EPH Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault (EPHCASA) Campus Climate Survey
The best prevention and response work is grounded in community assessments which gather information from a variety of sources. In 2011, the college participated for the first time in the American College Health Association Survey, which asks questions about a wide range of aspects of student health and well being. Among the items on that survey were three that related to experiences of sexual assault. These data, which were shared with the community in President Falk’s letter in spring 2012, provided an initial gauge of the prevalence of assault at Williams College.
Our goals in the development of the EPHCASA survey and the synthesis of the data were multifaceted. One was to update and enrich our prevalence data from the 2011 survey: how frequently students are experiencing sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking, and in what contexts and with what dynamics. Another goal was to better understand student resource access: perceptions of support and accountability resources on- and off-campus; who uses which resources and the helpfulness of those; and to gain a better understanding of which resources are seen or experienced as less accessible. Finally, the data helps us to improve our education and prevention programming by highlighting areas for additional knowledge and skill-building, policy development, and professional development for staff and faculty.
The creation of the survey tool in Summer and Fall, 2014 was a joint project of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, the Title IX Committee for Student Concerns, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness working group, and the Office of Institutional Research. Specific items in the tool represent examples of validated measures from researchers in the field, guidance from the federal government’s https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/1is2many/notalone guide to conducting campus climate surveys, and the thinking of both our colleagues at MIT and a consortium of our peer institutions.
We run the EPHCASA survey on an every-third-year basis. This frequency allows us to use one class as an “index class” that is surveyed in both their first and final years. It also enables us to work on a cycle that provides time to analyze data, synthesize the data into new program offerings or protocols, and then hopefully be able to see measurable change from interventions in the following survey cycle(s).