 students reported the perpetrator was affiliated with the campus community. When asked to describe their relationship to the perpetrator (more than one choice could apply), 84 respondents reported the person was a stranger; 51 reported the person was an acquaintance; 47 reported the person was a non-romantic friend; and only 26 reported the person was “other college student.” Twelve respondents reported the perpetrator was a coworker, and 4 reported it was a boss/supervisor.
  • Of the respondents who reported having told someone about the most recent incident, the majority reported telling a friend, roommate/housemate, romantic partner, parent/guardian, or other family member about the incident.
  • Fewer respondents stated they reported their most recent incident to SUNY Brockport, with seven students reporting to the Title IX Office, seven students to Residential Life, five reporting to a faculty/staff/administrator, four reporting to Hazen, three to Student Conduct, and two to University Police.
    • Despite the low number of formal complaints filed with SUNY Brockport, a majority (almost 70%) of respondents reported believing SUNY Brockport would take their report seriously, conduct a fair investigation (almost 60%) and provide support for the student through the process (almost 70%).
  • Nine students reported that they filed a report with SUNY Brockport, while 71 students responded they did not.
    • For those deciding not to report to SUNY Brockport, the top reasons/concerns cited were that they did not think it was important enough; they did not want to deal with it; they did not recognize it as sexual assault; and/or they were ashamed or embarrassed, all responses which are consistent with the research about why victims fail to make a report.
    • Interestingly, only 17 respondents stated they did not make a report because they were afraid of losing friends, although research shows the perpetrator is oftentimes within the “victim’s” friend/acquaintance group.
    • Importantly, 16 respondents reported that they failed to make a report because they believed the administration would act on its own, without the student’s permission.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)

The most common form of IPV (n =81 students or 6.8%) that respondents reported was being controlled by or their intimate partner attempting to control them.

  • 36 (3%) of respondents responded that an intimate partner threatened to hurt them, their family/friends, or themselves, in order to influence their partner; and
  • 30 students (2.5%) reported they have been scratched, slapped, hit, kicked, beaten, punched, or physically harmed by an intimate partner.
  • Forty-two (3.5%) students told someone about the most recent incident of IPV, while 43 students (3.6%) did not tell anyone.
  • Similar to sexual assault, if students told someone about the most recent incident, the persons they were most likely to tell, in order of response rate, were: A friend; parent/guardian; roommate/housemate; other family member; and then, romantic partner.

Very few students reported the most recent incident to the Title IX Office (1 student) or faculty/staff/administrator (1 student).

Only two students reported disclosing the IPV to the Counseling Center. Only one student reported filing a formal complaint, while 40 did not make a formal report. The top reasons/concerns for students not reporting or sharing with anyone were, in order of response rate: They did not want to deal with it; did not think it was important enough; did not recognize it as domestic/dating violence at the time; were ashamed or embarrassed; were worried that it was partly their fault; and were concerned others would find out (friends/faculty/family).

Stalking

Incidence of stalking was the highest reported experience in this survey, with 82 students having reported that they have been repeatedly followed, watched, texted, called, emailed, or communicated with in ways that seemed obsessive and made them afraid and concerned for their safety. The most common reported relationship with the stalker was an ex-romantic partner (32 responses); a non-romantic friend (18 responses); an acquaintance (9 responses); a college student (6 responses); and a stranger (5 responses).

Forty-three students told someone about the most recent incident, while 30 respondents did not tell anyone. The top persons that students told about the incident were: A friend (32 students); a parent/guardian (20 students); a romantic partner (14 students); roommate/housemate (14 students); and other family member (8 students). More students reported the stalking incident to SUNY Brockport, compared to sexual assault and IPV. The offices where students made reports were: Residential Life/LC staff (5 students); Title IX Office (4 students); Student Conduct Office (3 students); and University Police (2 students).

Students filed a formal complaint of stalking (8 respondents) at a higher rate, when compared to sexual assault incidents and IPV incidents. Of the 35 who chose not to file, the main reasons/concerns were very similar to those of respondents who experienced sexual assault and IPV: They did not think it was important, did not want to deal with it, feared the person stalking them would try to hurt them, were ashamed and embarrassed, did not think they would be believed, and thought they would be blamed.

Educational Plans

Respondents reported making academic and other changes, based on incidents of sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, and stalking, as follows:

  • Changed academic schedule and/or housing (26 students);
  • Transferring to another college/university (9 students);
  • Decided to leave school (8 students); and
  • Changed academic program (8 students).
Students’ perception of their peers’ intervening in situations

Students often misperceive the actions of their fellow peers by either overestimating or underestimating their peers’ behaviors, while in fact, most of their peers’ attitudes and behaviors are quite similar to their own (Perkins, 2004). Only half of respondents reported that a fellow student would confront a friend who has told them they had sex with someone who was passed out or who did not give consent. Additionally, fewer than half of the respondents reported that a fellow student would provide a resident assistant or other campus authority information that might help in a sexual assault case, even if pressured by their friends to stay silent.

Recommendations:

Following a review of the survey results, the Offices of Title IX and Prevention and Outreach (Karen Logsdon, Denine Carr, and Mathew Hall) recommend the following:

  • Enhance student awareness of Title IX Office. Although most students reported knowing how to contact the Title IX Coordinator, 24.5% did not, and 16.8% were unsure about how to contact the Title IX Coordinator;
  • Enhance student awareness of how to report a Title IX incident. Although a majority of respondents reported knowing how to report a Title IX incident, 21.9% did not;
  • Enhance awareness of the amnesty policy. While most students reported being aware of the amnesty policy, 32% either did not know or were unsure if they knew about it;
  • Enhance awareness of the process/procedures once a student makes a formal complaint, in general, and specifically that SUNY Brockport, per NYS law and Title IX guidance, would not typically act without the reporting individual’s permission. Strategies in educating students may include reaching out to student clubs/orgs and other student groups.
    • Although most students reported awareness of Title IX and Student Conduct Offices and University Police department, few students made formal reports of sexual assault, IPV or stalking to these areas, for various reasons, including that some students did not think they would be believed, thought they would be blamed for the incident, and they did not trust the campus to take appropriate action.
  • SUNY Brockport’s Prevention & Outreach Services should consider developing a “how to help a friend” initiative, since the person most commonly told about these incidents was a friend.
  • Enhance bystander training programing to provide students with skills for safely intervening in situations of possible sexual violence, IPV, and stalking. Allow a venue for students to share experiences, while employing bystander interventions.
    • Students’ perceptions of whether their peers would intervene in particular situations appeared lower than SUNY Brockport would desire, especially since we have a robust EagleCHECK program. However, research shows that peers do not accurately assess their peers’ behaviors.
  • Strategies to raise awareness of the serious nature of stalking and educate students on stalking behaviors and personal safety. Stalking was the most commonly reported incident in this survey, with an ex-romantic partner being named as the perpetrator. SUNY Brockport students would benefit from enhanced education on how to report incidents of stalking to the University.
Suggestions for future surveys

With regard to the question concerning students receiving communication about Title IX information, we recommend that the SUNY survey include an option in the future that allows students to answer that they received information from web-based education modules on sexual violence, IPV, and stalking.

References

(Berkowitz, A.) 2004. The Social Norms Approach: Theory, Research, and Annotated Bibliography

 

August 25, 2021

Report respectfully submitted by:

  • Karen Logsdon, Title IX Deputy Coordinator, Assistant to the VP, EMSA
  • Denine Carr, Title IX Coordinator
  • Mathew Hall, Assistant Director, Prevention and Outreach Services