University of Minnesota survey reports increase in sexual assaults among undergrad women

A new survey is shedding some light on what’s happening on the University of Minnesota campus when it comes to sexual assaults and misconduct. The findings will help provide a roadmap on where the Twin Cities campus goes next on raising awareness.

“To me it’s really important that they’re actually asking these questions,” said Elias Freberg, a junior at the university.

U of M students received an email in their inbox Tuesday morning from the university president. The message shared the results of a survey 13,000 students took part in earlier this year, which focused on sexual assault and sexual harassment on campus.

“Having that data that represents our student body is just going to allow us to be that much more informed when it comes to what our students are experiencing,” said U of M Spokesman Steve Henneberry.

One finding is that reports of sexual assault are up among undergrad women. According to the results, 25 percent say they were assaulted, which is up two percent from when the survey was first done in 2015.

“I think it’s fair to say there are still too many U of M students who are being assaulted and experiencing forms of misconduct,” said Henneberry.

Students say it’s on their radar.

“I think more people are aware, and even my guy friends are more aware now, and just talking about it helps,” said Mary Larson, a U of M senior.

Another key finding: more students are stepping in when something’s not right.

“I think it was three out of four students who witnessed something concerning were actually doing something about it,” said Henneberry.

That’s something the university says they’ve been working on to teach students about and students want to see the conversation continue.

“I think keep talking about it and keep making it something that’s communicated because if it’s not talked about then it’s pushed aside,” said Larson.

The university says there’s still a lot of data to dig through, but in the coming weeks they will be focusing in on some of the findings to figure out what might need to be changed with their policies and how they deal with sexual assaults on campus.