HEDS Sexual Assault Climate Survey 2019

In February 2019, Colgate participated in the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium’s Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey.


This page contains descriptive language of sexual assault and other gender-based violence that may be triggering to survivors and others.

In February 2019, Colgate administered the Higher Education Data Sharing (HEDS) Consortium’s Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey for the second time. We wanted to learn our students’ perceptions of Colgate’s climate for unwanted sexual contact and sexual assault, how Colgate responds to sexual assaults, and whether and how often they have experienced unwanted sexual contact or sexual assault. We are sharing the results in order to engage the campus community in informed discussion about how to address this complex and difficult issue. 

This page shares a summary of the survey results. You may review the full data set here. You may also review the results to the 2015 survey administration.

On This Page...


Survey Information

Timing, Distribution Method, and Scope

  • Administered electronically to all students February 5, 2019 - February 24, 2019
  • Responses were anonymous
  • All demographic information was voluntarily self-reported; therefore, not all counts add up to total who responded.
  • Women are overrepresented in the sample (82%)
  • Not a random sample, so it is difficult to generalize to our undergraduate population; the purpose of the survey was rather to inform about respondents’ experiences and perceptions

Response Rate

  • 422 students = 14.4% of Colgate students
Class year breakdown
Senior 23.7%
(100 Students)
Junior 17.8%
(75 Students)
Sophomore 26.1%
(110 Students)
First Year 32.0%
(135 Students)
Graduate/Other 0.2%
(1 Student)
No response 0.2%
(1 Student)


Gender breakdown
Men Women Nonbinary No response
(70 Students)
(347 Students)
(3 Students)
(2 Students)
Race/ethnicity breakdown
American Indian or Alaska Native #
Asian 4.3%
(18 Students)
Black or African American 1.4%
(6 Students)
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander #
White 78.0%
(329 Students)
Hispanic or Latino/a 8.1%
(34 Students)
Not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 3.3%
(14 Students)
Two or more races 3.8%
(16 Students)
Unknown #

# Data were redacted to protect the anonymity of the survey completers.

Sexual orientation breakdown
Asexual 1.2%
(5 Students)
Bisexual 8.3%
(35 Students)
Gay 1.2%
(5 Students)
Heterosexual 82.9%
(350 Students)
Lesbian 0.7%
(3 Students)
Pansexual 1.2%
(5 Students)
Queer 1.2%
(5 Students)
Questioning 2.6%
(11 Students)
Fill in 0.2%
(1 Student)
No response 0.5%
(2 Students)

Summary of Findings

These findings are a summary of the survey results. The full data set is also available here.

Views on General Climate at Colgate

Students “strongly agree” or “agree” with the following
Statement Colgate
Faculty, staff, and administrators at Colgate are genuinely concerned about students’ welfare. 83.1%
(351 Students)
Students at Colgate are genuinely concerned about the welfare of other students. 68.2%
(288 Students)
I feel safe on this campus. 81.7%
(345 Students)

Views on Sexual Assault at Colgate

Students “strongly agree” or “agree” that the number of sexual assaults at Colgate is low
(85 Students)

Information and Education

Students received information or education from Colgate on...
Statement Colgate
What sexual assault is and how to recognize it 96.4%
(407 Students)
How to report an incident of sexual assault 88.4%
(373 Students)
Procedures for investigating a sexual assault 58.2%
(245 Students)
Actions you can take to help prevent sexual assault 97.4%
(406 Students)

Unwanted Sexual Contact

Unwanted sexual contact, defined:

Such as someone making sexual comments about your body; making unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, or suggestions to you; or telling you sexually offensive jokes or kidding about your sex or gender-specific traits.

Such as someone sending you sexual emails, texts, or pictures; posting sexual comments about you on blogs or social media; showing you sexually offensive pictures or objects; leering at you or making lewd gestures towards you; or touching oneself sexually in front of you.

Such as someone briefly groping you, rubbing sexually against you, pinching you, or engaging in any other brief inappropriate or unwelcome touching of your body.

How often have you experienced the following forms of unwanted sexual contact while you were at Colgate?
Unwanted conduct Frequency Colgate
Verbal behaviors At least once 73.2%
(308 Students)
Never 26.8%
(113 Students)
Nonverbal behaviors At least once 37.1%
(156 Students)
Never 62.9%
(265 Students)
Brief physical contact At least once 69.6%
(293 Students)
Never 30.4%
(128 Students)

Sexual Assault

Have you been sexually assaulted* [at Colgate]?
Response Colgate
Yes 14.9%
(63 Students; 58 Women)
Suspect I was, but not certain 6.6%
(28 Students; 24 Women)

*Sexual assault includes touching of a sexual nature, oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex, anal or vaginal penetration with a body part other than a penis or tongue, or by an object.

The following questions were only answered by 63 respondents that answered “yes” to “Since starting at Colgate, have you been sexually assaulted while you were on campus or while you were off campus during an event or program sponsored by Colgate?”

Acts During Sexual Assault

When you were sexually assaulted, which of the following happened? (Check all that apply)
Sexual act Colgate
Touching of a sexual nature 87.3%
(55 Students)
Oral sex 23.8%
(15 Students)
Vaginal sex 42.9%
(27 Students)
Anal sex 6.3%
(4 Students)
Anal or vaginal penetration by body part other than penis, or tongue, or by an object 4.8%
(3 Students)
This incident of sexual assault involved...
[Threat of] physical force, or using coercion/intimidation 28.6%
(18 Students)
[Use of] physical force against you 42.9%
(27 Students)
Other people drinking alcohol 84.1%
(53 Students)
Other people using drugs 17.5%
(11 Students)
Your drinking alcohol 74.6%
(47 Students)
Your voluntarily taking or using drug 6.3%
(4 Students)
Your being given drug without knowledge or consent 1.6%
(1 Student)


When in your academic career did the sexual assault occur?
During new student orientation 1.6%
(1 Student)
First year 61.9%
(39 Students)
Second year 19.0%
(12 Students)
Third year 9.5%
(6 Students)
Fourth year 4.8%
(3 Students)
Other 1.6%
(1 Student)
No response 1.6%
(1 Student)


Location of sexual assault
Residential building 70.1%
(89 Assaults)
Nonresidential building 7.1%
(9 Assaults)
Off-campus (but not at another college or university) 12.6%
(16 Assaults)
Off-campus at another college or university (not study abroad) 3.9%
(5 Assaults)
Study abroad, study away, or other off-campus study program 6.3%
(8 Assaults)

Relationship to Assailant

Relationship to people who sexually assaulted you (check all that apply)
Stranger 20.6%
(13 Students)
Non-romantic friend 34.9%
(22 Students)
Casual date or hookup 41.3%
(26 Students)
Current romantic partner 4.8%
(3 Students)
Ex-romantic partner 3.2%
(2 Students)
Other 4.8%
(3 Students)

Full Results

This page shares a summary of the survey results. The full set of survey results is also available on the Office of Institutional Analysis page.



These findings are serious and troubling. They are not just numbers, but the voices of our students. We are actively working to educate students and prevent sexual assault in our community. But while Colgate has supported a number of programs to confront these problems, there is still much more to be done.

  • Full results are also available here.
  • Online sexual violence prevention training is mandatory for new students, all student leaders, and student-athletes
  • Led successful effort to establish Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) coverage for Hamilton