The Campus Climate Survey Results from the 2017-2018 school year were released on Wednesday, Oct. 17 by the Office for Equity & Inclusion (OEI) in partnership with the Office of Institutional Research, Office of Academic Affairs, Human Resources, Office of Student Affairs, and the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA).
The results of the survey will be used by groups like the Resource Center, Equity & Inclusion Steering Committee, Accessibility Committee, Title IX Committee, Workforce Planning Committee, and the Supporting Undocumented Students Committee, as well as groups that partnered with the OEI on the report. These groups will use the results to guide their goals, policies, and practices as they work to improve the University’s campus culture and climate.
The survey saw a 56 percent participation rate from faculty and a 32 percent participation rate from students. While the faculty participation rate was as expected based on a 2013 climate survey, the student participation rate was higher than past climate surveys but lower than typical student surveys.
Across all social identities, students answered favorably when asked about their opportunities for academic success and willingness to recommend the University to a potential student. Students were also asked about topics including diversity, personal growth, and faculty.
“Students overwhelmingly agreed that attending a diverse college is important, that they had the opportunity to experience personal growth, that they were satisfied with the faculty with whom they worked and felt valued by them,” the report reads.
Since only 19 percent of the student body reported their socio-demographic information, the authors of the report caution against overinterpretation of the presented results.
Sense of belonging and disparaging remarks results
Students of color and trans/genderqueer (GQ)/gender nonconforming (GNC)/other students had significantly lower satisfaction regarding sense of belonging compared to other demographics. The percent of all respondents reporting that they were generally or very satisfied was 76 percent, while the percent of students of color was 68 percent and the percent of trans/GQ/GNC/other students was 50 percent. Trans/GQ/GNC/other students also reported the lowest percent of comfort with aspects of social life generally.
The results also point to how often students overhear others making disparaging remarks about people.
“The frequency with which disparaging remarks were made in relation to Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation, Race/Ethnicity, Religious Beliefs, Ability, and Political Beliefs, Socioeconomics, and Mental Health Issues tells us we have to strengthen our efforts to engage as a community around the core value of respect for individuals,” the report reads.
Sexual misconduct results
For sexual misconduct, female and trans/GQ/GNC/other students reported the highest rates of sexual misconduct. In response to the question, “In the past 12 months, have you been sexually assaulted?” 6 percent percent of female students responded yes, and 6 percent responded maybe. To the same question, 14 percent percent of trans/GQ/GNC/other students responded yes, and 14 percent responded maybe. For male students, 2 percent responded yes, and 1 percent responded maybe.
About 24 percent of respondents reported that they experienced “unwanted brief contact” either occasionally or frequently. Female students reported the highest percentage of experiencing sexual misconduct, with trans/GQ/GNC/other students reporting the second highest percentage. The responses suggest that female students are less aware of how to report incidents of sexual misconduct. The OEI plans to address this —in addition to educating all students—in collaboration with the Office of Survivor Advocacy and Community Education, the Resource Center, WSA, Residential Life, Athletics, and other groups.
Staff and faculty results
Both faculty and staff reported that they possess a high level of knowledge about the reporting process of sexual harassment and assault and/or racist, homophobic, religiously insensitive or other offensive behaviors and statements. However, they were uncertain about to which individual or office they should report these behaviors. According to both faculty and staff responses, 41 percent disagreed that their department had adequate resources to achieve its goals.
The presentation and feedback forums held Monday, Oct.22 through Friday, Oct. 26 highlighted key differences between reports made by person of color status, gender, faculty, and staff.
POC and non-POC differences
Between POC and non-POC faculty and staff, a much higher percentage of POC respondents (46 percent vs. 25 percent) agreed or strongly agreed that they had to work harder than their colleagues/co-workers do to achieve the same recognition. A higher percentage of POC respondents (41 percent vs. 26 percent) also reported that they were likely to look for employment outside of the University within the next year.
A higher percentage of non-POC respondents (84 percent vs. 68 percent) reported that the University has responded well or very well to reported issues of discrimination or harassment. There was also a higher percentage of non-POC respondents (74 percent vs. 59 percent) that agreed or strongly agreed their work is stressful and 92 percent of non-POC respondents vs. 81 percent of POC respondents that the University’s benefits meet their needs.
Male and female differences
Between male and female faculty and staff, a higher percentage of male respondents reported: that they were comfortable going to the vice president of their reporting line to discuss discrimination or harassment (67 percent vs. 46 percent); that the University responded well or very well to reported issues of sexual harassment (78 percent vs. 59 percent), sexual assault (84 percent vs. 67 percent), socio-economic status (90 percent vs. 74 percent), and mental health (96 percent vs. 77 percent); and agreed or strongly agreed that people at the University support each other regardless of their job category, title, or role (78 percent vs. 60 percent).
A higher percentage of female respondents reported that they experienced sexually offensive jokes/kidding about their sex/gender traits (15 percent vs. 5 percent) and occasionally or frequently heard others at the University make disparaging remarks about mental health (25 percent vs. 12 percent), gender identity (19 percent vs. 7 percent), disability (13 percent vs. 4 percent), and race or ethnicity (20 percent vs. 11 percent).
Faculty and staff differences
A higher percentage of faculty than staff reported that they agreed or strongly agreed on the following: the University’s review process rewards strong job performance (73 percent vs. 45 percent), the University values faculty/staff opinions (73 percent vs. 57 percent), they feel valued at the University (84 percent vs. 71 percent), if they offered feedback it would influence decisions at the University (60 percent vs. 48 percent), and that they are paid fairly for their work (79 percent vs. 68 percent). Faculty also had a higher percentage of agreement than staff that they were comfortable disclosing their political beliefs (80 percent vs. 62 percent), that the University values faculty/staff opinions (73 percent vs. 57 percent), that they have observed unfair employment discipline or action (29 percent vs. 15 percent), and that they have the opportunity to develop their skills at the University (89 percent vs. 76 percent).
A higher percentage of staff than faculty reported that they believed the University has responded well or very well to reports of discrimination or harassment related to mental health issues (89 percent vs. 73 percent), sexual harassment (74 percent vs. 47 percent), and sexual assault (82 percent vs. 53 percent). There was also a higher percentage of staff than faculty who agreed or strongly agreed that the University places sufficient emphasis on having diverse faculty and staff (86 percent vs. 70 percent).
Jocelyn Maeyama can be reached at email@example.com.