But the results show graduate students who reported sexual harassment were much more likely to report that the offender was a faculty member.
“It’s not shocking that it’d be that much more than undergraduates because of the nature of graduate school, working with advisors or mentors,” said Taylor Livingston, vice president of external affairs for the Graduate and Professional Student Federation.
She said one-fifth of graduate students filled out the survey, a higher proportion than for undergraduates.
“Obviously, this is something that’s important to graduate and professional students, and now we have the data basically to show that,” Livingston said.
Dawkins-Law said UNC hasn’t been responsive enough in the past to the many backgrounds graduate students represent.
“Our relationships are oftentimes complicated by not just age, but by our position in the community, you know, whether we have children, whether we have husbands, partners in general,” she said.
At orientation, graduate students receive less comprehensive assault training than undergraduates do, she said.
“One, they don’t have the capacity to do that for the 800 students that show up at grad school orientation, and two, we’re so dispersed that there may be an underlying assumption that someone else is covering that topic,” she said.
Andrea Pino, a UNC graduate and the director of policy and support for End Rape on Campus, an organization aiming to eliminate sexual assault at universities through survivor support, prevention education and policy reform, said the nature of graduate work puts students in an awkward position when they witness or face sexual assault or harassment.
“When it comes to even privacy, they’re very vulnerable because they often can’t even tell each other about experiences of sexual assault because one of their peers might be a mandatory reporter,” Pino said.
Dawkins-Law said UNC has shown it is willing to work with graduate students to make improvements in sexual assault prevention.
“They recognize that they really need to hear that particular perspective because so much stuff is just tailored to a very specific undergraduate narrative.”
Multiple UNC representatives could not comment by press time.