PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The University of Pittsburgh says the recent results from a survey about sexual assault show “an unacceptable prevalence” of sexual misconduct at the university.
The University of Pittsburgh says it was one of 33 universities that participated in the voluntary Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey in the spring of 2019.
The university says the results represent the input of about 15 percent of its students across Pitt’s five campuses.
In a press release, they say “the results clearly show an unacceptable prevalence of sexual misconduct and assault.”
For example, 64.5 percent of the students surveyed thought it was very or extremely likely that campus officials would take the reports of sexual assault seriously.
It also showed 31.7 percent of undergraduate women at Pitt reported some type of nonconsensual sexual contact.
“There’s a serious situation with our students on campus experiencing sexual misconduct,” said Pam Connelly, vice chancellor for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the university.
About half, 52.2 percent, believed it was very or extremely likely that an investigation by campus officials into alleged sexual assault would be fair.
When asked how problematic sexual assault or misconduct was at the university, 14.7 percent of students said it was very or extremely problematic and 5.4 percent thought it was very or extremely likely that they would be the victim of sexual assault in the future.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher called for the university to address the numbers with “evidence-based prevention-focused” strategies.
In response to the reports, Pitt says it will create a dedicated funding “to energize grassroots solutions from faculty researchers, student groups and University staff.”
Many students on campus were surprised to hear about the results and advocated for change.
“The issues regarding sexual assault and sexual misconduct on campus need to be addressed immediately and deeply,” said student Sara Kaempf
The university participated in a similar survey in 2015, and several numbers had increased in the 2019 survey.
In one instance, 21 percent of undergraduate women in 2015 reported nonconsensual sexual contact by physical force or inability to consent. In 2019, that number jumped to 26.9 percent.
Some students felt that while the numbers are increasing, so are the efforts to combat sexual assault.
“I think there’s a culture going on where this stuff is happening more and more frequently, but also I think there’s a new culture coming through where people have had enough,” said student Kim Steele.
Pitt has created a website for sharing information and ideas on campus sexual assault, which can be found here.
The results of the survey can be found online.