About 630 undergraduates, 30 percent of the student body, responded to the survey, whose findings were released this week. Fifty-one said they had been sexually assaulted, most of them by someone they knew during their first year on campus. About 80 percent of the alleged assailants had been drinking alcohol while 75 percent of the victims had consumed alcohol, according to the survey, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The anonymous online survey was conducted between Feb. 16 and March 13. Because the study did not use a random sample, it is difficult to draw conclusions from it, Occidental administrators cautioned, according to The Times.
Some politicians and sexual assault awareness advocates have cited a study that showed 1 in 5 female college students are attacked, although some academics say that number is unreliable because of the scope of the original study.
Caroline Heldman, an Occidental political science professor who has been critical of the school’s sexual assault investigations and policies, called the survey flawed.
School “administrators have once again ignored faculty experts on campus who are active in efforts to develop better measures of sexual assault,” she told The Times.
Occidental was one of 57 colleges or universities that participated in the survey, which was conducted by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, a nonprofit based in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
—City News Service
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