The student editors at the Arkansas Traveler devote a special issue this week entirely to sexual assault at the University of Arkansas, interviewing several victims and drawing survey data from a “Campus Climate Survey” conducted by the college’s Title IX coordinator in 2017.
The most striking information is drawn from a survey of 1,772 students conducted in February 2017 by Title IX Coordinator Tyler Farrar. Of those, 266 indicated they had experienced sexual contact without their consent since becoming a student at the university — about 15 percent. Of those, only a small fraction went through the Title IX process:
Among that group, only 14 people went through the UofA’s formal procedures, and seven said they did not think they received fair treatment, according to the survey.
It appears the survey isn’t necessarily representative of the student body as a whole and the sample may be self-selected. The newspaper notes that “females made up the majority of those who responded to the survey, with 29.7 percent identifying as male and 89.4 percent identifying as white. The student population was 25,382 at the time the survey was completed, which means 11.14 percent of the student body participated, though each did not answer all of the questions.”
Still, the nonconsensual sexual contact figures would be consistent with what national studies have found. A much-cited 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities concluded that about 20 percent of female undergraduates experience sexual assault or misconduct, drawing from the responses of 150,000 students at 27 schools.
Perhaps more damningly, the Traveler also spotlights survey results that show widespread student confusion with the UA’s process for reporting sexual assault and a lack of confidence in that process. It also summarizes the school’s efforts to educate students on sexual assault prevention. Though all new students are now required to complete a training program, it’s a one-time online course that appears to be of questionable effectiveness:
One way UA officials educate students about sexual violence prevention is the online training program, Haven: Understanding Sexual Assault. The program must be completed by all first-year students and was first required at the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.
Students may use their UARK credentials to access the program. As of April 16, 8,323 students have completed the program.
Haven online training takes about an hour to complete, according to a UA press release.
Although the course is purportedly an hour long, students often take a fraction of that time because of the easiness of clicking through the portals and completing tasks, students said.
Among others, the Traveler interviewed Kayla Kimball — now a UA alumna — who spoke to the Arkansas Times’s David Koon in 2016 about her unhappy experience with the UA’sTitle IX process.
The Traveler also profiles Gillian Gullett, the UA sophomore who started a Facebook page called “Don’t Keep it Under Cover” after her own Title IX complaint ended this spring with no action taken against the man she accused of assault. Gullett is carrying a bedsheet with her on campus throughout the month of April to draw attention to the cause.