Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Misconduct

A recent survey of students at The University of New Mexico shows a majority of students believe UNM is doing a good job of educating, preventing and responding to sexual misconduct and assault. However, University leaders recognize more work needs to be done and plan to use the survey results to target future outreach and education efforts. 

The assessment, done by National Campus Climate Survey (NCCS), found nearly 82 percent of students believe UNM takes sexual misconduct complaints seriously. Almost 78 percent said the school is educating students about this issue, and more than 66 percent believe the University is performing well in efforts to prevent sexual assault. About 75 percent of the respondents said UNM is doing a good job of providing services to those who have experienced sexual assault. 

The survey also found nearly 65 percent of students are aware of school policy regarding sexual misconduct, and about half of them said they know where to go to get help on campus. 

“While we are pleased that many students recognize our efforts to reduce sexual assault, we will continue working to get the message out to the whole campus community,” President Bob Frank said. “These results will help us focus on those who may not know how to report or how to get help. Protecting the Pack means reaching 100 percent of our students!"

The NCCS was conducted over a six-week period at the end of the spring 2016 semester. It meets state and federal requirements, and provides scientifically rigorous results to show a statistically accurate representation of how UNM students feel about misconduct of a sexual nature, including harassment, assault, and intimate partner violence. Nearly 30 percent of the 10,000 students contacted participated.  

“We are pleased to get such a good response rate,” Francie Cordova, Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) which contracted the survey. “It’s a chance to hear from our own students, find out what they know and don’t know about sexual violence. We can use this information as a baseline to gauge our effectiveness in training and educating our campus as we move forward.” 

The survey asked questions about sexual activity, then breaks down responses into specific types of sex and whether it or not it was consensual. While about 10 percent of students said they had experienced non-consensual vaginal sex, or rape, over their lifetime, the number fell to 9 percent during enrollment at UNM. Only 41 percent of the respondents said they had told someone about a nonconsensual sexual incident, and only 5 percent made an official report if it happened off campus. Sixty percent of those who did not report the incident said they did not think it was serious enough to report. 

UNM’s Title IX Coordinator Heather Cowan said without a report, her team can’t take action, so they will be stepping up outreach efforts to encourage reporting.  

“We’re especially concerned about the students who have experienced sexual violence but haven’t told anyone else about it; those students are dealing with this potential trauma alone,” said Heather Cowan, UNM’s Title IX Coordinator. “We want our Lobos to get any help they need, whether or not they make an official report to the university.” 

While the problem is daunting, UNM’s survey results are promising when compared to similar questions in a survey of the Association of American Universities (AAU) last year. (UNM is not a member of AAU.) That survey of 150,000 students at 27 public and private universities, including most of the Ivy League, drew a smaller response rate of less than 20 percent. It found that only 24 percent were aware of school policy, less than 30 percent believe their school took complaints seriously, just over 63 percent felt their university responded fairly, and fewer than half felt their school was doing a good job of educating students on the issue. 

The UNM survey highlights a few areas of particular concern. For instance, it found that 23 percent of students reported experiencing intimate partner violence in the past 12 months. University leaders plan to take a close look at the findings to gauge why certain groups might be at higher risk and how to reduce it with additional training or resources. One outreach that appears to be gaining momentum at UNM is students stepping in to prevent sexual misconduct. 65 percent of the respondents indicated they had participated in bystander intervention. 

“We plan to carefully analyze this report to help us focus our work as UNM continues to address this serious issue,” Frank said “Sexual misconduct won’t just go away, and it has a terrible social and emotional cost. Tough as it is, I’m glad we are united in our resolve to improve.”  -- (Diane Anderson, UNM Newsroom, August 18, 2016)

The survey is scientific and completely confidential. An independent firm, SoundRocket (, who is conducting the National Campus Climate Survey - was contracted by the university to administer the questionnaire to 10,000 randomly selected undergraduate and graduate students. Before the results are shared with the University of New Mexico, they will be made anonymous, so that no individuals may be identified uniquely.  Your response to the survey is valuable. More respondents equal higher quality data. Quality data leads to stronger campus response. Stronger campus response promotes a safer and healthier campus.


    • How long does it take to fill out the survey?
      • It should take about 15 minutes to complete the survey.

    • When will the results be available?
      • We expect to get the results over the summer but this is dependent upon the numbers of people completing the survey and the data provided. UNM is reliant upon the National Campus Climate Survey for the results of the survey. UNM intends to make the results public once we receive them.

    • How was I selected for this survey?
      • The National Campus Climate Survey randomly selected 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled currently at UNM main campus.

    • Why should I fill out the survey?
      • The best reason to fill out the survey is to help UNM create programming that meets your needs as a student, to inform UNM and the nation regarding sexual misconduct, sexual violence and gender discrimination and help shape UNM’s response to sexual misconduct. There are also incentives. Everyone who participates in the survey is entered into a raffle to win one of the following prizes: $100 gift card; ten $50 gift cards; a $25 gift card to the UNM Bookstore; 6 T-shirts, 4 UNM sweatshirts and five Lobo Louie bobblehead dolls

    • When will the survey run?
      • The survey opens (opened) April 4, 2016 and data collection will run for 6 weeks afterward.  Those who are selected will receive an invitation, and several reminders (until they complete the survey) during the course of the data collection period.

    • Can I fill it out on my phone?
      • Yes, the survey is mobile-optimized!

    • Will my responses be confidential?
      • One of the reasons UNM is contracting with the National Campus Climate Survey is to ensure confidentiality in the data collection process, and anonymity in the data that we receive. The University does not even know which 10,000 students were selected to answer the survey questions, and will not be provided with names or any other uniquely identifying information for respondents.

    • What will UNM do with the survey responses?
      • After the data is collected and analyzed, UNM officials will use this information to inform our response, prevention and intervention strategies to better serve our campus community. UNM will be as transparent as possible with the results of the survey, without jeopardizing the anonymity of the respondents.

    • I wasn’t selected, but I want to tell UNM things about sexual misconduct, can I get a copy of the survey?
      • In order to maintain the validity of the survey, UNM is not provided with the names of student contacted for the survey and cannot provide copies to those not chosen at random by the survey company. However, UNM has created a separate survey for anyone who would like to provide information related to sexual misconduct. We want everyone to have a voice and hear from everyone. We also want this rigorous study to maintain its validity, therefore, if you get the survey invitation in your email, please fill it out as completely as possible. You may fill out both surveys, if you wish, however, we emphasize that it is best if everyone who receives the invitation to participate in their email completes that main survey. You can access the smaller survey here:

    • I didn’t get my invitation until later in the week, is still valid?
      • There are various methods of sending out emails such as this to a large number recipients in order to minimize the chance that your invitation will be delivered to a spam folder, some students may receive their invitation any day the week of April 4th.  Those who are selected will also receive reminder emails every 4 days or so (if they have not yet completed the survey) over the course of almost three weeks.

    • Who do I contact if I have more questions?
      • You may call the Title IX Coordinator at the Office of Equal Opportunity (505-277-5251 or, the LoboRESPECT Advocacy Center (505-277-2911 or or the Dean of Students office (505-277-3361 or  If you have trouble logging in to the survey, please send an email directly to the National Campus Climate Survey support email at 

    • Where can I learn more about this project?

Spring 2017 Survey Results