Campus Climate Survey results are out, but what do the numbers mean?
October 25, 2018
The recently-released Campus Climate Survey indicates an overall positive attitude toward Santa Clara, but the more detailed questions about experiences with offensive and hostile conduct show areas for concern.
25 percent of survey respondents said they had personally experienced exclusionary conduct described above, and of that percentage, 38 percent said the conduct was based on their ethnicity.
The Campus Climate Survey was presented to the community as a way for the university administration to gauge everyone’s comfort levels on campus, as well as ask about any uncomfortable situations they have been in.
“The whole purpose of the survey is to gather hard data so that we have evidence to measure how our progress is as we go forward,”said University President Michael Engh, S.J.at a town hall forum held to reveal the survey results earlier this month. “We need to pay attention to those who feel excluded and that these racial and other divisive issues are not out there, but they’re right here.”
Annalicia Anaya, director of Santa Clara’s Multicultural Center (MCC), found those numbers upsetting, especially on a campus that prides itself on its efforts for diversity and inclusion.
“It is extremely frustrating to know that people on our campus are experiencing racial discrimination, but unfortunately it does not surprise me,” Anaya said. “This is an issue we in the MCC are constantly trying to address through our programing and commitment to social justice. I recognize that what happens at Santa Clara is often a reflection of our larger society and with that in mind I think it’s vital that we not only focus on fixing the issue here but also nationally.”
Vice President of the Associated Student Government (ASG) Jahwala Johns was also disappointed with the fact that 25 percent of respondents had experienced exclusionary conduct on campus.“
I think that those numbers are disappointing because, in terms of exclusionary behavior,I do think that I can identify with and relate to those experiences,” Johns said. “It was in some ways comforting to see that I wasn’t the only one, but it was also very upsetting to see that it was such a high number.”
Ray Plaza, director of the office for diversity and inclusion, is one of the people who is now tasked with taking the survey results and implementing change around campus where needed.“
We wanted to ask, what does it mean to work on campus, live on campus, study on campus?” Plaza said.
While Plaza and his team plan to analyze the data on a deeper level before any further action,student organizations on campus like ASG have taken it upon themselves to make changes within the student body.
According to Johns, ASG will team up with the MCC and the Santa Clara Community Action Program in a week eight program called “When It’s Not a Great Day to Be a Bronco,”where students are invited to express their concerns.
“I think there’s still a lot of work to be done,” Johns said.“We need to gather the ideas and feelings expressed and take them and turn them into things that we can act on. We need to say, ‘hey, students have identified these issues, now what can we do to address them?’”
The survey also asked community members if they had ever experienced any unwanted sexual conduct while at Santa Clara.
The results revealed that 12 percent, or 351 of the nearly 3,000 respondents said that they had.
When asked if 12 percent was viewed by the university as a low or high percentage to have experienced unwanted sexual conduct,Plaza said the university isn’t necessarily satisfied or dissatisfied with the number. Rather, Plaza said the university is taking it into deep consideration. He said the number is neither negative nor positive, but rather, is an important number for the university to know.
“I think that this raises a question about how are we responding?”Plaza asked. “Are we responding in a fair and just manner to both the victim as well as the accused and are we being sensitive in the way that we’re responding?”
Plaza explained that, although the university plans to put a similar survey out every five years, the results of each survey must be taken with a grain of salt since major events happening at the time of the survey may shape people’s responses.
“We know that the climate study captures what was happening around that time and we see it manifesting itself in the results and people’s concerns,” Plaza said.
One of the big results the university highlighted was the 72 percent of survey respondents who felt “very comfortable” or“somewhat comfortable” on the university campus.
The university wasn’t celebrating what may have been seen as a positive survey result, pointing out that while a good amount of people said they were comfortable, there was a significant amount of people who are uncomfortable with the climate and that’s something the university takes seriously.
Plaza pointed out that while 72 percent of faculty, staff and students felt that the campus was comfortable, there were 15 percent who reported feeling neither comfortable nor uncomfortable.On the other side of the spectrum,10 percent of respondents said they were uncomfortable and one percent that said they were very uncomfortable.
“I think part of this is trying toun pack a little bit and sort of as we think about the themes and think about how we are to address those themes,” Plaza said.
Although the steps the university is taking may not be obvious to onlookers from the campus community,Plaza stressed that a group of faculty and staff members are, in fact, making changes—or at least making plans to make changes.
“I think the report will be a catalyst to help us prioritize the things that we need to work on,”Plaza said. “There’s no end. It kind of is just a forever thing. It’s going to evolve.”
Contact Kimi Andrew firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408)554-4852.