SUNY Sexual Violence Prevalence (SVP) Campus Climate Survey
Consistent with New York State Law 129-B, SUNY New Paltz participated in the University-wide Biennial SUNY Sexual Violence Prevalence (SVP) Campus Climate Survey. This survey is intended to gather information about the rate of incidents of sexual violence and about the knowledge of policies and resources. In March 2023, SUNY New Paltz administered this survey asking students, faculty, and staff to provide information in order to inform our campus sexual assault prevention and response efforts.
On March, 21, 2023, our campus began an online administration of the Sexual Violence Prevalence (SVP) Campus Climate Survey. This survey was administered to students and employees and is required to address, at minimum, student and employee knowledge about:
- The Title IX Coordinator’s role;
- Campus policies and procedures addressing sexual assault;
- How and where to report sexual violence as a victim/survivor or witness;
- The availability of resources on and off campus, such as counseling, health, academic assistance;
- The prevalence of victimization and perpetration of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on and off campus during a set time period (for example, the last two years);
- Bystander attitudes and behavior;
- Whether victims/survivors reported to the College/University and/or police, and reasons why they did or did not report.
- The general awareness of the difference, if any, between the institution’s policies and the penal law; and
- The general awareness of the definition of affirmative consent.
In reviewing the results, we highlight that the survey indicated several important trends, as well as areas for increased attention.
Awareness of Reporting Options and Resources
Overall, the majority of students (73%) and employees (94.5%) indicated they are aware that our campus has policies and procedures specifically addressing sexual assault. This is likely the result of providing mandatory Title IX and sexual harassment training for employees annually as well as outreach to all new first-year and transfer students, and student cohorts such as RA’s, student organizations and clubs, student-athletes, and Greek life. However, only 41.4% of students indicated they are aware of how to contact the Title IX Coordinator, compared to 83.6% of employees. This is an area we must continue to focus on moving forward. The majority of students and employees reported being aware of resources such as the University Police Department, Student Health Service, and the Psychological Counseling Center.
Prevalence of Sexual Violence Experiences
While most students and employees reported that they did not experience sexual assault in the past twelve months, 41.9% of students and 5.9% of staff reported experiencing sexually harassing conduct (unwanted sexual comments, sexual slurs, or demeaning jokes). Although the majority of students and employees reported agreeing or strongly agreeing that the university would take their report seriously, the majority of students did not tell anyone about their experience and only a small percentage of students reported the incident. The main reason students shared they did not report is because they did not think it was important enough. Similarly, the majority of employees reported not taking action after experiencing sexually harassing conduct.
The SVP survey is administered every other year by all SUNY campuses, who work closely with SUNY System Administration to coordinate the survey administration itself. An effort is made to keep the questions from one administration to the next as consistent as possible to allow for reliable and meaningful longitudinal data. System-wide IRB review takes place for each survey administration.
Our campus administered the student and employee survey between March 21 and April 14, 2023. Excluded survey populations were individuals under 18 years of age, all incarcerated individuals regardless of age, and all students concurrently enrolled in high school regardless of age. The survey invitation was sent to all eligible survey participants in an email sent on Friday, March 10, 2023 and Monday, March 20, 2023 from the Office of Institutional Research and Title IX Office. In addition, there was a social media campaign reminding students and employees of this survey during the first three days of the survey being sent to all eligible participants. SUNY New Paltz did not offer any incentives to complete this survey.
Our institution hopes to gain insight about our students and employees awareness of policies, resources available both on and off-campus, as well as the extent of the issue and incidence of sexual assault on our campus. This survey and its results help to inform us and improve our prevention programming initiatives on our campus, as well as ways to expand the information we provide to students and employees during our annual trainings and workshop.
SUNY New Paltz sent a survey invitation to 6,668 eligible students. We received 518 responses for a response rate of 7.8%. Of this number, 480 were undergraduates and 38 were graduate students, with 478 being full-time and 40 being part-time. 187 have been at New Paltz 1-2 semesters, 126 have been at New Paltz 3-4 semesters, 84 have been at New Paltz 5-6 semesters, and 121 for 7+ semesters. Student respondents identified their gender as follows:
Awareness of Campus Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Policies, Reporting, and Resources:
- A majority of students (73.1%) know that our campus has policies and procedures to specifically address sexual assault;
- 78% of students indicated familiarity with the campus’s definition of Affirmative Consent;
- 54.4% of students are aware of the difference between the college disciplinary process and the criminal justice system;
- 53% of students are aware of SUNY’s alcohol and/or drug use amnesty policy in reporting sexual violence;
- Less than half of students (41.4%) know how to contact the Title IX Coordinator;
- Most students reported awareness of the role of the Title IX Coordinator
- 78.4% reported knowledge of the role of the Title IX Coordinator in regards to receiving reports of sexual assault/sex discrimination/sexual misconduct;
- 66.7% reported knowledge of the role of the Title IX Coordinator in regards to providing reporting individuals with accommodations and services during an investigation;
- 64.3% reported knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator role in regards to coordinating the campus response;
- 63.2% reported knowledge of the role of the Title IX Coordinator in regards to ensuring training/education is provided to the campus community; and
- Less than half of students reported knowing how to report Title IX incidents, with:
- 48.9% knowing how to report a sexual assault;
- 45% knowing how to report sexual harassment;
- 35.3% knowing how to report domestic violence/dating violence;
- 34.9% knowing how to report stalking; and
- 48.3% did not know how to report any of these types of incidents.
