Princeton University Chose Not to Publish the Results of a 2008 Survey on Sexual Assault on Campus

princeton-university-logoIn 2008 Princeton University conducted a survey among nearly 1,600 undergraduate students in order to “establish and quantify the extent to which Princeton University students experience sexual assault.” At the time Princeton did not release the results of its survey. One administrator told the Daily Princetonian that since the results were in line with national surveys they did not see the need to publicize the findings. Now five years later, the university had released some of the data to the student newspaper.

The results show that in 2008, one in every six women at Princeton reported experiencing “non-consensual vaginal penetration” during their time on campus. Of the 809 women in the survey, 120 said that “a man put his penis into my vagina, or someone inserted fingers or objects without my consent.”

Some 28 percent of women students at Princeton said they had been touched in a sexual manner or had their clothes removed without consent. Twelve percent of the women said they were forced to receive or perform oral sex.

In an editorial, the editors of the Daily Princetonian wrote, “The University’s failure to publish the data set is highly irresponsible: The Princeton community deserves and needs to know about the prevalence of sexual assault on campus. Most importantly, publicizing this uncomfortable information both empowers survivors to speak out and increases the efficacy of prevention programs. The Princeton community has a right to know this sort of information, and, in the future, the University should demonstrate a commitment to survivor safety first and reputation second.”

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