82 percent of surveyed Ohio University students said they’ve experienced sexual misconduct

Ohio University

ATHENS, OH (WCMH) — Of the 1,350 students who completed the survey, 82 percent of them said they had experienced some kind of sexual misconduct while at Ohio University.

According to the Ohio University’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct (PACSM), a voluntary survey was sent to students in the spring of 2016 to evaluate the scope of sexual misconduct on the Athens campus.

The voluntary survey was sent to all of the more than 19,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled on the Athens campus, and it was completed by 6.9 percent, or 1,350 students.  Eleven percent or 2,139 completed some portion of the survey.

Of those students, 82 percent indicated they had experienced some kind of sexual misconduct while at Ohio University, ranging from unwelcome verbal comments containing inappropriate or offensive sexual content to rape.

Of those students, 74 percent reported experiencing sexual harassment by other students. Of the 280 graduate students responding to the survey, 8.2 percent reported having experienced unwanted sexual advances by faculty and staff.

Of the 169 students of color who responded to the survey, 9 percent reported having experienced unwanted sexual advances from faculty and staff. In contrast, of the 1,420 Caucasian students responding to the survey, 6.4 percent reported having experienced unwanted sexual advances by faculty and staff.

With regard to sexual assault victimization, of the 1035 Ohio University women completing the survey, 29 percent reported being victimized, with 13 percent of them indicating they were raped during their time as a student.

One hundred ninety-three non-heterosexual students responded to the survey, and based on the survey results, these students seem to experience sexual victimization at a higher rate than their peers. A majority of the sexual assaults according to victim self-reports occurred off campus 70 percent of the time.

“Sexual misconduct does occur on our campus,” Sara Trower, executive director of Ohio University’s Office for Equity and Civil Rights Compliance said in the release. “This is a serious problem, and we are committed to finding the best ways to solve this problem for our community.”

The PACSM provided 10 recommendations to help improve the campus climate:

  • We need to develop and evaluate a systematic sexual misconduct prevention plan.

  • The university community needs to focus resources on the prevention of student-on-student sexual harassment.

  • We should invest additional resources in preventing unwanted sexual advances by faculty and staff. This should start with a review of current policy, training, education and prevention efforts directed toward faculty and staff.

  • Ohio University needs to continually integrate our sexual assault and alcohol prevention efforts.

  • Increased effort and resources need to be provided to address the disparities in victimization rates for sexual and gender minorities.

  • Training peers to positively respond to disclosures of sexual assault needs to be a component of our systematic prevention plan.

  • Greater work needs to be done to ensure that students are receiving and retaining information about resources on our campus to address sexual misconduct and relationship violence.

  • Increased support needs to be provided to investigatory units on our campus.

  • The climate survey should be institutionalized and made a part of normal university operations.

  • This report and subsequent reports should be placed on a university website for complete transparency and accessibility.


The university did emphasize that the survey had a low ratio of responses and it shouldn’t be a generalization of all OU students.

To read the full report, click here: Ohio University Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey Results

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