Title IX survey results will shape future efforts


Photo by Maryam Tunio

Photo by Maryam Tunio/maryam.tunio@marquette.edu

A voluntary Title IX survey hoping to aid in amending sexual assault prevention and education programs, is receiving a significant amount of responses from students.

The content of the survey ranges from questions about how inclusive students feel on campus to questions regarding sexual assault. It was jointly administered by Emily Schumacher-Novak, coordinator of Advocacy Services and Sexual Violence Prevention and Education and Title IX Coordinator Christine Harris Taylor.

“The more students who participate, the more we will learn that can help us take on this issue in a meaningful way,” said Schumacher-Novak, in the email containing the survey.

Though it is referred to as a “Climate Survey” in the email that arrived earlier in January, the survey is not linked to the campus-wide Climate Survey conducted in 2015.

Taylor said the survey will be used to shape prevention and education programs. She puts emphasis on collecting a data-driven body of research to change the culture of sexual violence.

Taylor also said she hopes the results will shed light on the impact and shortcomings of the university’s advocacy services. The survey will extract information on how informed students are about sexual violence prevention on campus.

“We know that sexual violence is an under-reported issue nationwide,” Taylor said in an email. “(The) anonymous nature of this survey might give us additional insight into the number of people who have experienced sexual violence.”

Though the total count of students surveyed has not yet been tallied, Taylor said the initial response was good.

“Assessment and data gathering is a critical part of that and we have always sought student input in a variety of ways,” Taylor said. “This is just another avenue for gathering that input.”

Schumacher-Novak said the survey and time window for participating in it was determined through approval from a university review board. There was also strategy behind making the survey voluntary.

“We were hoping that students would feel freedom to respond openly and honestly if there was no compulsory element to it,” Schumacher-Novak said. “Additionally, to incentivize the survey would require students to fill out an additional form that requires their names and, while we would not link their names to their survey responses, this could reduce the feeling of anonymity.”

Taylor was selected to become Marquette’s Title IX coordinator in May 2015. She took over the role after Marya Leatherwood vacated the position to become interim vice president for student affairs. Taylor spent almost 10 years at Marquette working as director and associate adjunct professor for the graduate program in dispute resolution.

Title IX works to prevent sex-based discrimination in education and removes obstacles preventing someone from pursuing a profession because of their sex. It was implemented as part of the 1972 United States Educational Amendments.