2019 AAU Climate Survey - Frequently Asked Questions about Participating

Why am I being asked to complete this survey?

The University of Oregon has asked all students to answer a climate survey on sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The results will be used to guide school policies to encourage a healthy, safe, and nondiscriminatory environment on campus. This survey is an important tool for our campus to assess current programs and to shape future policies. Their goal is to develop programs and services that minimize sexual assault and misconduct, as well as respond to these events when they do occur.

Who is eligible to participate in the survey?

All University of Oregon students, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, are eligible to participate in this survey. In order to participate, you must have received an email invitation to complete the survey, and must click on the unique link included in the email invitation in order to access the survey.

Who is Westat?

The University of Oregon has collaborated with 32 other AAU institutions and Westat to write and administer this survey. Westat is a private research organization. If you received an email from Westat, it is because Westat was provided your student email address so that we could send these emails to you. Westat will not use your email address for any other purposes, release your email address to any others, or keep your email address after the survey period closes.

What kinds of questions are in the survey?

This survey includes sections that ask about your knowledge and beliefs about social situations, perceptions related to sexual misconduct at the University of Oregon, and your knowledge of resources available on campus. The survey also asks about your personal experience with sexual misconduct, such as harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of violence.

The phrasing of some questions related to gender are not as inclusive as we would like them to be at UO. We would ask you to still participate and skip any questions you do not feel comfortable answering.

This survey includes some open-ended questions which allow you to write a unique response. Open-ended questions will not be reviewed by the data collector. They will be sent “as is” to your institution’s research team for review in July 2019.

What will the University of Oregon do with the results?

The results will be used to better understand the climate at the University of Oregon, the extent of sexual assault and misconduct among students, and the use of programs and services currently being offered. This information will be used to make recommendations for changes to the policies and procedures related to preventing and handling sexual assault and misconduct at the University of Oregon.

Where can I see the results of this study?

The university will receive a report of the results in September 2019. At that point, the university plans to release a report on the data collected, as it did with the results of the 2015 Campus Climate Survey.

Why are you asking about these sensitive topics?

In order to understand the climate at the university, the survey needs to ask direct questions about topics that some may find sensitive. It is only by directly collecting this information from you that the university will be able to help prevent negative experiences and effectively respond when they do happen.

Why is the language on the survey so explicit?

Some of the language used in this survey is explicit and some people may find it uncomfortable, but it is important that we ask the questions in this way so that you are clear what we mean.  Information on how to get help, if you need it, appears on the bottom of each page and at the end of the survey.

Isn’t this survey only for women?

No, this survey is for everyone, regardless of gender identity or experiences. The survey will be used to shape policies that affect everyone on campus, so it is very important that you provide your experiences and viewpoint.

I’ve never experienced sexual assault or sexual misconduct, so why should I take part?

If only victims of sexual assault and sexual misconduct participate in the survey, we will have a very lopsided view of student experiences on our campus. To get a complete picture of student experiences at the UO, we need to hear from as many students as possible.

How long will the survey take?

This survey should take most people approximately 20 minutes to complete. It may take up to 30 minutes for some individuals depending on their responses. 

Am I required to participate?

You do NOT have to participate in this survey. If you do choose to participate, you may skip any question you are not comfortable answering and may exit the survey at any time.

What will happen if I don’t participate?

There are no consequences if you choose not to participate in the survey. Information on who completed the survey (and who did not) will not be provided to the university or any others. However, if you choose not to participate, your perspective and experiences might not be reflected in the survey results.

Will my answers be confidential?

When you complete the survey, the link between your survey responses and your email and IP addresses will be broken so that no one will be able to connect your email or IP address with your survey responses. Information on who completed the survey will not be provided to the university or any others. The results will be presented in summary form so no individual can be identified. However, if we learn about child abuse or about a threat of harm to yourself or others, we are obligated to report it to the authorities.

We have obtained a Certificate of Confidentiality (CoC) issued by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The CoC is issued to protect the investigators on this study from being forced to tell anyone about your participation in this study, even under a subpoena. Even when a CoC is in place, you and your family members must still continue to actively protect your own privacy. If you voluntarily give your written consent for an insurer, employer, or lawyer to receive information about your participation in the research, then we may not use the CoC to withhold this information.

Why are you asking me about my race and ethnicity? Do I have to answer?

We are asking these questions so that we can describe the sample of students who completed the survey, and also so that we can describe how climate and actual experiences differ by race and ethnicity. This will help the university target resources and reduce barriers to accessing and using resources. You do not have to answer any question on the survey if you do not want to.

Why are you asking if I’m a US Citizen? Do I have to answer?

We are asking these questions so that we can describe the sample of students who completed the survey, and also so that we can describe how climate and actual experiences differ by citizenship status. This will help the university target resources and reduce barriers to accessing and using resources. You do not have to answer any question on the survey if you do not want to.

Do I have to answer all of the questions?

You do not have to answer all of the questions on the survey if you do not want to. Even if you choose not to answer every question, we encourage you to go through all of the items in the survey and click “submit” at the end of the survey so that the responses you do provide can be recorded.

If I skip a question can I go back to it later?

Yes. You can navigate through the survey items using the “previous” and “next” buttons on the survey pages.

If I close the browser will my answers be saved? Can I go back to the survey later to complete it?

Answers are saved by clicking the navigation buttons on the bottom of each screen (previous, next, and save). You do not have to click “save” on each screen, as long as you navigate to the next question by clicking “next”. When you click one of these buttons, the answers on the current screen will be saved and you can close the browser and come back to the survey later to complete it.

However, if you close the browser without clicking one of those buttons on the current screen, your answer on the current screen will not be saved. You may return and complete the survey at any time before the survey closes.

I still have questions.

If you have any questions about the study, you can call the Help Desk at 1-855-793-5324.

If you have questions about your rights and welfare as a research participant, please call the Westat Human Subjects Protections office at 1-888-920-7631. Please leave a message with your full name, the name of the research study that you are calling about (Campus Climate Survey), and a phone number beginning with the area code. Someone will return your call as soon as possible.