- The top 5 campus departments where students reported a victim/survivor or witness can file a formal complaint of sexual assault were:
- University Police Department (92.9%);
- Title IX Coordinator (87.5%);
- Psychological Counseling Center (68.8%);
- Student Health Service (61.8%); and
- Advocacy Services (53%).
- Less than half of students reported receiving from SUNY New Paltz either written or verbal (presentations, trainings) information about sexual assault, including;
- 46.9% received information on the definition of sexual assault;
- 44.6% received information on how to report a sexual assault;
- 45.7% received information on where to go to get help if you or someone you know is sexually assaulted;
- 41.9% received information on whom you can speak confidentially about a sexual assault;
- 45.9% received information about policies prohibiting sexual assault; and
- 35.6% reported not receiving information regarding any of the above.
Student Experiences with Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
Students were asked about their experiences with unwelcome sexual conduct over the past year:
- 157 students (41.8%) reported experiencing unwanted sexual comments, sexual slurs, or demeaning jokes;
- 20 students (5.3%) reported someone viewed their sexual activity or nakedness without their consent, or took explicit pictures or recordings without their consent;
- 102 students (27.1%) reported receiving unwanted sexually suggestive digital communications, either words or images or both, including emails, texts, social media communications, or in letters or other written communications;
- 65 students (17.3%) reported being fondled, kissed, or rubbed up against the private areas of their body without their consent;
- 25 students (6.6%) reported clothing being removed even though they did not give consent for that activity;
- 14 students (3.7%) reported having oral sex performed on them or forced them to perform oral sex even though they did not give consent for that activity; and
- 24 students (6.4%) reported having been sexually penetrated without their consent.
Respondents were asked about whether the perpetrator was affiliated with the campus community:
- 43.5% reported that the person was part of the campus community;
- 39.3% reported that the person was not part of the campus community; and
- 17.3% were unsure of whether or not the person was part of the campus community.
They described the relationship with the perpetrator as follows:
- Stranger: 28.3%
- No prior relationship, but someone known to them (acquaintance): 15.6%
- Non-romantic friend: 15.6%
- Other college student: 11.1%
- Ex-romantic partner/spouse: 6.7%
- More than one person: 5%
- Casual or first date: 4.4%
- Other: 3.9%
- Current romantic partner/spouse: 3.3%
Students were asked whether they told anyone about the most recent incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault. 41.8% reported telling someone about the incident and 58.2% reported not telling anyone. 27.3% of students reported filing a formal complaint with the university and 69.7% stated they did not file a formal complaint. When asked whom students told about the incident, they reported the following:
- A friend: 75.4%
- Roommate or housemate: 46.2%
- Romantic partner: 30.8%
- Parent or guardian: 24.6%
- Title IX Office: 23.1%
- Faculty, administrator, staff: 20%
- Other family member: 15.4%
- RA or other residence hall staff: 12.3%
- Student Conduct Office: 9.2%
- Other: 9.2%
Students who decided not to report or share their experience with anyone were asked the reasons why. The top five reasons were reported:
- I did not think it was important enough: 67.8%
- I did not recognize it as a sexual assault at the time: 54.4%
- I just did not want to deal with it: 48.9%
- I was ashamed or embarrassed: 32.2%
- I did not think I would be believed: 25.6%
Intimate Partner Violence
Students were asked about their experience with intimate partner violence over the past year.
- 35 students (9.8%) reported that an intimate partner controlled or tried to control them.
- 27 students (7.5%) reported that an intimate partner threatened to hurt them, their family/friends, or themselves in order to influence them.
- 21 students (5.9%) reported that an intimate partner scratched, slapped, hit, kicked, beat, punched, or physically harmed them.
Students were asked whether they told anyone about the most recent incident. 74.5% of students reported telling someone and 25.5% reported not telling anyone about the incident. 85.7% of students reported not filing a formal complaint about this incident with anyone at the college. Respondents were asked whom they told and why they chose to report. There were too few responses to present results to these questions.
