In spring 2015, the Claremont
Colleges will conduct campus climate surveys developed by the White House to evaluate the presence and impact
of sexual assault on each campus.
The surveys were announced by the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual
Assault in its first report in April 2014. The task force selected Rutgers
University as its sole pilot university. Rutgers is implementing the required elements of the survey and developing methodologies that can be used by any school.
The task force plans to determine whether to mandate all colleges and universities to administer the survey in
2016. However, Title IX
coordinators at the 7Cs have decided to administer the survey early at the Claremont Colleges this spring, despite a lack of legal requirement to conduct the surveys.
“We agree with President
Obama’s Task Force in that it’s best to clearly define the problem before
trying to ‘solve’ it,” wrote Daren Mooko, the Associate Dean of Students for Student Development and Leadership at Pomona College, in an email to TSL. Mooko will be Pomona’s full-time Title IX Coordinator starting in January.
The survey will be administered
individually at each campus. According to Mooko, survey results will be analyzed and considered in the
creation of support services, educational campaigns and policies.
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson of Scripps College, the lead college for the new sexual assault resource center being developed as a 7C resource, commented on the potential benefits of the surveys at the 7Cs.
“I think that a well-designed and
methodologically sound survey could be helpful,” Johnson wrote in an email to TSL.
“A well-designed survey could also help prioritize the allocation of resources
aimed at the prevention of sexual assault and the support of survivors.”
According to Kate Stepleton, a
research assistant at Rutgers’ Center on Violence Against Women and Children, the center was specifically asked by the task force to be the pilot administrator of this survey due to the center’s “expertise in both campus sexual assault and survey research” and the university’s “well-established prevention and response programs regarding sexual assault.”
Stepleton wrote in an email to TSL that approximately 25 percent of students at the New Brunswick campus responded to the
survey. No further survey results were available at press time.
“The tool provided by the White
House Task Force is comprised largely of validated and reliable scales,” she wrote. Noting that Rutgers has suggested modifications to the survey to tailor the survey to its community, she added, “We’re
hoping to provide guidance to universities on how to do the same for their
The task force, established January 2014 by President Obama, developed the campus climate surveys with special attention to the problem of underreported
sexual assaults. According to its report,
the task force hopes that an anonymous survey will help assess “a fair measure of the problem.”
The group also launched a website,
notalone.gov, which provides resources and information regarding sexual assault
for both colleges and students.