Penn State campus climate survey to close on April 22

The University-wide survey, which has been updated based on student feedback, will assess issues of sexual assault, misconduct and harassment

Editor's note: The sexual misconduct climate survey will close on April 22. The survey was sent to a random sample of students at all Penn State campuses; students can check their Penn State email for a link to complete the survey. 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will launch the third University-wide survey of students to gain an understanding of their perceptions, experiences and knowledge of resources related to sexual assault and sexual harassment. The survey is conducted by the Student Affairs Office of Research and Assessment and the results will help guide the University’s ongoing efforts to curb sexual misconduct.  

On April 4, the survey will be emailed to randomly selected students at all Penn State campuses. Approximately 15,000 undergraduates at University Park, along with 4,000 graduate and professional students, and about 1,500 students at each of the larger Penn State campuses, will receive the survey. At smaller campuses, the survey will be sent to all students. 

Students who complete the survey will be entered into a raffle to win a variety of gift cards. However, students’ responses to the survey will remain anonymous, and the names of those who complete the survey won’t be associated with their answers.

This survey will ask students questions about their personal experiences, their perceptions, their knowledge of campus resources, and the behavior of bystanders in relation to sexual misconduct and harassment. It is expected to provide insight into a number of areas, including the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, how comfortable people feel reporting incidents, and the role of alcohol in sexual misconduct.

Penn State worked with students, faculty and staff to gather feedback and make updates to the survey for this administration. Feedback on the 2018 survey was collected in October 2021 through student focus groups and an online form open to anyone in the Penn State community. As the 2022 survey was being developed, the Student Affairs Office of Research and Assessment worked with select student organizations, Student Affairs staff and faculty, and the Coalition to Address Relationship and Sexual Violence to make adjustments.

Some of the adjustments for the 2022 survey administration include:

  • Replacing the question about “biological sex” with a question about what anatomy is appropriate to the student.
  • Updating language around sexual orientation, gender identity, and race identity.
  • Broadening some of the questions around harassment rather than specifying the harassment took place through electronic means.
  • Adding questions in the intimate partner/relationship violence section to include items aimed at identifying emotional abuse as well physical violence.
  • Adding additional items related to the perception of timely warnings.
  • Adding additional items related to why a student did not report sexual misconduct to a non-confidential source.
  • Providing additional reminders throughout the survey to let students know they can take a break and complete the survey later.
  • Adding an open-ended response to gather anything missed by the survey.
  • Linking to additional resources at the beginning and end of the survey.


To view the 2022 survey instrument, visit the Student Affairs Research and Assessment website.

Results from this survey will be released during the fall 2022 semester. Once the results are made available, the Student Affairs Office of Research and Assessment will work with campus stakeholders to provide additional analysis of the data as needed.

This sexual misconduct climate survey came out of a task force that was convened more than three years ago, in which Penn State President Eric J. Barron endorsed 18 recommendations aimed at fighting sexual assault and misconduct on all Penn State campuses. The survey, which will be repeated every three years, is key to understanding the problem, formulating new policies and solutions, and tracking the progress of initiatives aimed at reducing incidents of sexual misconduct on campus. The survey was initially administered in November 2015 and most recently administered in October 2018. To view results from the past surveys, visit the Student Affairs website.

The survey is one part of a comprehensive approach to ongoing efforts aimed at creating a safer campus climate. Other efforts in Penn State’s continued commitment to safety have included a comprehensive review of all Penn State policies and procedures, instituting mandatory employee training, providing more education and awareness training for students and parents, establishing a bystander intervention program, and hosting a University hotline, among others. Most recently, the University has restructured and provided additional resources for Title IX and affirmative action efforts.

Individuals in need of resources regarding sexual misconduct at Penn State are encouraged to visit

For more information on the survey, visit the Student Affairs website