Campus Climate Survey

Washington and Lee University is asking all students to answer a web-based climate survey on sexual misconduct. The results will be used to improve our programs and policies that work towards making W&L a safe and welcoming environment for all students.

This survey includes sections that ask about perceptions of campus culture and safety, knowledge of University policies and resources, perceptions of University response to reports of sexual misconduct, and students' personal experience with sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence.

We know your time is valuable, but we hope that you take the time and thought to complete this survey and help us make W&L even better!


Frequently Asked Questions

Why is W&L conducting this survey?

Surveys like this one are an essential tool to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct.

While W&L has tracked the prevalence of student sexual assault through the National College Health Assessment survey, we would like to gain more information about incidents of sexual misconduct that have occurred, as well as track perceptions of how the University addresses sexual misconduct, and students' awareness of W&L policy and procedures. This will allow us to evaluate our training programs as well as the effectiveness of W&L's policies. Among other issues, we hope to learn why students have chosen not to report an incident of sexual misconduct to the University, whether students know how to access resources related to sexual misconduct, and when reports have been made to the University whether students believe they have been treated fairly.

Armed with the knowledge this survey will provide, we can reinforce what is working and address what is not. We plan to conduct the survey every three years so we can evaluate changes over time.

Who created this survey?

There are several publically available campus climate surveys. We had concerns about some of the existing campus climate surveys' ability to provide useful data for our campus based on how the surveys phrased questions. For example, some surveys only asked about conduct that occurred on-campus when we know that sexual misconduct often occurs off campus at W&L, or defined the prohibited conduct too narrowly or too broadly to be useful.

After evaluating various survey forms, we ultimately found parts of the Association of American Universities Campus Climate Survey ( to be the best instrument for our needs. Because the survey is in the public domain, we have adapted that survey to collect the data we believe would be the most useful for evaluating our programs and sexual misconduct response. Thus, this survey uses the AAU survey as the framework with several modifications for W&L. While using the exact survey that other institutions used would have the benefit of being able to compare data, we wanted the survey to collect the most meaningful data for our needs.

Student feedback on the survey content was provided by the Student Advisory Group.

What will I be asked to do?

You will be asked to complete an online anonymous survey that will take approximately 20-30 minutes.

I've never experienced sexual misconduct, so should I take part?

Yes. In order for the survey to be meaningful, we ask that all students complete this survey, even if you have not personally experienced sexual misconduct. If only students that have experienced sexual misconduct took the survey we would get a skewed view of Washington and Lee campus climate. As we evaluate our campus climate and campus policies it is important to have the experiences and viewpoints of as many students as possible.

What about confidentiality--will my name or ID number be associated with my responses?

No. We are using SurveyMonkey as the platform for the survey and to provide the survey results. We have turned off the IP record so no personally identifying informatoin will be linked to survey responses. The results will only be presented in aggregate. No information that would allow for any individual to be personally identified will be shared.

Am I required to participate?

No. This survey is completely voluntary. while we encourage all students to take the survey, you may choose not to participate or not to answer any specific questions. You may skip any question you are not comfortable answering or may discontinue the survey at any time.

Are there any incentives for participating? 

Yes, to thank survey participants for giving their time, all participants have the chance to be submitted for several drawings.

Once you submit the survey, a student can submit his or her name to a random drawing for gift certificates to the W&L bookstore and Pronto. the following prizes are available:

  • 2 students will win a $100.00 gift certificate to the W&L bookstore
  • 4 students will win a $50.00 gift certificate to the W&L bookstore
  • 8 students will win a $25.00 gift certificate to Pronto

To maintain anonymity, after formally submitting the campus climate survey, you will be provided a hyperlink to a unique and distinct data collection asking for your name and contact information. This incentives registration will collect identifying personal information that is exclusively for the purpose of incentives and is maintained in a disparate database from that of the campus climate survey. This separate survey will be used to determine the winners of the incentive prizes. Once the list of winners is generated, the database will be deleted preventing any possible linkage between names and responses.

We will do the drawing after the survey closes on April 7 and you will be notified if you win.

Why are the questions so explicit?

Some of the language used in this survey is explicit. However, in order to understand the climate here and best evaluate our response, we need to ask direct questions about topics that some may find sensitive.

What should I do if I become upset answering the questions?

We understand that many of the survey questions raise sensitive issues. If you would like to speak to someone confidentially, please contact the Counseling Center at 540-458-8590. If it is after hours, you can contact the Student Health Center at 540-458-8401 and your concern will be assessed by a nurse who can contact the on-call physician or the counselor on-call. Additionally, you can contact Project Horizon at 540-463-2594. 

Will the survey results be shared with students?

Yes, the aggregate results will be shared with the campus community unless the response rate is deemed too low to have valid results.

I still have questions about the survey. Who should I contact?

You can contact Lauren Kozak, Title IX Coordinator and Director of Disability Resources at or 540-458-4055.

If, at any time, you have questions regarding the conduct of this research, or if you wish to discuss your rights as a research participant, you may contact the IRB Chair, Bryan Price at or 540-459-8316.