Miami Student Health Survey

Between February 28th and March 14th, 2018, almost 4,000 Miami students responded to the Miami Student Health Survey (MSHS) which is designed to provide insights into common challenges to student success so that the university can enhance services and support.

Data processing and analysis is ongoing, and the results will inform the work of many offices, including but not limited to: Office of Student Wellness; Student Counseling Service; Student Health; and Miami’s sexual and interpersonal violence prevention, education, and response efforts. All Oxford full-time undergraduates (N = 15,536) received an email invitation with a link to the online survey. Thanks to gracious faculty partners, some students completed the survey in class.

Preliminary Highlights

Please note: more specific detail follows this brief summary below. 

Sexual Misconduct

  • Since entering Miami, ~ 33% of women and ~ 15% of men report being a victim/survivor of some form of sexual misconduct on or away from campus (ranging from unwanted sexual contact to rape)
  • Victim/survivors report to campus authorities only 5% of the time, with the most common reason being that they “did not think that the incident was serious enough"
  • About 90% of respondents report being at least a “little” knowledgeable about where to make a report of sexual misconduct, and 91+% report knowing where to get help if needed
  • Students (83%) indicate they have received training on the prevention of sexual misconduct, and about 90% believe that Miami is at least “somewhat likely” to take reports seriously

Alcohol Use

  • About 30% of students indicate that they are non-drinkers
  • Less than half (46%) of Miami students report that they “binged” on alcohol in the last 30 days
  • Over 44% of those taking the survey report that they have attended Late Night Miami (alcohol-free) programming, and those attending rate the programs highly
  • Most (~88%) students indicate that they are aware of and understand Miami’s Good Samaritan policy

Mental Health

  • 22.1% of respondents report that they have used Miami’s student counseling service
  • A large majority of students (84%) agree that they would willingly accept someone as a friend who has received mental health treatment
  • Most students (~77%) report knowing where to go on campus for professional help for mental or emotional health
  • While ~28% of respondents disagree that they feel a sense of belonging at Miami, most (89%) agree that they have a group of friends with whom they feel connected, accepted, and supported

Additional Detail

Sexual Misconduct

This is the fourth consecutive year that Miami has surveyed students about the campus climate as it relates to sexual misconduct. The last two years show a very consistent pattern, as about 33% of women and roughly 15% of men report being a victim/survivor of some form of sexual misconduct (unwanted sexual contact; coercion or attempted coercion; rape or attempted rape) since entering Miami. In the 2018 survey, 13.5% of women and 4.8% of men report experiencing a rape on or away from campus during their time at Miami. Insufficient data prevent estimates for other gender identities.

Similar to what is found in other national collegiate surveys, overwhelmingly (~95%) victim/survivors of sexual misconduct choose not to report these incidents. The most common reason for not reporting is that victim/survivors “did not think that the incident was serious enough,” followed by “did not want any action to be taken” against the perpetrator. In 2016, Miami partnered with Women Helping Women (the local rape crisis center) to provide students, faculty, and staff with an on-campus confidential support person; starting in academic year 2017, all faculty and staff members have been designated as mandatory reporters for instances of sexual and interpersonal violence. Students report being “a little” (28.79), “somewhat” (36.78) or “very” (24.19) knowledgeable about where to make a report of sexual misconduct on campus, and over 91% report knowing where to get help for themselves or a friend (24.7% “little”; 39.01 “somewhat”; 27.87 “very” knowledgeable).

Over 83% of Miami students report that they have received training on the prevention of sexual misconduct, and almost 90% of students indicate that if reported, the university would be “somewhat” (20.5), “very” (36.7) or “extremely” likely (31.9) to take the report seriously. On a scale of 1 (not at all likely) to 5 (extremely likely), the average score on the question of whether campus officials would support a person making a report was 3.77.

Alcohol Use

At the time of the survey, about 30% of students indicated that they are non-drinkers, meaning that they abstain from the consumption of alcohol or had not had an alcoholic drink in the last thirty days. Almost 60% of students enter Miami as non-drinkers, and this percentage declines over time, especially as students move into their junior and senior years and begin to reach the legal drinking age of 21. For first-year students (in the spring) the non-drinking proportion is around 39%; for sophomores 40%; juniors 20% and seniors 22%. Less than half (46%) of Miami students report that they “binged” in the last 30 days -- meaning consumed 4 (women)/5 (men) or more drinks on a single occasion; reported binge drinking rates were higher for men (53%) than women (42%).

Over 44% of all Miami students taking the survey reported that they had attended Late Night (alcohol-free) programming at the Armstrong Student Center, in their residence hall, or in uptown Oxford. Those who attended these programs rate them highly -- with an average rating (on a five point scale) close to 4 (3.88); only 2.2% of those attending selected “very unsatisfied.”

Most Miami students also indicate that they are aware of and understood Miami’s Good Samaritan policy, which provides amnesty for students who seek medical assistance for themselves or others related to alcohol or drug misuse. Overall, 88% of Miami students indicate that they are aware of the policy, including 94% of first year students. Additionally, over 80% of respondents report that they “somewhat” or “completely” understand the policy, with only 1.2% reporting that they do not understand it at all.

Mental Health

In the 2018 Miami Student Health Survey, 22.1% of respondents report that they have used Miami’s counseling services on campus. This represents an increase from the 19.2% reporting in 2017. Over 84% of students indicate that they agree, “somewhat” agree, or “strongly” agree that they would willingly accept someone as a close friend who has received mental health treatment. Additionally, over 75% state that they agree (31.4), “somewhat” agree (24.8), or “strongly” agree (20.7) that they would know where to go on campus for professional help for mental or emotional health.

The results from the mental health questions on the survey are also useful in helping us better understand the degree to which we have created a welcoming and supportive community on the Miami campus. About 28% of respondents disagree (8.9), “somewhat” disagree (12.7) or “strongly” disagree (6.45) that they feel a sense of belonging at Miami. At the same time, most students agree (31.6), “somewhat” agree (15.1) or “strongly” agree (42.2) that they have a group of friends with whom they feel connected, accepted, and supported.

Finally, the 2018 Miami Student Health Survey also asked questions about food insecurity, which is becoming an issue of increasing concern on college campuses nationally. Our results show that almost 20% of Miami undergraduates indicate some amount of food insecurity, and this proportion appears to be higher for seniors than first-year students. This result is based upon a question asking whether students, in the last 12 months, “ever cut the size of your meals or skip because there wasn’t enough money for food;” about one in four of these 20% indicated that they faced this food shortage “almost every month.

We extend our sincere thanks to the students who completed the survey; to President Crawford, Provost Callahan, Vice President Brownell, Associated Student Government, and Office of Residence Life (among many others) for their support; to the graduate students who assisted with data collection; and to our dedicated faculty colleagues who devoted valuable class time to this mission-critical survey.