The trustees of Columbia University wrote a $2.5 million check to faculty to figure out just what’s going on with their students sex lives.
The study aims to find out the “the individual, interpersonal, and structural (cultural, community, and institutional) factors that shape sexual health and sexual violence for undergraduates,” according to their website.
The project began in 2015 following the Emma Sulkowitz “Mattress Girl” rape scandal. Although the man she accused of raping her was found innocent by the school, the ordeal brought plenty of bad press and made Columbia the epicenter of the campus sexual assault discourse.
The project is being led by Shamus Khan, a sociology professor at Columbia.
At a talk on Wednesday he explained the study is conducted by “interviewing 150 students about how they have sex, doing a random population survey of the student body, designing an app and having students check in every day about their mood, socialization, sexual practices.”
Khan also has to hang around college bars and observe students hooking up.
“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,” he said.
The results of the study will be out soon and are expected to produce 26 different papers.