2023 Sexual Assault and Related Misconduct Survey Results
Dear Cornell Community,
Today we release the findings of the 2023 Cornell Survey of Sexual Assault and Related Misconduct, in which 11% of student respondents said they experienced nonconsensual sexual contact since entering Cornell. The findings are similar to results from 2015, 2017 and 2019, before in-person education was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Cornell’s 2023 responses are consistent with national data and surveys taken at peer institutions.
The consistency of Cornell students’ experiences remains troubling. Sexual assault and harassment of any form cannot be tolerated. Cornell offers considerable resources, support and educational programming for our community. We are committed to fostering a culture of caring on campus.
The survey is conducted every two years in accordance with New York state law (PDF). This survey is designed to measure students’ knowledge of university policies, procedures and resources, and to record students’ experiences related to sexual assault, sexual and gender-based harassment, stalking, and dating and domestic violence while attending Cornell. The 2023 survey was administered during the spring semester to a stratified, random sample of 6,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students enrolled at the Ithaca, Geneva AgriTech, Cornell Tech and Weill Cornell Medicine-NYC campuses.
A total of 2,163 students completed the survey for a response rate of 36%, which is consistent with the response rates for the 2021 and 2019 surveys (38%). The 2023 survey results also are largely consistent with surveys taken in 2015, 2017 and 2019. (Cornell, like many institutions, noted a decrease in some forms of sexual misconduct during the 2021 survey, likely attributed to students studying remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic or, if on campus, held to social distancing restrictions that limited in-person interaction.)
Below is an overview of the 2023 survey results. A full summary of results and data tables can be found on the Sexual Harassment and Assault – Response and Education (SHARE) website.
- The percentage of survey respondents who experienced nonconsensual sexual contact (penetration, oral contact or touching) involving physical force, threats of physical force or incapacitation since entering Cornell remained at 11%. Students reporting incidences of nonconsensual sexual contact increased from 3% to 6% between AY 2020-21 and AY 2022-23
- About the same number of respondents (45% from 44% in 2021) said they have experienced one or more specific forms of harassing behaviors while at Cornell.
- The percentage of survey respondents who experienced stalking behavior increased from 5% in 2021 to 13% in 2023. Stalking includes receiving unwanted calls, messages, pictures or videos, having someone show up or wait for you unexpectedly, and being spied on, watched or followed. This increase is attributable to receiving unwanted calls, messages, or pictures/videos.
- Consistent with national data and previous Cornell survey results and trends, undergraduate women; gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, pansexual, queer or questioning (LGBAQ) students; transgender, questioning and gender non-conforming or non-binary (TGQN) students; and students with disabilities continue to report experiencing harassment, stalking, domestic/dating violence and nonconsensual sexual contact at significantly higher rates than their peers.
- More than three-fourths of survey respondents who experience nonconsensual sexual contact turn to and speak with friends (84%) for support. However, only 11% of survey participants said they contacted a Cornell- or community-based resource. For most students who did not contact a program, the most common reason (58%) was because they "did not think it [the incident] was serious enough to contact a program."
- The vast majority of student participants are aware of Cornell Health and Cornell Police; and more than 68% are aware of the Title IX Coordinator. Far fewer students reported awareness of other related on-campus offices and resources, such as the Cornell SHARE website or the Cornell Victim Advocate, a confidential support resource.
We understand that discussing these experiences can be difficult, and we thank all participants for sharing their experiences so we can better understand the challenges facing our campus communities. Sexual assault, harassment and other forms of related misconduct are never acceptable and have no place on our campuses.
We remain committed to working together, as a community, to build a safer, more respectful environment for everyone.
Vice President for Student and Campus Life
Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Title IX Coordinator, Weill Cornell Medicine
Cornell is committed to providing a safe, inclusive and respectful learning, living and working environment. To this end, Cornell will not tolerate sexual and related misconduct. Through Cornell University Policy 6.4 the university provides means to address sexual and related misconduct, including sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking and sexual exploitation.
Additional resources include:
- Office of Institutional Equity and Title IX Coordinator, Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses
- Office of the Title IX Coordinator, Weill Cornell Medicine
- Students on the Ithaca campus may contact Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff for counseling or other assistance with mental health concerns. Students at Cornell Tech may contact Student Services for support. Students at Weill Cornell Medicine may contact Student Support Services for assistance.
- Faculty and staff in Ithaca and New York City may contact the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 607-255-2673. Faculty and staff at Weill Cornell Medicine may contact the Employee Assistance Program Consortium.