LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2017) — This week, the University of Kentucky launched its third Campus Attitudes Toward Safety (CATS) survey, which is part of a five-year commitment to addressing students’ well-being and safety.
All UK students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) may access CATS through their myUK portal and should complete the 15-25 minute confidential survey before their class registration window opens. Graduating students will need to complete the survey before being able to access their transcripts. To encourage early completion of CATS, the university will offer students chances to win prizes such as gift cards valued between $175-$250 and a UK Parking permit, if they complete the survey before their priority registration window opens.
"As students, part of our responsibility is to ensure that our peers feel safe on and off campus,” said Rowan Reid, UK Student Government Association president. “A culture of accountability is necessary to make steps toward making our campus as welcoming and safe as possible. The CATS survey provides an outlet for students to share their views and personal experiences on sensitive matters such as violent interpersonal relationships, campus safety, and sexual assault. This information allows the university to better address the issues our students are facing and gives us an opportunity to influence our peers' lives for the better."
CATS consists of several sections that ask questions about students' beliefs, opinions and knowledge of various topics. The development of these sections occurred through partnerships with UK's Office of the President, UK Police, University Health Services (UHS), Student and Academic Life, Legal Counsel and the Violence Intervention and Prevention (VIP) Center.
UK President Eli Capilouto and endowed faculty of the UK Center for Research on Violence Against Women (CRVAW) initiated the first CATS survey in 2015, which was completed by more than 25,000 students. UK officials believe the university was among the first in the country to undertake a mandatory campus-wide survey regarding sexual assault and campus climate.
"We started this process to collect robust and accurate data so that we can make decisions on how best to improve campus safety and support victim-survivors,” Capilouto said. “Entering our third year of data collection and analysis further enhances our capacity to set the right priorities for making campus a safe place for all people.”
Thanks to students’ valuable feedback from the 2015 and 2016 surveys, the university has implemented the following changes so far:
More Talk-a-Phone booths on campus as well as improved lighting and camera surveillance
More sexual assault report training for UK Police
UHS has hired a health educator to collaborate with the VIP Center on outreach programs to educate students about consent and the importance of visiting UHS after a sexual assault because of the possible adverse consequences.
The Student Code of Conduct has been updated to include affirmative consent policies and an amnesty policy related to alcohol and drug related emergencies.
Inclusion of alternative conflict resolution (e.g., mediation, restorative conference, restorative justice circles)
Off Campus Student Services (OCSS) has started an initiative to increase awareness and safety of the student population living in houses and apartments surrounding UK’s campus.
The UK Counseling Center has hired staff to expand capacity and has increased healthy relationship workshops. The staff focuses on cultural proficiency and facilitates specific support groups for nongender conforming students and students of color.
When it comes to reporting sexual assaults and safety concerns, a major finding from previous CATS surveys revealed nearly 25 percent of students did not know the difference between a confidential source and a mandated reporter. Because of this, the university has created more educational programs about confidential reporting and has made reporting resources more accessible to students through the UK website.
UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue