The results of Michigan State University’s latest Know More @ MSU Campus Survey are in, and the data shows that there have been significant improvements in student, staff and faculty experiences with relationship violence and sexual misconduct, or RVSM.
Feedback from over 11,500 participants indicates positive growth since the 2019 survey, including a decrease in the prevalence of sexual assault, sexual harassment and workplace incivility, an improvement in most measures of climate and culture and an increase in overall awareness of various RVSM trainings and policies.
“We know there is work to still be done. However, the data does show positive indications of our efforts these past few years to address assaults and harassments on campus and supporting the need to continue education and outreach efforts,” said Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D., interim president of MSU. “We plan to continue the momentum in providing initiatives that improve our campus culture.”
The Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Expert Advisory Workgroup, which is leading MSU’s survey initiative, recommended a new survey after identifying a need for more and richer data to inform prevention programming, policy development, resource provision and culture change on campus. From there, the workgroup partnered with RTI International, the independent nonprofit research firm developed and administered the Know More campus survey to focus not only on the experiences of students but of faculty and staff in one place — a first-of-its-kind-approach.
This second iteration of this survey assessed the experiences of students, staff and faculty with RVSM, workplace incivility, help-seeking, and perceived climate for the 2021-2022 academic year.
“What we learned from the 2019 survey was invaluable, and we used indicators from it to focus our efforts outlined in the RVSM Strategic Plan,” said Rebecca Campbell, professor of psychology, co-chair of the RVSM Workgroup and advisor to the president. “Similarly, we intend to use these new results to understand where there are gaps and build solutions that fit the unique needs of the campus community.”
One gap is the alarming rate in which members of individual communities within the LGBTQIA+ community are victimized. For example, over 72% of undergraduate transgender and nonbinary students and over 21% of transgender and nonbinary faculty and staff experienced sexual harassment.
“We know that transgender and nonbinary students are often targeted for abuse at higher rates than other students and may not know about or feel trusting of programs offering support services,” said Carrie Moylan, associate professor in the College of Social Sciences and RVSM Workgroup member. “Over the next semester, it will be our goal to focus on building specialized resources and prevention methods centering these identities.”
To further engage campus community members, the RVSM Workgroup plans to host a series of informational sessions throughout the semester. More information is expected to be released next month.
If you or anyone you know has experienced harm, please visit supportmore.msu.edu to connect with on-campus support services and additional resources.