Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, 2010-2015 (ICPSR 36696)

Principal Investigator(s): Association of American Universities


The Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct developed and implemented a scientific survey to better understand the attitudes and experiences of students with respect to sexual assault and sexual misconduct. The survey's primary goal was to provide participating institutions of higher education (IHEs) with information to inform their policies to prevent and respond to sexual assault and misconduct. Specifically, the survey assessed the incidence, prevalence, and characteristics of incidents of sexual assault and misconduct. It also assessed the overall campus climate with respect to perceptions of risk, knowledge of resources available to victims, and perceived reactions to an incident of sexual assault or misconduct. The goal of the study was to provide policymakers with information that could be used to develop programs to prevent sexual violence in the future.

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

    In addition, until June 1, 2018, access to these data is limited to members of the Association of American Universities and Dartmouth University:

    • Boston University
    • Brandeis University
    • Brown University
    • California Institute of Technology
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Case Western Reserve University
    • Columbia University
    • Cornell University
    • Dartmouth University
    • Duke University
    • Emory University
    • Georgia Institute Technology
    • Harvard University
    • Indiana University, Bloomington
    • Iowa State University
    • Johns Hopkins University
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
    • McGill University
    • Michigan State University
    • New York University
    • Northwestern University
    • Ohio State University
    • Pennsylvania State University
    • Princeton University
    • Purdue University
    • Rice University
    • Rutgers University, New Brunswick
    • Stanford University
    • Stony Brook University, State University New York
    • Texas A and M University
    • Tulane University
    • University of Arizona
    • University at Buffalo, State University New York
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • University of California, Irvine
    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of California, San Diego
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
    • University of Chicago
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • University of Florida
    • University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
    • University of Iowa
    • University of Kansas
    • University of Maryland, College Park
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Minnesota Twin Cities
    • University of Missouri, Columbia
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • University of Oregon
    • University of Pennsylvania
    • University of Pittsburgh
    • University of Rochester
    • University of Southern California
    • University of Texas at Austin
    • University of Toronto
    • University of Virginia
    • University of Washington
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Vanderbilt University
    • Washington University in St. Louis
    • Yale University

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Campus Climate Survey
No downloadable data files available.
DS2:  Campus Climate Survey Weights
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description


Association of American Universities. Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, 2010-2015. ICPSR36696-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-06-02.

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This study was funded by:

  • Association of American Universities

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    college students, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, universities

Smallest Geographic Unit:    State

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 2010--2015

Date of Collection:   

  • 2015-04--2015-05

Unit of Observation:    Individual

Universe:    Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students of 27 institutions of higher education.

Data Type(s):    survey data


Study Purpose:    The Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct was designed to collect a significant amount of detail on a wide range of victimizations, including harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence (IPV), and various forms of nonconsensual sexual contact (NSC). This involved asking respondents not only about the occurrence of particular types of victimization, but also for incident-level details about what happened.

Study Design:   

The Association of American Universities (AAU) contracted with Westat, a research firm, to work with a university team of researchers and administrators to design and implement the survey. The survey was developed by a group of researchers, program administrators, and methodologists from the participating institutes of higher education (IHEs) and the Westat Team. The design team started with the survey instrument developed by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault and adapted the design around the informational needs of the participating IHEs. When asking about sexual assault and sexual misconduct, the questions used descriptions of specific types of behaviors and tactics that constitute sexual assault and misconduct. Words such as "rape" and "assault" were specifically avoided so that respondents would use a set of uniform definitions when reporting on the types of events that were of interest.

During a 4-month period, comments from participating IHEs were reviewed, two rounds of cognitive interviews were conducted and pilot administrations were conducted at four participating IHEs. The survey was then administered at the 27 participating IHEs. For 26 of the 27 schools, all enrolled undergraduates, graduate, and professional students 18 years and older were asked to participate.

Sample:    In total 27 institutes of higher learning were sampled. Of the schools sampled most schools observed a 3-week field period, with three email requests sent out asking for student participation. To encourage participation, students were offered a variety of incentives. In 18 schools, students were either entered into a drawing or offered a $5 incentive to complete the survey. Some schools offered a variation on this basic design. Other schools offered an incentive to all students, while a few offered no incentive. For 26 of the 27 schools, all enrolled undergraduates, graduate, and professional students 18 years and older were asked to participate. The sample size was 779,170. Of the total sample, 196,984 clicked on the link to the survey. Of those who clicked on the link, 169,486 started the survey.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    The data contain a final calibrated weight variable and 60 replicate weight variables. The data were weighted to adjust for differential nonresponse among the institutions of higher education. A second data file contains replicate weight factors for use with survey procedures that utilize replicate weights for variance estimation. In addition each estimate is accompanied by a standard error. The standard errors were calculated using the jackknife replication. This accounts for the weighting procedures and a finite correction factor.

Mode of Data Collection:    web-based survey

Data Source:

Association of American Universities

Description of Variables:    The survey structure is made up of 10 sections (A-J). A core set of 53 questions was asked of every respondent, including Background (A), Perceptions of Risk (B), Resources (C), Harassment (D), Stalking (E), Sexual Violence (G), Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training (H), Perceptions of Responses to Reporting (I), and Bystander Behavior (J). Questions regarding Sexual Misconduct Prevention Training (H) were asked of students who had enrolled in the university in 2014 or 2015. Respondents in a partnered relationship or who had been in a partnered relationship since enrolling at the university were asked questions about Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence (F). Additional questions were administered if respondents reported being a victim of one of the types of violence covered on the survey. For Harassment, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence/Domestic Violence (sections D, E and F), follow-up questions were asked for each type of misconduct. These follow-up questions collected information across all reported incidents for each form of victimization.

Response Rates:    The sample size was 779,170. The final response rate of this sample was 19.3 percent. This rate varied by gender (males 15.6%, females 22.9%) and enrollment status (17.4% undergraduates, 23.2% graduate/professional). The difference between the incentive and the non-incentive conditions was approximately 9 percentage points (25.8% vs. 16.5%). Private institutes of higher education (IHEs) had a response rate of 34.2 percent and public IHEs had a response rate of 16.5 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   

The AAU in some instances uses preexisting scales. Specifically the AAU survey measure of sexual harassment used portions of the Leskinen and Cortina (2014) scale representing each of the major dimensions they describe: 1) sexist remarks, 2) sexually crude/offensive behavior, 3) infantilization, 4) work/family policing, and 5) gender policing.

Also several Likert-type scales were used to reflect items that range from

  1. Not at all to Extremely
  2. 0 times to 10 or more times
  3. 1 time to 4 or more times
  4. Excellent to poor

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2017-06-02


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