The Association of American Universities recently developed a survey to measure the rate of sexual violence on campuses across the country. Some universities (like Yale, Dartmouth and USC, to name a few) have already distributed these surveys to their students, although some are questioning the timing and ethics behind the release of the survey.
According to The Huffington Post, the AAU's study is "one of the largest campus climate surveys on sexual assault to date." Many professors have stated their concerns, saying they are worried that students are being rushed to take the survey, and that distributing it after spending only three months developing it might prove unethical.
Sarah Cook, associate dean at the honors college at Georgia State University and one of the survey's most open critics, told The Huffington Post, "It doesn't seem this survey is being conducted for the purpose of understanding, but in terms of checking the box off in terms of compliance."
Cook and the rest of the critics of this survey are concerned that the 28 schools who have already sent out this survey are not required to get approval for the survey by their Institutional Review Boards. Instead, they can use approval from Westat, the firm that created the survey.
Though campus climate surveys on a topic as pervasive and serious as sexual violence are imperative, it is also important to ensure that they are being distributed and collected in an ethical manner. The Huffington Post reports the AAU told the schools that have already distributed the survey this week to "send email and social media blasts to advertise the survey" to the student body on each campus.