Survey Shows Widespread Intolerance Occurring at the University Level

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Study sponsored by Campus Tolerance Foundation shows bias incidents and sexual harassment prevalent at ten American universities; on bias, Harvard fares best, Ohio State worst; on sexual harassment, University of Washington fares best, Harvard worst

As a grandmother of children soon to be looking at colleges to attend, I found these Survey results very disturbing, to say the least

A study conducted across ten of our nation's college campuses to determine if they are physically and intellectually safe revealed disturbing levels of intolerance across the board. The Survey of more than 2,600 undergraduates, sponsored by Campus Tolerance Foundation (, was conducted by the FDR Group from October 2008 to January 2009 and revealed the following alarming statistics:

-59% of all students surveyed said they have either witnessed or have been victims of bias incidents on campus;
-62% of women surveyed report that they have been victims of broader sexual harassment or personally know someone who has been; and
-33% of women surveyed were victims of serious sexual harassment -- forced sex, attempts to force sex, or attempts to force kissing or fondling -- or personally know someone who was

"As a grandmother of children soon to be looking at colleges to attend, I found these Survey results very disturbing, to say the least," said Marcella Rosen, founder of Campus Tolerance Foundation. "By publicizing these alarming findings, the Foundation hopes that colleges and universities will address bias where it exists, and that parents and students will consider tolerance when selecting a college."

The complete Campus Tolerance Survey, as well as the full questionnaire and top line data for each college, can be found at

Schools surveyed:
-University of Washington, Seattle
-Texas A&M
-University of Nebraska, Lincoln
-Ohio State University
-George Washington University
-University of Florida, Gainesville
-University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

The Survey of then-current undergrads, which was conducted primarily through Facebook, is a follow-up to a 2007 pilot study funded by the Carnegie Foundation, among others, of three college campuses - University of California, Berkeley; Michigan State University; and Columbia University. Rosen notes that it was woefully apparent from the test results that intolerance against minorities was not a rare occurrence at the three universities, so the Foundation decided to raise additional funding to conduct more extensive research.

Specific findings of the Campus Tolerance Foundation Survey shows Ohio State University fared worst (at 69%) when it came to students witnessing or being victims of bias incidents (verbal insult, graffiti, physical threat or physical assault) on campus, followed by Texas A&M (66%), University of Florida (65%), University of Nebraska (64%), George Washington University (60%), University of Minnesota (58%), UCLA (57%), and University of Washington (56%). Harvard fared best (at 40%), followed by Barnard (42%).

On the subject of sexual harassment, an alarming 73% of female students surveyed at George Washington University said that they have experienced or witnessed broader sexual harassment; Barnard was at the low end of the spectrum (at 52%).

Regarding serious sexual harassment (forced sex, attempts to force sex, kissing or fondling), Harvard fared worst, with 45% of female students saying that they had been victims or personally knew a victim, followed by George Washington University (43%), Ohio State University (42%), University of Nebraska (40%), University of Minnesota (35%), UCLA (30%), and the University of Florida (30%). The University of Washington fared best (23%), followed by Barnard and Texas A&M (both 24%).

About Campus Tolerance Foundation
Campus Tolerance Foundation ( was founded in 2002 to fight intolerance on college campuses. The Foundation champions diversity of opinion, tolerance and equal opportunity in higher education.

About FDR Group
The FDR Group ( is a full-service, non-partisan public opinion research company with a mission to help foundations and other non-profits understand how the general public and key groups feel and think about their initiatives.


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Lydia J. Voles
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