Levitsky & Armstrong to Study University Responses to Campus Sexual Assault
U-M sociologists Sandra R. Levitsky and Elizabeth A. Armstrong have received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project entitled "Leaders and Laggards: Explaining Variation in University Responses to Sexual Violence in a Changing Legal Environment." The project investigates how universities respond to campus sexual assault in a tumultuous legal environment.
This study examines three sets of influences on university responses to an ambiguous legal environment: (1) the role of competing organizational agendas (for legitimacy and status); (2) the impact of organizational rank and resources; and (3) the influence of external pressures from regulatory agencies, social movements, and media.
The study involves the construction and analysis of an original quantitative data set capturing the responses to sexual violence of 382 American universities at two points in time—2016-17 and 2019-20—identified in school sexual misconduct policies, annual security reports, and other publicly available documents. The study also involves a set of six in-depth university case studies.