Campus Climate Survey Unveiled at Le Moyne

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Campus Climate Survey Unveiled at Le Moyne

Bennie Williams (left) and Shukri Sharif (right), board members for the climate survey, pose beside survey announcement.

Bennie Williams (left) and Shukri Sharif (right), board members for the climate survey, pose beside survey announcement.

Bennie Williams (left) and Shukri Sharif (right), board members for the climate survey, pose beside survey announcement.

Bennie Williams (left) and Shukri Sharif (right), board members for the climate survey, pose beside survey announcement.

Kelli Tierney, Staff Writer

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Le Moyne College has initiated an anonymous climate survey that encourages students and campus members to share their experiences and concerns.

The Campus Climate Survey, which opened Oct. 22, is an online assessment to provide students, faculty, and staff with an outlet to voice their concerns and speak up about their experiences on campus. The confidential survey encourages suggestions regarding improvements that could be made to make the campus feel more accommodating, as well as the vocalization of opinions on any issues that need to be brought to light.

“I know as students sometimes it feels like decisions are made for us and hardly made by us, so this is a wonderful way to do just that,” says junior Shukri Sharif, who acts as the voice for undergrad students on the Climate Survey Working Group board.

The board, a panel of faculty and students, has worked to initiate the survey on campus. The group, consisting of 16 people, met regularly for about a year prior to the survey, working to adapt questions to Le Moyne’s specific climate. The board held focus groups of students and faculty, who met with facilitators and discussed their experiences at the college to help them best build the survey. The group is dedicated to continuing the momentum after the results of the survey come in, with plans to act on whatever issues and concerns are raised, explains Bennie Williams, director of the Inclusive Excellence and Global Education office.

Williams said he does not expect to be surprised by the results of the survey. Instead, he views it as a push for the college to take action on conversations that have already been had.

“We’ve got to stop talking, and we have to move,” Williams said. “We all have so many different identities, and we want to make sure that your identities are valued and that you see yourself in the college in some form or fashion.”

Linda LeMura, president of Le Moyne, had mentioned the introduction of the survey in a previous email sent out to campus members. LeMura’s email addressed the Theta Tau incident that occurred at Syracuse University in the spring of 2018, in which a group of students were filmed making derogatory statements towards multiple groups of people. LeMura mentioned a climate survey as an action to be taken in response to the video, in order to “assess our progress on diversity and inclusion.”

To ensure privacy and encourage candor, the survey will be conducted and analyzed by a third-party organization, Rankin & Associates Consulting, who will then report back to Le Moyne with the survey results. All information submitted in the survey is confidential, and Le Moyne College will not have access to the names or information of anyone who completes it, according to philosophy professor Tabor Fisher.

After the completion of the survey, Le Moyne will host a forum open to all campus members, where Sue Rankin, of Rankin & Associates, will reveal the results and provide the college with an action plan, according to Fisher. The date of the forum is not yet known.

“It’s a wonderful commitment on the part of the leadership,” said Fisher, who is also assistant to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. “They know that we’re not going to hear that it’s all rainbows and roses here. They’re going to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly, and they’re going to have to deal with it. And they’re prepared to do that.”

Board members urge all campus community members who are able to complete the survey to do so, regardless of whether or not they have specific experiences they wish to voice. Completing the survey puts students who do not face any firsthand difficulty on campus in the position to identify as allies to underrepresented student populations, says Williams.

The climate assessment will remain open until Nov. 15. The survey can also be completed on paper at the Provost office.