Sexual assault survey is encouraging turning point

Until April 27, students on Carnegie Mellon's Pittsburgh campus have the chance to give feedback on their perception and experiences with sexual assault and relationship violence (SARV) on campus and how the university can better prevent it.

The survey, a result of extensive collaboration between the Office of Student Life, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Office of General Counsel, and the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis, marks the first major effort to gauge not only the numbers behind SARV, but the sentiment.

Coordinator of Gender Programming and Sexual Violence Jess Klein has been instrumental in this effort, as well as the extended survivor support network. This survey is an important landmark in the campus's fight to address SARV and spread prevention awareness.

Not only does it individualize the questions to make every student's experience unique, but it will come with content warnings and a constant reminder that, should students be emotionally affected by the content, they have many resources on campus. The survey will provide a comprehensive list of these resources and where to find them.

The Tartan sees great potential for the rollout of this survey, the data that will come from it, and most importantly, the watershed moment it represents for Carnegie Mellon.

Though the university has not always had the best reputation for handling issues of SARV on campus (think the Beta Theta Pi and a Title IX complaint last year), it seems the university is making great strides to change the way SARV issues are handled on campus.

The Tartan staff will be participating in this survey, and urges students all across campus to do so as well. To provide better data to administration and faculty, honest feedback is important from the student body. Campus-wide participation and accurate feedback have the potential to improve SARV policies in a way that current data, such as information compiled in the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, cannot.

In addition, next fall, when the results from the survey come out, it will be important for the administration to act thoughtfully with the gathered data and to encourage student participation in the survivor support network and other SARV initiatives. We must join together as a campus to work to make Carnegie Mellon a safer place.