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Sexual Assault Report III

The most recent annual report on sexual assault is out. Let’s spend 10 days talking about it! Today is day 3.

She [Meg Bossong ’05] also led the development of the CASA (Community Attitudes about Sexual Assault) survey, which got broad response. The CASA assessed the prevalence of sexual assault, stalking, and relationship violence at Williams as well as the helpfulness and availability of support resources and the community’s understanding of our policies. Nearly 1,400 students completed the extensive survey, and about 200 more answered some of its questions.

Really? I am surprised. A few days after the survey came I asked a dozen students what they thought about it. Not a single one had even bothered to open it! Any student who did open it would have been overwhelmed with the number of questions that it asked. It is shocking (to me) that 1400 students would have spent the 30 (?) minutes that completing this survey would actually require. If I were the Record, I would try to do some reporting on this claim, rather than continuing to serve as stenographer for the Administration. Comments:

1) Below the break is the e-mail announcing the survey.

2) Am I the only one surprised by the 1,400 number? Here (pdf) is the survey. It is 17 pages long! Here is a snippet:


Since you are expected to consider a potentially different answer for each square in this grid, you need to make 60 different judgments for just this one question.

3) This wording smells of puffery. Why tell us “nearly 1,400” instead of providing the actual number? I also have doubts about the distinction between “completed” and “answered some of its questions.” If a student answered every question except that crazy matrix, does that count as “completed” or not? I suspect that there was a lot of “rounding up,” that a student only needed to answer 80% (or 60% or . . .) of questions to count as “completed.”

4) In the spirit of transparency, the Administration ought to make the (aggregate) responses to this survey public. Once it does so, we can all take a look at the data ourselves.

5) None of this should be taken as criticism of Meg Bossong ’05, of whom I am a huge fan. There is no one better than she for the job of Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response at Williams.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Meg Bossong
Date: Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Subject: Eph Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault
To: x

Dear Williams students,

It has been my great privilege to come back to Williams to work on sexual assault prevention and response. One of my key projects since I arrived last spring has been to understand more precisely how sexual violence impacts our community.

Together with the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness working group, we have worked to assemble the Eph Community Attitudes on Sexual Assault survey. I’m writing to ask you to respond to this survey to lend your own voice to our learning on this important issue.

Share your perspective by taking the survey.

Your responses to this survey are anonymous. You can expect it to take between 15-20 minutes to complete.

You may find, during or after the survey, that you want to talk more about the issues raised in it. Confidential support from staff is available 24/7 via Sexual Assault Survivor Services (SASS) at 413-597-3000. Confidential off-campus support is available 24/7 via The Elizabeth Freeman Center at 866-401-2425. Peer support is available 24/7 through RASAN at 413-597-4100.

Thank you,

Meg Bossong ’05
Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response