Student Climate Survey FAQs

March 11th, 2015

We have launch a survey of students to answer the following questions: How often does sexual violence happen on campus? When it does happen, what are the consequences and to whom do students turn for help and support?  What do students know about sexual violence and the resources available to prevent, counsel, and support those who experience sexual violence? How do students feel about BU’s response to sexual violence?

Answers to these questions will help BU provide better support for people who have experienced sexual violence develop policies and prevention tools to reduce the frequency of sexual violence in our community and gauge the campus climate regarding sexual misconduct among students.

The following are frequently asked questions about the Boston University Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct (Speak Up BU):

A. The survey is a set of questions asked of all degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students and CELOP students to assess both sexual misconduct occurring in the campus community and perceptions of the campus climate, including leadership, policies and resources.

A. Gathering student perspectives on their experiences related to sexual misconduct helps us understand what currently works and what needs to be improved. As it relates to this subject, improvement occurs when we openly solicit candid and confidential feedback from all critical stakeholders—you the students—and act upon this feedback.

A. The survey asks about knowledge and perceptions of sexual misconduct on campus, nonconsensual sex, interpersonal violence, education and prevention relating to sexual misconduct, and campus resources.

A. We are committed to ensuring a safe, healthy, and nondiscriminatory environment for our students. Learning about the experiences of students and the degree to which students feel safe and respected will help us better understand how to prevent sexual misconduct and assist all students.

A. Some of the questions in the survey use explicit language, including anatomical names of body parts and specific behaviors, to ask about sexual situations. This survey also asks about sexual misconduct – including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and intimate partner violence – which may be upsetting. This approach to questions is consistent with national surveys on this topic and is designed to get the best possible data. Participants may skip any question that they do not want to answer, or stop participation at any time.

A. Yes. Your responses are important in assessing the overall climate.

A. Yes. You are part of and spend time within the BU campus community and your responses are important in assessing the overall climate.

A. Yes. The purpose of the survey is to get candid feedback. Once submitted, your responses will be confidential. Data from the survey will be reported in the aggregate and not by individual responses. Students will not be asked to provide their names or student ID numbers on the survey.

A. Answers to the survey questions will help BU develop policies, education programs and prevention tools to provide better support systems for people who have experienced sexual violence.

A. We will release a summary of the results of the survey once the data have been analyzed. Data from the survey will be reported in the aggregate and not by individual responses.

A. Should any questions, concerns or suggestions arise regarding the survey and/or the survey process, please do not hesitate to contact the Dean of Students Office at or 617/353-4126.

A. You can contact BU’s Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) at 617-353-SARP (7277). SARP’s website ( and the University’s safety website ( each have a list of other on- and off-campus resources.
In addition, on each page of the survey, you will see a link at the bottom of the page that will take you to a list of on- and off-campus resources. If you are taking the survey on a non-mobile device, you will also see the following icon:

Help and Resources
If you hover over that icon, you will see a number of on- and off-campus resources.

(For a life-threatening emergency, please contact Boston University Police at 617-353-2121 or dial 911.)

You can call BU’s Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) at 617-353-SARP(7277) for help. On SARP’s website ( on the right side of the homepage, you will find a list of other on- and off-campus resources for survivors.

A. In July 2014, President Robert A. Brown established the Sexual Misconduct Climate Survey Task Force and tasked it to prepare and conduct the survey. Co-chaired by Peter Fiedler (Vice President for Administrative Services) and Kenneth Elmore (Dean of Students), the task force includes faculty and administrators with subject matter, surveying, and/or Title IX compliance expertise. The task force reviewed other institutions’ climate surveys and federal guidelines (, developed survey questions unique to BU, and communicated about the survey to students, faculty, and staff. The task force solicited student input on the survey instrument and made adjustments according to student feedback before creating the final version.

A. Yes. You took the survey to help us make adjustments and no data were collected or analyzed.

A. No. As the purpose of the survey is to inform and develop University policy about sexual and physical violence, not to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge, it does not meet the definition of human subjects research requiring IRB review.

A. The Boston University Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct (Speak Up BU) is focused in three areas:
Prevalence – A series of questions aimed at gathering data related to the frequency with which students experience forms of sexual violence including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Campus Climate and Perceptions – A series of belief statements designed to assess students’ attitudes about the campus atmosphere regarding sexual violence and students’ knowledge and use of the University’s policies and procedures related to sexual violence.
Bystander Attitudes and Beliefs – A series of questions used to help the University understand students’ perception of their role in prevention and intervention of sexual violence.

A. Students who piloted the survey took 8-15 minutes to complete it.

A. Understanding the beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of Boston University students is vital to how the University functions. We need to hear from students in order to address concerns and reinforce successes. Additionally, the more students who complete the survey, the more accurate picture of the campus climate will result.

A. Yes, participation is voluntary.

A. The survey will be available March 18, 2015 to March 31, 2015. On March 18, students will receive an e-mail invitation to participate in the survey. Once the survey link in the email is clicked, students will directly enter the survey.

A student may take the survey at any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on any computer or mobile device. Internet access is required.

A. Yes. You can come back to the survey at any time before the close of the survey period. Simply click on the link in your original email.

A. Contact the Dean of Students Office at or 617-353-4126.

A. The results from the survey will provide the University with climate, prevalence and student perception information allowing for benchmarking and planning. We will use the survey data to explore new ways to support student success and assist the University in fulfilling its mission. A summary of the survey results will be shared with the Boston University community.

A. Email and we will send a link. Links are anonymous and can only be used once.

As a thank you for sharing your responses, we will make a donation to one of the following organizations:
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC);
Boston Medical Center Domestic Violence Program ;
GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project ;
Victim Rights Law Center

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