On Tuesday, Sept. 28, Rankin and Associates presented the results of the Campus Climate Survey conducted in the Spring 2010 semester.The presentations, led by Dr. Sue Rankin, began by describing the reasons for facilitating the Campus Climate Survey, followed by a description of the four phases of the assessment. Phase I was the creation of focus groups in January 2010, which assisted in the construction of the survey questions.
Phase II lasted from February to April 2010 and consisted of the creation of the survey. Many drafts were reviewed every two weeks with the Campus Climate Intervention Team.
Phase II continued into April with the facilitation of the survey itself. There were 113 questions on the survey, which was available online or in pencil-and-paper format. The analysis of the results was Phase III, which occurred from May to July 2010. Finally, Phase IV was the presentation of the results to the campus community.
Of the 4,818 individuals who responded to the survey, which makes up approximately 30% of the campus community. Of these respondents, 85% were students, 9% were faculty, and 6% were staff.
Undergraduate students made up 31% of the respondents, while graduate students made up 26%. There were 800 students of color that responded, and about 3,200 student responses were by white students. Approximately 2,880 students were women, and 1,152 were men.
Results showed that 84.6% of the respondents did not have a disability that substantially affected major life activities. Of those that responded, 95.9% of students and 94.7% of employees that responded were U.S. citizens.
Exactly 14 transgender individuals responded to the survey.
Overall, the people who were most uncomfortable with the campus climate were people of color, LGBQ individuals, and women. The reports showed that 13% of individuals that responded reported experiencing harassment, with the leading causes of harassment based on gender and race. The majority of these experiences occurred in classrooms. Many went unreported.
It was found that 14% of students knew someone who had been sexually harassed while at WCU, while 13% knew someone who had been sexually assaulted while at WCU. There were 48 respondents who reported being victims of sexual assault, with six of them being men. These numbers are three times the amount reported to the university.
The leading financial hardship for students was purchasing textbooks at 77.3%, followed by affording tuition at 68.3%. A great deal of the students at WCU reported being of low-income status.
Students reported that Greek life and religious organizations were least likely to enhance campus climate, while sports and intramural clubs, service organizations, and academic/professional organizations were most likely to enhance campus climate.
The next steps are to convene constituent groups by November 19, and to develop 2-3 actions that would make WCU a more inclusive and welcoming climate. The full committee will reconvene on December 6 to discuss the suggestions and themes that will be created. These themes will be forwarded to the president’s cabinet, and the president will announce initiatives in the early spring semester.
Skip Hudson, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Jackie Hodes, the Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs and LGBTQ Services Coordinator, gave a few words after Dr. Rankin’s presentation. Questions were answered about the data and the future of the results.
Hudson and Hodes reported that a copy of the full 270-page report, as well as the executive summary and Dr. Rankin’s PowerPoint presentation, can be found online by clicking on “shared vision” on the WCU homepage, followed by “campus climate survey.” Additionally, a hard copy can be found in both the library and in the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities.
The Office of Student Research and the Campus Climate Intervention Team can assist with the understanding and interpretation of the results.
Students with questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions can contact anyone on the survey committee. A list of committee members can be found on the same website with the results.
Jennifer Halligan is a fourth year student majoring in English with minors in Spanish and gender studies. She can be reached a JH653435@wcupa.edu.