UNA Pressroom

Una To Release Student Campus Climate Survey

Aug. 24, 2015

Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

By Bryan Rachal, University Communications

FLORENCE, Ala. - Officials with the University of North Alabama are set to release the results from a recent Student Campus Climate survey. The survey, which was conducted in the fall of 2014, provides the University with critical information regarding the campus climate, campus resources and the experiences of UNA's students. It also coincides with Title IX mandates instituted by the U.S. Department of Education.

The results from the survey will be presented in a full report as well as four separate briefs that will highlight a specific topic each month during the fall term. The first brief will focus on students' perceptions and attitudes. Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX coordinator Tammy Jacques said the study was conducted to better understand what UNA's students have experienced in regard to sexual assault, sexual violence, dating violence, stalking and bullying. "The information gleaned from this survey will help us identify where we need to do some education and prevention," she said.

The study was conducted by Drs. Amber Paulk, Andrea Hunt and Yaschica Williams of UNA's Department of Sociology and Family Studies. The measures in the survey were taken directly from a White House Task Force Report. The online survey contained measures designed to assess the incidence and prevalence of unwanted sexual experiences, intimate partner violence, and stalking/bullying. It also contained measures that assessed students' perceptions of the general campus; perceptions of campus leadership, policies, and reporting practices as they relate to sexual assault; rape myth acceptance; and bystander attitudes and behaviors.

According to Paulk, UNA had 978 students complete the survey, which, she said, is an excellent response rate for a university the size of UNA. "I think it says something about our students that they were willing to participate in a survey that asked some very difficult questions like personal experiences with unwanted sexual contact, intimate partner violence and stalking, for relatively little benefit other than informational purposes and the chance to win a $10 gift card or possible course extra credit," she said.

Paulk said it's also natural to want to put the results from a survey like this into a broader context and see how UNA compares to other universities. "Unfortunately," she said, "there are some barriers to making appropriate comparisons."

"For example, in our survey, we asked participants to report any unwanted sexual experiences that had occurred since becoming a student at UNA. At other universities, they may ask their students to report if they have been raped during the previous academic year," she said. "There would be two issues with making a comparison between our rates of sexual assault and theirs. First, we are defining sexual assault differently (i.e., unwanted sexual experiences vs. rape); Secondly, we are asking students to report on experiences during two different time frames (i.e., since becoming a student at our university vs. the last academic year). So, it would be inappropriate to compare our results with theirs because we really asked two different questions," said Paulk.

According to the Department of Education, Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

To view Brief 1: Perceptions and Attitudes: https://www.una.edu/titleix/Documents/Brief%201%20-%20Perceptions%20and%20Attitudes.pdf

For more information on Title IX at UNA: https://www.una.edu/titleix/index.html