Vanderbilt Sexual Assault Survey Results Out

Posted at 11:26 AM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-27 23:36:25-05

Surveys taken by Vanderbilt University students revealed new information about sexual assaults on campus.

The university asked students in spring 2015 to take one of two surveys on sexual assault. The results come on the anniversary of the now overturned guilty verdict announcement in the Vanderbilt Rape case.

School leaders said they were disappointed in some of the results of the survey.

"We wish they were better but we weren't surprised by what we found," Cynthia Cyrus, vice provost for the University said.

One survey, written by the independent Education Advisory Board, found that 156 out of 1,651 students said they had been victims of sexual assault - including rape, fondling, or unwanted kissing - during the 2014-15 school year. 

That number includes 19% of undergraduates who said they were victims of sexual assault.

In the second survey, written by education technology company EverFi, 140 out of 1,402 students said they had experienced sexual contact or attempted unwanted sexual contact as the result of various factors including physical force.


The numbers are much higher than the ones released in the campus' annual security report. In that, only 23 cases of sexual assault were reported. School officials said the results cannot be compared to each other because the surveys were using different definitions of sexual assault.

The difference does, however, show a big problem.

"Part of the reason for that difference is going to be the reluctance of individuals to bring a formal report forward," Cyrus said.

School leaders are now working on speaking to different groups of the student body while also looking at ways to increase security in some areas of campus. 

Regardless of those changes, officials stressed that sexual assaults will not stop unless the campus comes together.

"It's not a one person problem, and it's not going to be a one person solution," said Cyrus.

The Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence applauded Vanderbilt University for releasing the surveys.

"We applaud Vanderbilt's efforts to collect the information and hope it will be used to continue improving campus safety," Executive Director Kathy Walsh said.

To look at the entire survey, click here