In the News

Announcing the Higher Education Sexual Misconduct and Awareness Survey

November 8, 2023

Westat announced today that 10 universities will participate in the Higher Education Sexual Misconduct and Awareness (HESMA) survey. The initiative, scheduled for spring 2024, is aimed at comprehensively understanding and addressing issues related to sexual misconduct and awareness on college campuses. Building on the legacy of the 2019 Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct, the HESMA will provide participating schools with invaluable data and insights that inform evidence-based policies and support services and interventions to create safer, more inclusive campus environments. The HESMA survey will also provide important longitudinal estimates of change for pre- and post-COVID time periods.

The HESMA survey will include key updates to the demographic section of the 2019 survey. The survey’s core purpose remains the same, and its data collection and analysis processes will continue to adhere to rigorous standards, ensuring the quality and relevance of the insights gained.

As in the previous iterations of the survey (2015, 2019), Westat will serve as the coordinator of the HESMA survey and collaborate with the universities. David Cantor, PhD, Vice President and Senior Statistical Fellow at Westat, a nationally recognized expert in survey methodology, will co-lead this effort with Bonnie Fisher, PhD, Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Cincinnati and an expert in sexual assault. Cantor and Fisher have been leads for the survey since it began in 2015. Together, their leadership and expertise will ensure that the study maintains the highest standards of survey methodology and ethical considerations.

Through this new structure, data from the HESMA survey will continue to provide critical information to empower institutions to make informed decisions and shape impactful policies, services, and interventions.


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