AAU to Conduct Sexual-Assault Climate Survey of Its Members

The Association of American Universities will conduct a sexual-assault climate survey of its members, the AAU announced on Friday.

The association said the survey would be carried out next April at “as many of its 60 U.S. research universities that choose to participate.” The survey will be administered to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but not faculty members or administrators.

“Sexual assault is unquestionably one of the most important and complex issues our campuses face,” Hunter R. Rawlings III, the AAU’s president, said in a written statement. “The first priority for our universities is the safety of their students. That is paramount. Universities also have a responsibility to ensure that adjudicatory processes are trustworthy and fair.”

Mr. Rawlings said the AAU hoped the survey would offer its institutions “solid information on the incidence of sexual assault and sexual harassment on their campuses and on attitudes on the issue among their students.”

Mr. Rawlings added that the AAU was “deeply concerned” about the possibility that Congress or the Obama administration would require the distribution of a survey developed by the government. He said such an effort would most “likely be a one-size-fits-all survey that would provide potentially misleading data, given the extraordinary diversity of higher education in our country, and would not reliably assess the campus culture on this issue.”

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