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Friday, March 31, 2023

UF is seeking students’ input on how to end sexual assault and misconduct on campus.

On Monday, UF students received an email from UF President Kent Fuchs to complete a Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct.

The survey will be open until May 10, and the results will be used to recommend changes to UF’s policies related to sexual assault and misconduct, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando wrote in an email.

The survey asks questions about students’ knowledge of on-campus resources, of what sexual assault is and their thoughts on how problematic sexual assault is on campus.

The survey was first and last administered at UF in 2015, Orlando said. The overall response rate was 17 percent.

Orlando said UF officials have been encouraged by the early responses to the new survey, but would not give an exact number to ensure students continue responding.

The Association of American Universities is conducting the survey, the association’s spokesperson Pedro Ribeiro wrote in an email.

UF officials decided to participate in the survey to proactively prevent sexual assault on campus, Orlando said.

In 2017, there were 17 reported rapes and two reported fondling incidents on campus, according to a University Police Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. In 2016, there were 22 reported rapes and three reported fondling incidents on campus.

A date has not been set for the next survey, but it will not happen before 2023 so that the universities have time to make effective use of the data, Ribeiro said.

Thirty-three universities are participating in the study, Ribeiro wrote. Other universities include the University of Arizona, Boston University and Stanford University.

“University leaders want to make their campuses safe places for students to learn and succeed, and they can’t do that without hearing from their students and the campus community,” Ribeiro said. “

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Tess Gaynor, a 19-year-old UF elementary education sophomore, said she thinks the survey is not effective.

“I think it’s good that they’re acknowledging that it’s a problem,” Gaynor said. “But at the end of the day, it’s just a survey that no one fills out.”

Gaynor said a better solution would be to add more blue light emergency phones around campus.

Blue light phones provide students with direct contact to University Police, according to the UF website. Although there are phones spread throughout the campus, a UF map shows that there are none on Fraternity Drive.

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