Campus sexual assault study finds 21 percent of female undergraduates have been victims

Campus climate surveys reveal that sexual assault and rape on some college campuses continue at a high rate.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week that a new study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice including students on nine campuses, found that 21 percent of female undergraduates reported having been sexually assaulted since starting college.

On one campus, that proportion was as high as 38 percent.

The report was prepared using federal funds provided by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice, and conducted in consort with the firm RTI International.

The survey, which grew out of work done by a White House task force formed in 2014 on sexual assault, also found that about 10 percent of of female undergraduates reported being sexually assaulted during the 2014-15 academic year and 4 percent said they were raped during the same period. The Chronicle reported that the rates of sexual assault of female undergraduates during that school year ranged from 4 to 20 percent.

Results of this latest study mirrors in some areas the results of a much larger study by Association of American Universities, done on college campuses and released earlier this year to say that more than 20 percent of female undergraduates at an array of prominent universities report having been victims of sexual assault and misconduct.

In the last few years colleges and universities in Missouri and Kansas have said they have seen the number of sexual assault cases on their campuses increase. Schools such as University of Kansas and University of Missouri attribute the increase to improved policies on sexual assault and education among students on where and how to report sexual violence. Changes on how campuses handle sexual assault has been in the national spotlight since a New York Times report in 2011 that 1 in 5 women experience sexual assault while in college.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc