BYU to survey students about campus culture surrounding sexual assault

BYU President Kevin J Worthen speaks with University spokeswoman Carri Jenkins about the decision to conduct a study about sexual assault reporting to BYU’s Title IX office in an April 2016 video. (BYU News)

BYU President Kevin J Worthen announced in an email today a survey about the campus culture and climate surrounding sexual assault, gender violence and reporting will be sent to students next week.

“I am writing today to invite you to help in our efforts to better understand your experiences as we work together to make our campus safer and even more responsive to the needs of students,” President Worthen said in the email to students.

The survey is part of the work by the Advisory Council on Campus Response to Sexual Assault, which was created in April 2016. As a result of the council’s findings the Campus Climate Survey Committee was formed to prepare the survey BYU will be sending to students next week, according to President Worthen.

In the student email, President Worthen told students the survey will be direct and frank, and he encouraged all students to respond similarly because he wants students’ honest answers.

The survey is optional for students and there will be no repercussions for those who do not take or opt-out of the survey. Links to resources will be provided for those who “experience discomfort, need support or have questions” while taking the survey, President Worthen said.

President Worthen hopes this survey will improve the campus climate at BYU.

“I believe this study will help us create a system that people — particularly survivors of sexual assault — feel they can trust, and a campus climate that fosters safety and a feeling of belonging for all who study and work here,” President Worthen said.

University Communications included a link to a Q and A with an Advisory Council member, Dr. Ben Ogles, in another email. Ogles is also the Dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at BYU.

According to President Worthen, the Advisory Council was created to reach two goals:

  1. Identify changes that will help BYU work toward the elimination of sexual assault on campus
  2. Determine how to better handle the reporting process for victims of sexual assault as sensitively and compassionately as possible, consistent with federal requirements under Title IX

Since its organization, the Advisory Council completed an internal study of BYU’s sexual assault reporting processes and released its report October 2016. The council continues to address issues and concerns related to sexual assault on campus.

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