Appendix 1:

Title: Student Sexuality and Rape Survey Results

Authors: Rachael Silverman and Sandy Welsh

Recipient: Frederick Starr

Date: 1 May 1987

Location: “Student Sexuality & Rape Survey” 1987. Series I. Administrative Records, Subseries 14. Subject Files, Box 7. Dean of Student Papers, RG 12. O.C.A.


Content Warning: discussion of rape and sexual assault.


Original                       Both                    Transcription






To: President S. Frederick Starr[1]

From: Rachael Silverman[2] and Sandy Welsh[3]

Re: Student Sexuality and Rape Survey                                                   <Rachael Silverman>

Date: May 1, 1987                                                                                   <Sandy Welsh>


According to the results from the Student Sexuality and Rape Survey…

*** Nearly fifty percent of the respondents have had an unwanted sexual experience.

*** Women students were over two times more likely to have had an unwanted sexual experience than were men.

*** Almost one third of the respondents have engaged in unwanted coitus, anal and/or oral sex.

*** Of those women engaging in unwanted coitus, anal and/or oral sex, twenty five percent defined their experience as rape.

*** Twenty three percent of women engaging in unwanted sex cannot define their experience.

*** Approximately nine percent of the women respondents consider themselves to have survived a rape experience.

*** Out of the women engaging in unwanted sex, almost ninety six percent were acquainted with their partner and almost fifty percent of these experiences occurred at Oberlin. [handwritten in the margin: ? any assumption as to why?]

*** Fifteen percent of all women respondents and five percent of all men respondents have had an unwanted sexual experience before the age of fourteen.


The results of this survey stem from the direct experiences of Oberlin students. These results indicate that unwanted sexual experiences are a large part of student sexual interactions. Oberlin College can prepare students for the lives they will lead with an increase in sexuality education and rape education and with counselling provided for those students who are rape survivors.

More specifically, we recommend the following:

  • Student Sexuality and Acquaintance Rape Workshops to be included in the New Student Orientation in September
  • A full or half time paid positions Women Students Coordinator to act as the liaison between all the committees concerned with student sexuality and safety. In addition, this person would coordinate all Rape Education and Prevention activities on campus.
  • Increased counseling services for rape, incest and child molestation survivors.
  • Problems surrounding Student Sexuality and Rape be visibly recognized by the Oberlin College Administration.
  • Continued research into these issues in order to fully understand Oberlin students’ unwanted sexual experiences.


Enclosure: Tables of Results


  1. Janet Stocks, Rape Education Coordinator

George Langler, Dean of Students

Cheryl Gutman, Assistant Dean, Residential Life and Services


[Transcribed by Rebecca Debus]

[1] Stephen Frederick Starr (1940-present) was the twelfth president of Oberlin College, serving from 1983 to 1994. Though his administration was initially viewed positively -and he did make some strides in fixing college finances, increasing diversity, and generally improving the campus- he clashed with both the faculty and and the student body on numerous issues, and became a contentious figure. One of his successes was a revision of the sexual harassment policy, implemented in 1992, which included the appointment of an Officer of Gender Equity who reported to the president (“Oberlin College Archives | Holdings | Finding Guides | 2/12 – S. Frederick Starr (1940- ) | Administrative History.” Accessed July 19, 2016. FIX LATER

[2] Rachael Silverman graduated from Oberlin in 1987, having majored in Environmental Studies and Sociology (Oberlin College Yearbook, 1987. O.C.A.)

[3] Sandy Welsh majored in Sociology and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin in 1987. She then went on to earn both a Masters and a PhD, and then went on to work at the University of Toronto. She is a Vice-Provost of Students there, and is appointed to the Department of Sociology. Her primary research concerns workplace and sexual harassment (“Vice-Provost, Students – Sandy Welsh.” University of Toronto. Accessed 19 July 2016. Source.; “Alumni | Sociology | Arts and Sciences | Oberlin College.” Oberlin College. Accessed 19 July 2016. Source).