An April 20 all-campus email from Dean of Diversity and Student Engagement Renee Johnson-Thornton reminded students of the little-known Campus Climate Log, a blog which allows members of the Wesleyan community to log or share acts of intolerance and prevention efforts.
“Since I’ve been involved with the Campus Climate Log, we have received sprinklings of activity throughout the academic year,” Johnson-Thornton said. “We wanted to increase visibility. Several students have told me that they had encountered some issues and they wanted to know where they could record it. We wanted to let them know that the Campus Climate Log was one of many options they could use.”
The administration founded the Campus Climate Log in 2006 in response to an incident involving racist graffiti in a University residence. According to Johnson-Thornton, the log is intended as a medium for community members to share incidents of prejudice and discrimination prevention measures.
All members of the University community may submit reports to the Campus Climate Log Committee. The Committee then determines whether the incident should be posted online.
“The idea was to let the campus community know in an open and transparent way about the climate on campus,” said Dean of the Class of 2012 David Phillips. “Not just for awful, hateful incidents but also for things where we’ve tried to build community and raise awareness, and we’d like to be balanced about that.”
Fourteen entries have been posted on the log in the last two years. In the first year that the log was launched, there was a greater volume of posts, with more of them focused on prevention measures. In total, 65 reports were posted during the 2006–2007 academic year, in comparison with just four posted during this academic year.
“Its success has been limited based on lack of advertisement,” Johnson-Thornton said. “It’s meant to serve as a barometer to show what the climate is like on campus. And people need to know about its existence and to use it.”
According to Johnson-Thornton, despite its relative obscurity on campus, the log has received attention from administrators at other liberal arts colleges. She said that these administrators were impressed with the log’s concept and approached the administrators for more information. Bowdoin College is currently developing their own log, she said.
Phillips said that all reports sent to the Committee are thoroughly considered before being posted. Johnson-Thornton chairs the committee, which includes class deans, members of the Office of Student Life, and the director of Public Safety.
Johnson-Thornton said she plans to send out an all-campus email at the start of each semester to remind the University community about the log. She is also creating a series of flyers and posters to publicize it. She said that she hopes the increased publicity will encourage more community members to use the log.
“We’d like it to be a place where we could record incidents of bias and hate, and certainly where we could promote events that were proactive and educational in nature,” Johnson-Thornton said. “We want to see it become a barometer for what’s going on and we think that if people are putting information there and we use it well then it could become a good resource for us.”