Findings from the Association of American Universities’ Student Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct were released last week. Vanderbilt University officials were pleased to announce that our rates of sexual violence were pretty much the same as everyone else’s, thank God.
“We were really worried that our rates of sexual assault on campus were going to be high,” said a representative from the University. “Not high, like, overall, but noticably higher than other univeristies’ rate of sexual violence. Then that would be a problem. Because then someone might actually take note of our sexual assault rates and ask us to do something about it. That would be terrible for us personally.”
Fortunately, with only 27% of undergraduate women and 7% of undergraduate men having expereinced sexual violence during their time here, Vanderbilt officials don’t have to worry about any New York Times articles or Tennessean stories pinpointing the school as particularly problematic. The overall rates of sexual violence averaging across the top universities was 26% for women and 7% for men.
“So with just about 1 in 4 women experiencing one of the most traumatic and horrible things that can happen to any human being during their time here, there’s really nothing out of the ordinary at Vanderbilt,” continued the University representative.
“We were just thrilled – ecstatic, really – when we realized that other top tier schools were having just as little success as we were in lowering rates of sexual assault. What more could Vanderbilt want than to be average when compared to our peer institutions? We’ve already dropped to 15th in the U.S. News and World Report rankings, so we’re not looking to fall any further there. Can you imagine if we had any statistics that stood out? Our rank would have dropped to 16, at least. Any further widening of the gap between Vanderbilt and Duke’s rankings would be terrible for student moral, and also for the administration’s end of the year bonus.”
The University is not hiding from these survey results and what they mean for our community, though. The representative we spoke with assured us that students have as much access to the Campus Climate Survey results as they want us to have. “We’ve already put out a nice blanket statement that includes just enough specific numbers to make it seem comprehensive. And in that statement, we included a very helpful link to a page where there are three more links and then one of those three links leads to a document where you can find the raw statistics but only after you enter your Vanderbilt username and password.”
“We’re very committed to being transparent with the community.”
As for the University’s plan to make concrete, structural changes to the current system in order to combat sexual assault on campus moving forward, the administration expressed Vanderbilt’s ongoing committment towards defintely doing something, in some capacity, at some point, soon.