Students were asked whether, in the past year, anyone repeatedly followed them, watched them, or texted, called, written, emailed, or communicated with them in ways that seemed obsessive and made them afraid or concerned for their safety. 64 students (18.2%) reported experiencing this conduct and 43 students (74.1%) reported telling someone about the incident as follows:
- A friend: 85.4%
- Roommate or housemate: 51.2%
- Parent or guardian: 36.6%
- Other family member: 26.8%
- Romantic partner: 24.4%
- RA or other residence hall staff: 17.1%
19% of students reported filing a formal complaint about this conduct. Students who did not report or share their experience were asked for the reasons. There were too few responses to present results to this question.
Impact on Student Educational Plans
Students who experienced sexual violence indicated that it impacted their educational plans as follows:
- 3.1% of students who experienced sexual violence reported changing their academic program of study.
- 9.8% of students who experienced sexual violence reported changing their academic schedule and/or housing.
- 4.1% of students who experienced sexual violence reported leaving the school.
- 5.7% of students who experienced sexual violence reported transferring to a different school.
Readiness to Help
Nearly half of students expressed trust in SUNY New Paltz’s investigatory process, ability to provide support measures, and to take their report seriously.
- 44% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the university would conduct a fair investigation. 28.8% neither agreed nor disagreed.
- 47.5% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the university would provide the student with necessary support during the process. 24% neither agreed nor disagreed.
- 56.9% of students agreed or strongly agreed that the university would take the report seriously. 20.7% neither agreed nor disagreed.
Most students felt that their fellow students would assist in the event of an incident.
- 53.1% of students felt they would call for help (ie: call 911) if they hear a neighbor yelling help.
- 60% of students felt they would confront a friend who tells them that they had sex with someone who was passed out or didn’t give consent.
- 44.8% of students felt they would express their discomfort if someone makes a joke about a person’s body.
- 70.3% of students felt they would get help and resources for a friend who tells them that they have been assaulted.
- 37.3% of students felt they would tell a resident assistant or other campus authority about information they have that might help in a sexual assault case even if pressured by friends to stay silent. 36.2% were unsure of what they would do in this situation.
SUNY New Paltz sent a survey invitation to 1,444 eligible employees. We received 402 responses for a response rate of 27.8%. Of this number, 198 were faculty and 203 were staff. Of this number, 11.7% have been at campus for less than one year, 23.1% between 1-5 years, 20.1% between 6-10 years, and 45% 11+ years. Employee respondents identified their gender as follows:
5% preferred not to respond
Awareness of Campus Sexual and Interpersonal Violence Policies, Reporting, and Resources:
The majority of employees are aware of SUNY New Paltz’s policies regarding sexual violence:
- 94.5% are aware that the campus has policies and procedures specifically addressing sexual assault.
- 74.8% know the difference between confidentiality and privacy.
- 83.2% are aware of the definition of Affirmative Consent.
- 81.6% know the difference between the college disciplinary process and the criminal justice system.
- A lower percentage of 47.1% are aware of SUNY’s alcohol and/or drug use amnesty policy in reporting sexual violence.
The majority of employees know how to report sexual violence to the university:
- 83.5% know how to report sexual assault.
- 85.8% know how to report sexual harassment.
- 77.1% know how to report domestic violence/dating violence.
- 75.6% know how to report stalking.
In terms of where a victim/survivor or witness can report:
- 97.3% know are aware of the University Police Department.
- 94% know about the Title IX Coordinator.
- 89.5% know about the Psychological Counseling Center.
- 84.5% know about Student Health Service.
- 69.9% know about Advocacy Services.
- 69% know about Human Resources as an option to report.
- 63.9% are aware of Student Affairs.
- 52.7% know about Affirmative Action.
A majority of employees (83.6%) know how to contact the Title IX Coordinator. A majority of employees also know the role of the Title IX Coordinator:
- 90.2% are aware that the Title IX Coordinator receives reports.
- 82.2% are aware that the Title IX Coordinator helps to coordinate campus response.
- 88.1% are aware that the Title IX Coordinator ensures training/education is provided to the campus community.
- 77.1% are aware that the Title IX Coordinator provides reporting individuals with accommodations and services during an investigation.
Employees are aware of the following on-campus and community resources (Title IX Office was not listed as an option to choose):
- University Police Department: 97.2%
- Psychological Counseling Center: 90.8%
- Student Health Service: 90.2%
- Human Resources: 87.7%
- Local heal services (including hospitals): 66.4%
- Office of Student Conduct: 60.5%
- Peer Counselors: 54.1%
- Campus advocacy services: 44%
- Local crisis center: 42.3%
- Local advocacy center: 30.8%
- Health educator: 21%
The majority of employees reported receiving written (ie: brochures, emails) or verbal (ie: presentations, trainings) information about sexual violence policies and reporting, including:
- The definition of sexual assault: 79%
- How to report a sexual assault: 82.6%
- Where to go to get help if they or someone they know is sexually assaulted: 81.3%
- To whom one can speak confidentially about a sexual assault: 79.8%
- Policies prohibiting sexual assault: 80.8%
- Only 12.5% reported not receiving information regarding the above.
