Low response from McNeese, other universities, on statewide sexual assault survey

Low response from McNeese, other universities, on statewide sexual assault survey
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - This spring, Louisiana conducted its first statewide survey on sexual assault at all the state's public colleges.

The results came back and only 5 percent of college students took the survey - and less than 1,000 students at McNeese completed it.

"Our survey response rate was comparable to the other institutions in the system that took it, so we were still at that four, five percent rate of returns," said Chris Thomas, assistant vice president of university services.

A reason for such a low response is partly because of how long the survey actually was.

"I started it, and I didn't expect it to take me 10 minutes, but I think it was like, 100 questions, and that's not what I expected I was getting," said senior Maggie Mott.

"I think the people that started were a much higher number, but the people that took it all the way to the end - I think was part of the drop off that they had," said Thomas.

Even though the response wasn't what the board was looking for, Thomas sees the value in the results they did gather.

"I'm glad that it exists so now that we got it, let's take this data, let's look at it; let's compare it to national norms; let's look across the campuses and see if we kind of find out of it and then let's look at it and let's try it again," said Thomas.

Which is exactly what the board plans to do next spring with changes to the survey and possible incentives.

Along with those changes, Mott thinks the board should be firmer in what they are doing.

"Say what it's for, and that they're collecting information because they want to improve the health and security of our campus and all of over Louisiana and that it's for a good reason and not for statistics," said Mott.

Despite these results, Thomas wants to make sure that students at McNeese know that there are resources available and people they can talk to about sexual assault.

"Ultimately when it comes down to it, we want McNeese and really the rest of our society, to be as safe as it can be and so, the more information we can gather from people about what they experience, (the better,)" said Thomas. "Then we couple that with different events we're trying to do to share information, then we can create a good system that works to do what we can to end sexual violence."

To find out more resources on McNeese's sexual assault prevention click HERE.

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