Rawlings said the survey’s purpose is to help schools decide whether policy changes need to be made based on incidence information and students’ attitudes toward the issue of sexual assault.
But Jacquelyn White, a UNC-Greensboro psychology professor, is among 16 professors and sexual violence experts nationwide to sign a letter calling on institutions to not commit to the survey.
The survey results’ secretive nature doesn’t allow campuses to learn from each other, she said, and the survey should have a more scientific approach to addressing campuses’ sexual assault climate.
“They wanted the information to only be shared with each individual campus,” she said. “They don’t want any of the data to go public immediately.”
White also said adjusting the survey per individual institutions is crucial.
“The profiles of campuses — the demographics are so different that campuses have got to be able to tailor surveys to help them understand what’s going on on their own campus,” White said.
But Martin said some questions can be modified by individual universities, and there is a benefit to keeping those questions consistent.
“All universities need to have some of the same types of information,” she said. “This consistency also will allow for comparisons across campuses.”
Barry Toiv, spokesman for the AAU, said in an email that the group will encourage institutions to release their data, and Martin said comparative results would be shared with the public.
“AAU is also developing a plan for sharing survey data with researchers since it will be a valuable source of information for them, policymakers and the public,” Martin said.