In 2008, Princeton University took a survey of students to determine the sexual assault statistics at the school. The results of the survey were never published.
Just a few days ago, Princeton’s student paper, The Daily Princetonian, obtained and published the results from Princeton’s 2008 Sexual Experiences Survey. It shows that one in six female undergraduates was the victim of sexual assault — a ratio just slightly lower than the national average, but higher than the reported incidents at the school.
But the administration has not been forthcoming with its rationale for withholding the results. In an interview with the school paper, faculty explained only that they didn’t want to draw “unwanted attention” to the school by publishing the statistics:
It remains unclear why the survey was never publicly released, but one University administrator said the University did not want to draw unwanted attention by publicizing the report’s findings when they were in line with national averages. […]
Although she explained she was not aware of the precise reasons the survey’s results were kept private, [Amada Sandoval, Director of the Women’s Center] said the results were probably never released because they were consistent with national averages and because other universities do not publicize such data.
“Anything about Princeton goes international, practically, and no other universities do that, so does Princeton want to be the one to say that this many of our students are sexually assaulted? I don’t think so,” Sandoval said.
In a later article, a different Princeton spokesperson, Martin Mbugua, explained that the results were meant to be internal:
“Let me note that the 2008 survey was taken for the purpose of informing internal planning and programming and was used for that purpose,” Mbugua said. “Those conducting the survey did not think of it as a survey whose results would be published.”
Now that the old survey results have been revealed, Princeton students are petitioning the administration to issue a new Sexual Experiences Survey. But Princeton’s Director of the Survey Research Center believes that won’t be necessary, since the school is participating in a larger student health and well-being study through the American College Health Association. It is not yet known whether the results of that survey will be made public, though they have been in past years.
(HT: Madame Noir)