Campus Life

Penn State to initiate second University-wide student campus climate survey

Survey results will help University assess issues of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The second University-wide survey of students to gain an understanding of their perceptions, experiences and knowledge of resources related to sexual assault and sexual harassment is being launched by the Penn State Student Affairs Research and Assessment Office. The results will help guide the University’s ongoing efforts to curb sexual misconduct.  

On Monday, Oct. 29, the survey will be emailed to randomly selected students at all Penn State campuses. Approximately 10,000 undergraduates at University Park, along with 2,000 to 3,000 graduate students, and about 1,500 students at each of the larger Penn State campuses, will receive the survey. At smaller campuses, the survey will be sent to all students. 

Students who complete the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a variety of gift cards. However, students’ responses to the survey will remain anonymous, and the names of those who complete the survey won’t be associated with their answers.

Similar to the inaugural survey conducted in 2015, this survey will ask students questions about their personal experiences, their perceptions, their knowledge of campus resources, and the behavior of bystanders in relation to sexual misconduct and harassment. It is expected to provide insight into a number of areas, including the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, how comfortable people feel reporting incidents, and the role of alcohol.

Adam Christensen, director of Student Affairs Research and Assessment, said the survey will help the University understand and track any progress that has been made since the last survey was conducted three years ago, as well as continue to inform decisions around policies and programs related to sexual misconduct.

“Understanding our students’ experiences is key to improving the support and resources we offer,” Christensen said. “It’s critically important that we hear from as many students as possible to capture a wide-ranging picture of all types of student experiences. We encourage all students who receive the survey to help us improve the campus environment by taking the time to complete it.”

This sexual misconduct climate survey came out of a task force that was convened more than three years ago, in which Penn State President Eric J. Barron endorsed 18 recommendations aimed at fighting sexual assault and misconduct on all Penn State campuses. The survey, which will be repeated every three years, is key to understanding the problem, formulating new policies and solutions, and tracking the progress of initiatives aimed at reducing incidents of sexual misconduct on campus. The survey was initially administered in November 2015.

The survey is one part of a comprehensive approach to ongoing efforts aimed at creating a safer campus climate. Other efforts in Penn State’s continued commitment to safety have included a comprehensive review of all Penn State policies and procedures, instituting mandatory employee training, providing more education and awareness training for students and parents, establishing a bystander intervention program, and hosting a University hotline, among others. Most recently, the University has restructured and provided additional resources for the Title IX and affirmative action efforts.

If you are in need of resources regarding sexual misconduct at Penn State, visit

For more information on the survey, see the Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated November 05, 2018