Summary of Results
In spring 2017 in accordance with New York State’s Enough is Enough (Article 129-B) legislation, New York Law School (NYLS) administered an inaugural campus climate student survey. This report provides student feedback about the current campus climate concerning sexual misconduct. The survey inquired about unwanted sexual contact and sexual assault; student perceptions surrounding institutional response to sexual misconduct; incidents of sexual misconduct experienced by, observed by, or reported to student survey respondents; and insight into students’ knowledge of applicable policies, services, and resources.
The information gathered from this survey will serve as a valuable resource as NYLS continues its efforts to enhance services and educational programming related to awareness, and prevention of sexual misconduct.
The Associate Dean for Academic Affairs emailed the survey link to 828 enrolled students in the J.D. (Day and Evening Divisions) and LL.M. cohorts during the 2016-17 academic year. The survey opened on April 18, 2017 and closed on May 4, 2017; one email reminder was sent to students. NYLS received a 32% response rate (264 students). The survey was administered in accordance with accepted standards; NYLS solicited responses from active enrolled students across all class years, races and ethnicities, and sexual orientations. With respect to gender identity, 66% of responding students reported they are female; 31% self-reported as male; and 3% self-reported as genderqueer/gender non-conforming, questioning, or declined to state.
All responses were submitted anonymously. Respondents were not compelled to answer every question. The percentages indicated below are based on the number of students who answered a particular survey question.
Key Survey Results
Perceptions of Safety and Law School Responsiveness:
Student sentiment about campus safety was overwhelmingly positive with 97% of respondents either somewhat agreeing or agreeing that they feel safe on campus.
Knowledge of Title IX Policies, Title IX Personnel, and Resources:
The vast majority of responding students (at least 75%) are aware of NYLS’s Sexual Misconduct policies, are aware that NYLS has procedures for dealing with reported incidents of sexual misconduct, and agree with the statement that NYLS provides adequate resources for students going through difficult times.
More than three-fifths of responding students understand the Title IX and Deputy Title IX Coordinators’ roles with respect to complaints of sex- or gender-based misconduct, are aware of the difference between the NYLS Sexual Misconduct Policy and the penal law, and are aware of resources for individuals who experience sexual misconduct. A majority of responding students are aware of how to report sexual misconduct.
Incidents Involving Sexual Misconduct (personally experienced, observed, or informed of):
Students were surveyed about incidents of sexual misconduct they personally experienced, personally observed, or were informed of; 190 students responded to a question about whether such misconduct (experienced or observed/informed of) created an exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, or hostile learning environment at NYLS. Overall, they reported feeling safe on campus. The vast majority (88%) of responding students indicated that they had not experienced, observed, or been informed of instances of sexual harassment, and 95% reported they had not experienced, observed, or been informed of instances of sexual assault at NYLS during the 2016-17 academic year.
Six students indicated they had personal experiences with sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or non-consensual sexual contact.
Reporting Incidents Involving Sexual Misconduct (personally experienced, observed, or informed of):
Of students who responded that they experienced, observed, or heard about sexual misconduct, four indicated that they reported the incident to NYLS faculty or administrators.
Students who did not make a report about sexual misconduct to NYLS administration indicated that their reasons included that the incident did not affect them at the time, that they did not know where to go to make the report, and/or they were unsure of how the report would be viewed.
Bystander Intervention Readiness:
Overall, the vast majority of NYLS students (over 80%) reported that they would take action if prohibited misconduct occurred in their presence. Such action would include:
- Confronting other students who make inappropriate or negative sexually related comments and gestures in their presence to get them to stop
- Reporting when other students engaged in sexually harassing or unwanted behavior in their presence
- Reporting, if aware, that a student used force or pressure to engage in sexual contact with another person
- Agreeing to be interviewed if they witnessed or had information relevant to a sexual misconduct case
The majority of students who participated in the training program reported that the program was “informative” or “very informative” with respect to their understanding of the definition of sexual misconduct (85%), the definition of affirmative consent (84%), how to report sexual misconduct (78%), and how to intervene as a “bystander” to prevent the occurrence of sexual assault against another student (73%).
Assessment and Next Steps
NYLS implemented a new Sexual Misconduct Policy at the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. The policy and training materials were circulated electronically to all students, faculty, and staff. The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator provided in-person trainings related to NYLS’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, Title IX, and the “Enough is Enough” legislation for 1L classes and student leaders. The Title IX Coordinators also arranged for a sexual assault victim services provider to provide bystander intervention trainings for all 1L classes, with introductions provided by student leaders. The Sexual Misconduct Policy, training materials, and videos were circulated to all students electronically and posted to the Student Portal, an internal website accessible to all students.
Results of the survey have been shared with the NYLS senior administration. As with any survey data it collects, NYLS will use information from this survey to enhance its program of education, awareness, prevention, and support as part of its continued efforts to achieve a campus environment that is free of sexual misconduct. Such efforts might include:
- Enhancing outreach to upper-level students on the NYLS Sexual Misconduct Policy and reporting procedures
- Exploring the engagement of additional faculty members, key student leaders, and student ambassadors (male and female) to assist with student orientations and workshops surrounding Title IX issues and mental health
- Reinforcing to faculty and staff the importance of reporting incidents of sexual misconduct (observed or informed of) to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator
- Reviewing the 1L orientation training module and identifying segments where a more interactive format (i.e. break out discussion groups, hypotheticals) can be utilized for purposes of increasing student engagement
- Reviewing and implementing strategies to increase awareness about sexual assault counseling and mental health resources