Letter to the Editor: Statistics on Sexual Misconduct Survey

I am writing in response to the “Opinion of the Hullabaloo Board” that ran in the April 7 edition regarding the 2017 Tulane Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey. Our completion rate of 47 percent, while just short of Harvard’s nation-leading 53 percent, was so extraordinarily high that the researchers who created the survey were stunned. Our survey went out to nearly 10,000 full-time students, and well over 8,000 people engaged with it to some degree. I’d also note that Tulane used a different survey than Harvard, one that was on average 10 to 15 minutes longer and more scientifically rigorous in its victimization questions. Our school has the highest completion rate for such Administrator Researcher Campus Climate Consortium surveys, and the researchers were heartened to see a student body commit to taking a survey of its length and detail. I was so proud to sit with these researchers and talk about how our Greek community had several chapters with every member taking the survey, a virtual 100 percent completion rate from varsity athletics, incredible support from club athletics and our student governments, and on and on.

The opinion also pointed out that the freshman class had the highest response rates of all of the classes. Instead of a sign that the other classes are less engaged, I think this could be a sign that the Class of 2020 is more engaged — that perhaps the experience of reading and discussing “Asking For It,” this year’s Tulane Reading Project selection, has had a motivating effect, investing them in ending sexual violence in a way the other classes weren’t able to experience. There is so little research supporting programs that are actually effective in dealing with campus sexual violence that just the possibility that we might have found something that worked is incredibly exciting! Outsiders are impressed with Tulanians’ response to the survey now; just wait until we show them what comes next once the survey data has been analyzed, disseminated and acted upon.

Meredith M. Smith, J.D., M.S. Ed
Tulane University Title IX Coordinator