Penn will participate in the Association of American Universities’ sexual assault climate survey when it is released in April 2015, according to President Amy Gutmann.

The AAU, of which Gutmann is chair, has contracted with a national research firm called Westat to design and administer the survey, which will measure the frequency and characteristics of campus sexual assault and sexual harassment across institutions, to member universities that choose to participate.

The AAU is a nonprofit organization consisting of 60 leading United States and Canadian research universities. All eight Ivy League universities are members.

“The Ivy plus presidents talked about how important it is to have a survey instrument that is reliable and comparable across institutions and across time,” Gutmann said.

While the AAU will publicly report the holistic results from its participating institutions, Westat will provide each campus with its respective data, and individual universities will decide whether to release the results.

Gutmann said that Penn will make the results public in a way that “secures the anonymity of respondents.”

Each survey will feature a uniform series of questions, except for five that will specifically reference campus programs to measure familiarity with campus resources and support services.

“A good survey ought to be something that we can learn from not only our own students responses, but the responses at other institutions,” Gutmann said. “We ought to be able to compare, otherwise we really don’t know how to interpret a lot of the results if they’re not comparable.”

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