Columbia released two critical sets of aggregate data regarding sexual assault on campus Monday in an email from University President Lee Bollinger, one of which confirms that one in four female undergraduates report experiencing sexual assault during their time in college.
The email released the second annual Report on Gender-Based Misconduct Prevention and Response at Columbia, which provides anonymized aggregate data of reported violations and outcomes of the gender-based misconduct policy during the 2014-15 academic year.
The email also released the results specific to Columbia of the American Association of Universities' Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct.
The AAU survey found that 24.4% of undergraduate female seniors at Columbia reported experiencing sexual assault since beginning college, compared to 26.1% across the 27 universities that participated in the national survey, which Spectator reported on Sunday.
This indicates that about one in four female undergraduates, both at Columbia and nationally, experience some form of sexual assault during their college years, a figure that is higher than the widely cited—and commonly disputed—statistic that “one in five” females undergraduates are sexually assaulted.
“Its core data confirm our understanding that sexual harassment and assault take place at unacceptable rates and cause harm both to individuals and to our community,” Bollinger said in the email. “As members of a university community, each of us must recognize this happens in our midst, act to prevent it, and provide support when incidents occur.”
Notably, the aggregate data on Columbia's Office of Gender-Based Misconduct notes that of the five students who in the past year were found responsible for non-consensual sexual intercourse—the most severe degree of sexual assault— two received expulsions and three received suspensions.
Two suspensions were also issued for cases in which a respondent was found responsible for non-consensual sexual contact, a term that includes a range of intentional sexual touching.
This release of data comes after the passage of a New York state law, “Enough is Enough,” which mandates that all private and public universities in the state must report this breakdown of punishments to the state Department of Education every year.
Student activists first began requesting information on what sanctions were given to students found responsible for gender-based misconduct in fall 2013, when the Columbia University Democrats collected over 1,000 signatures on a petition for the University to release this aggregate data.
Check back for updates and further analysis on both data sets throughout the day.