June 5, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 72°F


Editorial: Campus climate surveys are essential for a change

Campus climate surveys are meant to review the atmosphere of a particular college by providing an opportunity for campus community members to voice their opinions. The survey is supposed to mainly cover the Title IX Coordinator’s role, how to report violence and abuse, available resources and the definition of affirmative consent. However, these surveys are easier said than done. Because of the little information out there about climate surveys and the repercussions for their lack of occurrence, some colleges do not give the survey much importance. Ithaca College had its last survey done in 2016 despite the fact that the federal law requires at least an every-other-year occurrence. Not continuously conducting the survey does not allow for progress to be noticed, thus disallowing for change to be made. 

Another drawback that climate surveys face is the lack of diverse voices in predominantly white institutions. The questions and formatting of the survey are left to each college to design, which leaves a huge window for PWIs to do whatever they wish with the survey. 

The anonymity of the climate surveys is another silencing tool. Even though it is for safety reasons, the anonymity reduces the viable speech of campus community members. In order to stay anonymous, many members will have to hide their identities in their answers. 

Similar issues raised in climate surveys are noticed all around the country. So, even though it is up to each college to make a change, the problem must be viewed as a national matter. The law of survey tactics needs improvements too, like broader viewpoints, which will allow campus members to raise their concerns more openly and fearlessly. Climate surveys could potentially have a successful impact if surveys were regulated and served the goal of seriously improving the concerns raised by campus communities all around the country.

The Ithacan can be reached at ithacan@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @IthacanOnline