MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS — A research team of social scientists at Columbia University has reportedly spent the past two years interviewing and surveying more than 1,600 students about their sex lives and observing their hookup behaviors at bars and dorm parties amid a series of high-profile incidents at the college.
The objective of the project — the Sexual Health Initiative to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) — is to develop new ways of promoting sexual well-being and preventing sexual assault on college campuses.
The study began in 2015, the year that the American Association of Universities released a report finding that one in four female undergraduates at Columbia had experienced sexual assault in some form.
That same year, student-activist Emma Sulkowicz pledged to carry her mattress around campus until her accused rapist left the university.
"My life over the past two years has been thinking about college students and sex, and it's both really boring and really disturbing in sort of twin ways," Shamus Khan, a sociology professor who worked on the study, said during an event at the Institute for Public Knowledge last week, according to POLITICO.
Khan told the audience at 20 Cooper Square that Columbia's trustees had spent $2.5 million on the project, POLITICO reported.
Researchers expect to publish 26 journal articles based on their findings before December, co-principal investigator Dr. Jennifer Hirsch told the Columbia Spectator.