Student Campus Climate Survey
Hofstra University is committed to the well-being and safety of all students and the University community, as well as to our well-established procedures on sexual assault prevention and adjudication. Our comprehensive program is designed to protect all members of our community and to provide a full and fair process for adjudicating any complaints that arise.
As a part of that commitment and in compliance with New York State’s Enough is Enough law, Hofstra University conducted a campus climate assessment regarding sexual assault and relationship violence in the spring of 2017, and, most recently, again in the spring of 2019. These assessments are designed to ascertain student experience with and knowledge of sexual assault and relationship violence prevention at Hofstra, including reporting and adjudicatory processes at Hofstra, the Title IX Officer’s role, campus policies addressing sexual assault and relationship violence, the availability of resources on and off campus, the prevalence of misconduct, student bystander attitudes and behaviors, and experiences with reporting via Hofstra’s processes.
The 2019 survey, for which precautionary measures were taken to enhance individual confidentiality and the de-identification of data, was available from February 19 to March 8, 2019. All enrolled Hofstra University students aged 18 or older (9,950 students) were invited to participate via email and various other means. Sixteen percent, or 1,575 students, responded overall.
Although based on the response rate the results of the survey are not generalizable to the entire student body, the results are informative and instructive regarding the climate at Hofstra University relating to sexual violence prevention and response.
Results of the 2019 survey indicated that:
- Students are aware of policies, procedures, and resources (both on and off campus) relating to sexual assault and relationship violence at Hofstra University, including the role of the Title IX Officer and where and how to report incidents. There are also findings to suggest that still more outreach and education is needed to increase awareness in these areas, including among graduate students.
- Most responding students were aware of the definition of affirmative consent;
- Responding students reported a low prevalence of sexual assault and relationship violence at Hofstra;
- Most students would intervene to help a student at risk of sexual misconduct, if safe to do so;
- A relatively modest number of students who experienced sexual misconduct while at Hofstra indicated that they reported the experience to a Hofstra resource; and
- Of those who reported, a majority were at least somewhat or very satisfied with the overall reporting experience.
Hofstra will use these survey results as part of its ongoing efforts to provide students with information and support relating to sexual assault and relationship violence.
The University will conduct the next student climate survey relating to sexual assault and relationship violence in spring 2021.
What is Affirmative Consent?
Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Affirmative Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate consent. The definition of Affirmative Consent does not vary based upon a participant’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
- Affirmative Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any party does not necessarily constitute Affirmative Consent to any other sexual act.
- Affirmative Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Affirmative Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
- Affirmative Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. Students who are charged with initiating sexual activity without consent cannot use as a defense that they themselves were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time they committed the violation.
- Affirmative Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
- When Affirmative Consent is withdrawn, or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.
It is the responsibility of the student who initiates sexual contact to obtain this Affirmative Consent; in other words, to confirm that the person with whom the student is involved has consented to engage in a sexual activity.
Lack of Affirmative Consent exists where the accused knew, or a reasonable person in the position of the accused should have known, of the other person’s inability to consent. For example, there is no Affirmative Consent where the accused knew, or a reasonable person in the position of the accused should have known, that the other individual was unable to make an informed rational judgment due to his or her use of alcohol or other drugs.