Student Disclosures to Employees
16% of employee respondents indicated that a student disclosed an unwanted sexual experience, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, during the past year. 81.5% reported that they did not receive a disclosure, with 2.6% preferring not to respond. Of the individuals who did receive a disclosure, 66.1% reported the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, University Police, Student Affairs, or another office on campus. 23.2% did not report the incident, with 10.7% preferring not to respond.
Employees reported disclosing the incident to the following offices:
- Title IX Coordinator: 86.6%
- University Police: 18.4%
- Student Affairs: 34.2%
23.2% of employees who did not disclose the incident did not report a reason why.
Readiness to Help
The majority of faculty and staff have confidence in SUNY New Paltz’s reporting, investigatory process and ability to provide supportive measures.
- 92.1% of employees believe the university would take a report of sexual violence seriously.
- 82.1% of employees believe the university would conduct a fair investigation.
- 85.4% of employees believe the university would provide the student with necessary support during the process.
- 85.2% of employees know how to advise a student on where to get help on campus if that student reported an incident to them.
- A slightly smaller percentage of 64.6% reported understanding what happens when a student reports a sexual assault on our campus.
The majority of employees had confidence in the willingness of their colleagues to assist in the event of an incident as follows:
- 87.9% believe it is likely or very likely that an employee would call for help if they heard a neighbor yelling help.
- 61.4% believe it is likely or very likely an employee would talk to a student who they suspect is in an abusive relationship. 30.3% reported being unsure.
- 86.7% believe it is likely or very likely that an employee would get help and resources for a friend who tells them that they have been assaulted.
- 72.2% felt it is likely or very likely that an employee would tell a campus authority about information they have that might help in a sexual assault case even if they have been pressured by their friends to stay silent.
Employee Unwelcome Experiences
Faculty and staff were asked about their own experiences with unwelcome sexual comments, slurs, and demeaning jokes, as well as unwelcome digital communications.
- 5.9% of employees reported experiencing unwanted sexual comments, sexual slurs, or demeaning jokes. 89.9% stated that they did not experience this, and 4.2% preferred not to respond.
Employees who reported unwelcome experiences were also asked who engaged in this conduct. They reported the status of the perpetrators as follows: 38.1% reported it was another staff member and 38.1% reported it was someone from off-campus. They also identified the following locations where the conduct occurred:
- In an office on campus: 42.9%
- At an off-campus location: 52.4%
The employees who reported unwelcome experiences were also asked if they took any action after this experience. 52.4% reported not taking any action.
Employees were also asked whether they received unwanted, sexually-suggestive digital communications, either words, images, or both, including emails, texts, social media communications, or in other written communications. This question was asked by appointment type (full time with permanent appointment, full time without permanent appointment, and part time). Results were as follows:
- Full Time, Permanent/Continuing Appointment: 91.9% no, 3.3% yes, 4.8% prefer not to respond
- Full Time, Not Permanent/Continuing Appointment: 93.4% no
- Part Time: 94% no
The SUNY Sexual Violence Prevalence Campus Climate Survey revealed key areas of focus for our institution:
- Enhance student awareness of the Title IX Office, behaviors that fall under Title IX, and how to report incidents. Although most students reported knowing awareness of the role of the Title IX Coordinator, almost half did not know how to contact the Title IX Coordinator. We also need to maintain efforts to increase student awareness of sexual misconduct policies, resources, and reporting while being aware of the many demands on students’ time and training burnout.
- Enhance awareness of SUNY’s alcohol and/or drug use amnesty policy in reporting sexual violence. Only 53% of students and 47.1% of employees reported awareness of this.
- Enhance awareness of peer counselors, such as Oasis & Haven, as a support service.
- Most employees indicated trust in SUNY New Paltz’s processes for investigating and addressing sexual violence, however students percentage of this was far less. In addition, there is a great deal of underreporting in regard to sexual harassment and sexual violence from both students and employees. We should continue to focus on encouraging individuals to report when they have experienced sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct.
The Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Working Group will review the results of the survey to better inform programming and educational awareness to improve student and employee knowledge of the Title IX Coordinator and other resources that are available. The next SUNY Sexual Violence Prevalence Climate Survey will be administered in the Spring Semester of 2025. More information about the Survey is available at https://www.suny.edu/climatesurvey/.
If you have any questions about the survey or the results included in this report, please contact Danielle Strauchler, Title IX Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 845-257-3184, or Lucy Walker, Assistant Vice President for Institutional Research, at email@example.com or 845-257-3229.