Hepner Hall at San Diego State University. Photo by Chris Jennewein

About 15 percent of San Diego State University students reported having experienced unwanted sexual contact or violence, with results higher for sorority members, bisexuals and campus housing residents, according to a study released Thursday.

School officials said questionnaires were sent to about 30,000 SDSU students, with around one-third responding.

Of those who answered the questions, 10 percent of men and 19 percent of women said they were victims of sexual contact or violence that they didn’t desire — with most of the incidents involving fondling, kissing or rubbing. Only 6 percent of respondents said they experienced such conduct after arriving at SDSU.

For sorority members, the portion climbed to 27 percent. It was 29 percent for bisexuals and 23 percent for residents of university housing. Only 7.7 percent of students living off-campus reported unwanted sexual contact.

“We wanted a better understanding of incidence and student feelings on safety and response,” said Jessica Rentto, SDSU’s associate vice president of administration. “The initial survey responses told us we are doing a good job, but there is still work that remains to better educate students and help reduce the risk of sexual violence in the campus community.”

SDSU officials plan to use the survey results as a benchmark to determine where to focus education, prevention and response efforts. Students will be surveyed every two years to measure the campus climate and adjust resources and programming as needed.

Among other findings:

— 92 percent of students believe they understand how SDSU defines affirmative consent to engage in sexual activity;

— 98 percent do not believe that a person can give consent when they are being threatened or coerced;

— 65 percent reported being “very ready” to intervene in some capacity when witnessing sexual assault;

— 61 percent believe that when a woman is raped, it is often because the way she said “no” was unclear; and

— 56 percent believe that at SDSU, sexual acts are considered non-consensual if a person is incapacitated from alcohol or drugs.

–City News Service

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