During the 2015 session, the Washington state Legislature mandated that all colleges and universities conduct a uniform campus climate assessment that would gauge the prevalence of sexual violence on campuses. The law specifies that the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges organize, distribute, and collect responses for the state's community and technical colleges. The survey has been designed to assess:
- The prevalence of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on and off campus
- Student and employee knowledge of their institution's Title IX coordinator's role, campus policies and procedures addressing sexual assault and violence, options for reporting sexual violence as a survivor or witness, and the availability of resources (such as counseling) on and off campus
- Student and employee bystander attitudes and behavior
- Whether survivors reported to the institution or law enforcement and if not, why?
- Student and employee attitudes and awareness of campus sexual violence, including any recommendations for better addressing and preventing sexual violence
The objectives and desired outcomes of this undertaking are:
- Comply with legislative mandate
- Gauge prevalence and attitudes toward sexual assault on community and technical college campus
- Improve sexual violence prevention and response efforts on campus
The following Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) guide was developed in conjunction with the survey:
The questions in the survey were carefully written so colleges and resource centers could best determine attitudes and prevalence of sexual and physical violence on- and off-campus. With a clear understanding, people who support students and employees will be better equipped to address this kind of violence and prevent it from happening.
The Uniform Campus Climate Assessment was developed by SBCTC and an advisory committee with representatives from colleges and the the State Board. Group members were:
- John Boesenberg, SBCTC (Deputy Executive Director for Human Resources)
- Alec Campbell, Bellevue College (Research & Planning Commission)
- Stephanie Dykes, North Seattle College (Research & Planning Commission)
- Kim Garza, Big Bend Community College (Human Resources Commission)
- Ruby Hayden, Lake Washington Institute of Technology (Student Services Commission)
- Joe Holliday, STCTC (Director of STudent Services)
- Darby Kaikkonen, SBCTC (Policy Research Director)
- Luca Lewis, Whatcom Community College (Student Services Commission)
- Mark Rogstad, Yakima Valley Community College (Human Resources Commission)
Trained, professional student services, research, and human resource experts from the Washington state community and technical college system wrote the survey questions. The survey was also reviewed and approved by the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB), part of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. The WSIRB is responsible for looking at all research questions and tools before a survey starts. They are also responsible for ensuring the rights of all respondents are protected throughout the entire survey process.
- College staff and faculty, not including student workers, contract workers, volunteers, interns, and trustees
- All students, as defined by the Campus Climate Assessment Oversight Group, except new students starting spring quarter 2016, students under the age of 18, students over the age of 18 with legal guardian, ESL students
The survey adjacent to April to coincide with Sexual Assault Awareness Month, after it received approval from the Washington state Institutional Review Board. Since awareness and prevention are already a national topic during the month, representatives from the community and technical college system thought conducting this survey near April made logical sense.
Each person who received the survey also received two emails from the college president. The email stated what the survey was, when to expect it, why it was being conducted, and who to contact with questions or concerns.
- Employees received an email 14 days prior to receiving the survey. They received a second email the day before/the same day as the survey was sent
- Students received an email 12 days prior to receiving the survey. They received a second email the day before/the same day as the survey was sent
In addition to the emails from the college president, the first page of the survey contains a cover letter stating:
- the purpose of the survey
- expected time to complete the survey (between 30 and 45 minutes)
- a statement that “some of the questions are explicit and graphic” with an example
- that participation is completely voluntary that participants are and will remain completely anonymous
- an explanation of how the survey results will be used
- contact information for the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and the Washington State Institutional Review Board
- a list of resources if participants have a harmful reaction to the survey
All survey participants are required to verify their consent before they may participate in the survey. The consent form states:
"By clicking I agree to participate at the end of the page, I agree to the following:"
- The purpose of the survey described above has been explained to me.
- I voluntary consent to take the survey.
- I have been told that I can refuse to answer any question or leave the survey at any time, without penalty.
- I have been given contact information if I have questions about the survey.
- I have been told that I may contact the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges if I have questions about the survey.
- I have been told that I may call the Washington State Institutional Review Board if I have questions about my rights or if I have concerns or complaints about the survey.
- I am 18 years of age or older.
All answers to the survey are and will remain anonymous. Results will be gathered by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and put into a summary report for all of the state’s community and technical colleges. From there, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges must report the survey findings to the governor and the Legislature’s higher education committees.
Yes, your responses to the survey are anonymous. The survey does not ask for any personally identifiable information and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges have no way to trace answers back to a respondent. All answers are and will remain completely anonymous. Survey results will be compiled into a summary report for distribution to the community and technical colleges, the governor and the Legislature’s higher education committees; no individual answers will be part of the summary report.
Implementation of the survey is overseen by the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB), which is part of the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services. The purpose of the WSIRB review is to ensuring survey participants’ rights are protected throughout the entire survey process. This includes making sure the purpose of the survey is clear, respondents are informed of the risks and benefits of the survey, the right to not answer any question or leave the survey at any time, identify how the data will be used, and how anonymity will be protected. For a survey of this nature, anonymity is an imperative, and the state board is committed to protecting the rights of survey respondents.
Some of the questions are graphic. Respondents are asked if they’ve experienced specific sexual activities without their consent. The questions are posed this way so respondents are clear about the meaning of the question and to help student services, human resources and research professionals best understand the prevalence of sexual and physical violence on campuses. Understanding the problem is an important part of appropriately addressing sexual and physical violence and finding ways of preventing it and responding when it happens.
Your participation in the survey is completely voluntary. You will not be penalized if you do not participate in the survey. The college will not be penalized if you do not participate in the survey. Colleges, the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, and Washington state will not know if you choose to participate in the survey or not. If you choose, you do not have to take the survey at all. If you want to participate, you do not have to answer every question.
If you have questions about the survey, you may contact Joe Holliday, director of
student services, or Darby Kaikkonen, policy research director, at the State Board
for Community and Technical Colleges at 360-704-4400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about your rights, or if you have concerns or complaints about the survey, you may contact the Washington State Institutional Review Board (WSIRB). The WSIRB oversees this survey to make sure the rights of people who take part are protected. You may reach them at 1-800-583-8488. You do not have to give your name.
All of Washington’s community and technical colleges support and care for people who
have experienced sexual and physical violence. Colleges take every reasonable step
to prevent violence from happening to their students and employees.
On- and off-campus resources for support include: