WSA Survey Results on Frats and Sexual Assault Released

Safety of fraternity spaces on campus, relative to other spaces:

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19% say fraternity spaces are safer
31% say fraternity spaces are equally safe
47% say fraternity spaces are less safe

On April 18, the WSA sent out an all-campus email asking for student opinions about Greek life, safety, and gender equality. From April 18 to April 21, the WSA collected data. Within that time, there were 796 responses, which were close to representative of campus in terms of gender, class year, and Greek membership. A comprehensive breakdown of the survey are available here, on the WSA blog. The full set of survey results, complete with the number of people who answered each question and the questions asked, is available here: Sexual Assault and Greek Life Survey Results.

While I will be posting an FAQ post explaining Resolution B and the related resolutions later today, a few interesting excerpts of this right now, presented without comment: 

Of the 47% of people who say that fraternity spaces are less safe (above), 81% say that coeducation would make those spaces safer.

Other-Image59% of female, trans*, and gender-nonconforming students say that coeducation would make the spaces safer (versus 29% who say no change, and 9% who say less safe)

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These numbers are almost the same for cis males not in Greek life: 54% say coeducation would make spaces safer, 31% said no change, 12% said less safe

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Among cis males in Greek life, however, 18% said that coeducation would make the spaces safer, 54% said there would be no change, and 26% said they would be less safe

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I’ll include a more nuanced discussion of this, hopefully later today. Again, for those who wish to look at the date more, check the WSA blog or the full survey results here: Sexual Assault and Greek Life Survey Results.

  • matt10023

    Those people calling for the elimination of single sex frats based on how people “feel” rather than data of actual harm forget that there has been a long campaign to vilify fraternities which shapes perception.

    The notorious “rape guide” on an anonymous chat site at Dartmouth was written by an unaffiliated Freshman. And yet people still blamed the fraternities.

    Yes there’s bad behavior at fraternities, but a review of sexual assault statistics indicates that assault happens in dorms and off campus too.

    Since dorms are not an easy target, concerns about sexual assault focus on the fraternities. Just get rid of fraternities, and we can all gather together and sing Kumbayah. Were it that easy…..

    Most quantitative surveys indicate that drinking and drug use are the leading risk factor. Schools that have eliminated fraternities alone did not reduce their issues with sexual assault. They just moved the location where high risk behaviors happened.

  • Just Saying

    This e-mail really reflects a lot of wrong with the WSA lately. Though the effort and sentiment are behind this poll are noted, the results and they story the tell cannot be treated like facts.

    This whole poll is subject to the bias of having a voluntary survey. Basically voluntary surveys tend to attract those who are the most passionate about the issue. In this case we have a group of people who feel very strongly (but not necessarily correctly) that single gender nature of fraternities leads to rape culture and sexual assault on campus. However, the only group of people this truly offends and makes want to seek out the poll is the greek community members and their close friends. The fact that this poll is being presented as a fair representation of the whole student body is a joke.

    Read a book for once WSA

    • pyrotechnics

      Maybe this is just me, but I would care if 400 students told me that they feel unsafe in my space. I don’t really give a shit if the rest don’t feel the same way. If that many people are going out of their way to tell me they don’t feel safe, then I have a problem that I need to address. End of story.

      • Back to the point

        There’s a big difference between feeling unsafe and actually being unsafe which is the point that no one wants to go after. These 400 people are expressing that they feel less safe at fraternities merely because they believe that fraternities perpetuate rape culture.

        Far be it from my intention to make people who don’t feel safe at fraternities feel as if they’re being attacked. Instead I am saying that it is my belief that I’m entitled too that they are misguided in their identifying the causes of sexual assault.

        As for the original post, complaining about the rights of 400 people to feel unsafe doesn’t get away from the fact that is shouldn’t be construed as the views of the whole student body. Get a god damn tissue and deal with the fact that the views of the whole community deserve representation regardless of if they’re positive or negative. You’re not entitled to priority because you feel unsafe in a space that’s actually not different.

        • Stop bitching w/o suggestions

          i don’t think you can draw conclusions based on this data about why people felt unsafe – all that is known is that they do feel unsafe, and I feel like that warrants attention.

          What methods would you recommend be used to gather the views of the whole student body? If an 800-person survey that is nearly representative of campus in terms of gender (there probably could have been about 20 or 25 more males), class year, and Greek membership is not enough, what else should people looking for data do? Go door-to-door to talk to 3100 people? I would assume that people often aren’t home, or don’t want to answer questions to a random person. Ask every person at usdan? Then you miss out on upperclassmen / the whole school is already out of points and who goes to usdan anyway? Have open forums? There were like 6 of them.

          I’m just curious how anyone could get more representation than they already have. I feel like if people haven’t filled out surveys or gone to these angry rantfest meetings, that’s kind of their fault. In terms of positive or negative opinions getting represented – I think the survey results (and BZOD’s post about them) both convey both sides without comment. How is that privileging the negative side?

        • wow

          Get a god damn tissue??

      • Also

        Also, back to your 400 people argument, there’s actually only about 130 people who feel much less safe at fraternities and 100 who feel much safer. This presentation ignores the level of opinions offered in the poll. Classic WSA and it’s president messing with the public power of the WSA to influence opinion in the favor of their personal views.

        • .

          I’m pretty sure the graphs express that. When summary statistics are presented, they often bin multiple categories together for the sake of simplicity. Anyone who is feeling duped by these statistics can refer to the graphs immediately underneath it…also, this article has a link to the full 22-page pdf that has no summary statistics.

    • Reads MANY BOOKS!

      The thing about “those who are the most passionate about the issue” is that they are the people who most need, in my opinion, to be heard. I don’t really care all that much about people who have a low level of conviction that Greek life is damaging, or wonderful, to campus, so if they fail to fill out a survey that 800 of their peers filled out, fine. If the majority of the people who care enough about this topic find that Greek life is damaging to campus, that’s important to listen to.

      In the course of this debate, people have said this survey is invalid (because of voluntary response bias), that anecdotal evidence is invalid (because it’s anecdotal), and that national data and academic theory about sexual assault are invalid (because they’re not specifically about Wesleyan). Tell me – what ARE we allowed to use as evidence in this discussion? Or can we just all return to examining the evidence we have with a grain of salt?

      • Bam

        http://nypost.com/2014/04/18/sex-booze-and-quotas-the-troubles-at-dartmouth/

        Your move hotshot, lets get transparent with this shit

        • Reads MANY BOOKS

          Great! Honestly, with no sarcasm, thank you for introducing another perspective that can be talked about. Thank you for introducing a voice that doesn’t just try to invalidate data or shit on the WSA.

          But really, “your move hotshot, let’s get transparent with this shit?” Please tell me – who was hiding this data from transparency? The only side arguing that we shouldn’t respect all available data, opinions, and articles is the side that wants to protect fraternities at all costs. And when did this get so aggressive? “Bam”? Are we in fourth grade?

          Also, to talk about this article that you link to – okay, so, a conservative woman posted that getting rid of fraternities won’t completely solve sexual assault (an issue which she insinuates is partially women waking up and regretting what happened the night before) and binge drinking. That is FACT. No one has said that changing the Greek structure at Wesleyan will completely eradicate sexual assault. This Wesleying article introduces OTHER FACTS – namely, that more than 50% of non-fraternity students who filled out a survey felt less safe there, and even more if you look at students who aren’t male. Your article, so artfully and respectfully delivered, does not negate that.

        • wtflol

          “The promiscuous culture rampant on university campuses leads to a coarser atmosphere and diminished happiness.
          There was a time in American education when educators felt comfortable in passing along moral values to the young.”

          lol GRANDPA get off wesleying!!!

  • What?

    If 47% of students consider fraternities unsafe, why do they go to parties there?

    • BZOD

      For the record, this survey includes no information about whether people attend events at fraternities.

    • just saying…

      maybe they wanna support a friend who’s DJing/singing/etc. there that night? maybe they wanna dance (there can be pretty great music there) and have fun? maybe they didn’t think it was unsafe for a long time, then they or a friend were sexually harassed? maybe the people who party at frats, to whom nothing bad has happened, just didn’t fill out the survey? a ton of possible reasons…

  • worried

    would someone from that 26% of frat bros like to explain why allowing women into your spaces would make them less safe?

    • M ’15

      genuinely curious too!

      • fratbro

        I feel less safe whenever I am coerced into making decisions as opposed to being able to make decisions on the basis of mutual consent.

        -frat bro

        • survivor

          Wow, that is a great co-opting of sexual assault language. Jesus.

        • pyrotechnics

          By which you mean you feel uncomfortable with being asked to confront your own immense privilege. Perhaps you should take a moment to consider the discomfort experienced daily by the many members of this community who do not share your immense privilege and get trampled over, shamed, and outright ignored by people like you EVERY DAY.

          The cavalier nature with which you just tried to compare your (still privileged) position in this debate to the fundamentally dehumanizing, intimately invasive, and wholly criminal violation of an individual’s own body–sexual assault–demonstrates precisely how little you know or care about sexual violence.

          As a moderator, I should really take your comment down because it is extremely triggering to survivors and borders on hate speech. But I am going to leave it up as a testament to how far our community still has to go.

          • Realtalk

            While the language was subpar, I think “fratbro’s” point was that these fraternities might be more open to co-education without an ultimatum and coercive threat, which is what the WSA has at least proposed. It’s honestly not that unreasonable to have that perspective, regardless of whether you construe that as not confronting privilege. I think we can all agree that no one likes to be told what to do, and that no one feels safe when they are forced to do something. Don’t think this borders on hate speech, but it was a bit insensitive and could have been conveyed differently and in a more productive manner.

        • M ’15

          @fratbro – i think i understand what you’re trying to say, but i’m more (still genuinely) curious as to how the actual presence of females within your fraternity will make it a less safe space/environment