The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.


With just one day left for students to complete the campus climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct, the response rate is disappointingly low in the eyes of the administration.

The survey is sponsored by the Association of American Universities, which is chaired by Penn President Amy Gutmann and is administered by the independent research firm Westat. It was released on April 2 and will close on April 23 at midnight. Twenty-eight universities, including Penn, are participating in the survey.

Penn hoped to achieve a response rate for this survey comparable to that of similar surveys — high 30 to mid 40 percent, Vice President for Institutional Affairs Joann Mitchell said. So far, the response rate is only around 25 percent.

Mitchell said that a higher response rate will ensure that the student body is accurately represented in the survey’s results.

“I personally would be much happier if we could get much closer to the 40 percent response rate so that we will be able to have much more confidence in the kinds of conclusions we draw and ensure that we really have representative sampling,” she said.

Although the survey has been emailed to students multiple times in addition to being advertised in other ways, the response window falls at a difficult time of year — three weeks during which it has been administered have included Easter, Passover, Spring Fling and early preparation for finals.

“All things being equal, if we could have done it at a different time of year, that would have been something that I probably personally would have advocated for,” Mitchell said.

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and offers a $5 Amazon gift card to anyone who completes it.

Mitchell said the survey is important because it will allow Penn to compare its feedback on sexual assault with peer institutions, and that the survey’s large scale will ensure anonymity for students.

“We wanted people to be assured that there’s no way that any of the information they give in response could come back to them as an individual,” she said.

Despite the time commitment necessary to complete the survey, Mitchell believes that the results — set to be released in September — will be well worth it.

“At the end of the day it’s an investment of their [students’] time that will help us ensure that we have a campus that is free of sexual assault and sexual misconduct,” Mitchell said. “It’s really, really important, not only for students who are on campus now, but to students who will follow them in the future.”

Personal links to the survey have been sent out to every Penn student.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.