Editorial: Campus Climate Assessment questions are invasive, unnecessary

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Editorial: Campus Climate Assessment questions are invasive, unnecessary

Photo credit: The Maroon

Photo credit: The Maroon

Photo credit: The Maroon

Photo credit: The Maroon

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At the beginning of the spring semester Father Wildes sent out an email discussing future plans to assess “Loyola’s climate,” explaining “Climate is our learning, living, and working environment.”

Students didn’t hear anything else until Oct. 3, when Interim Provost David Borofsky sent out an email with a link to a survey and a brief explanation saying it was part of the climate assessment.

Two weeks later, on Oct. 17, Honors students got an update thanks to Honors College director Naomi Yavneh. That update gave the university participation rate – a whopping 8 percent.

Why so low?

Was it apathy? A dying use of email? A pure campus disdain by the student body?

The answer is probably none of those.

One need look no further than the survey itself, which doesn’t even include the option to select psychology – psychology – as a major.

Psychology – the second-largest major on Loyola’s campus, according to the most recent University Fact Book.

And it’s not just the exclusion of this major that brings the legitimacy of this survey into question.

The survey itself felt incomplete. With all of the people on the Campus Climate Assessment Committee, it was shocking to see how so many issues with the survey overlooked.

The survey states that omitting answers for 50 percent of the questions will result in responses being discarded. If I was a psychology major filling out the survey, the question concerning my major could be the tipping point of whether or not my answers will be reviewed.

Many students also felt uncomfortable with the questions, with some seeming pretty invasive.

Just look at some.

Were you sexually assaulted? Better be ready to share all your details in the survey. Citizenship status? Your Campus Climate Committee wants to know. Parents’ education? Hey Loyola, don’t you already have this information?

So…anyone see an issue with this?

The argument administrators make is that these questions are necessary to see if people feel comfortable enough to talk about these issues.

Well, it looks like they have their answer.

Maybe, just maybe, there is such a low turnout because of invasive, unnecessary and nonsensical questions. One would think the Campus Climate Committee would have realized this and reassessed its approach by now.

But – no. Instead, a “survey party” was organized, where students could share the experience of filling out a survey for half an hour together, with food and refreshments.

And hey, while they’re at it, maybe they could discuss how an agnostic, atheist or non-spiritual person is supposed to answer the religious identity question. Side note: one of the options for this question is “secular humanist.” How many people know what that even means?

Bottom line: Loyola seems to think this survey will provide an accurate view of the campus’ vibe.

With only a tiny fraction of it answering, though, that will not be possible.

And given the nature of the questions, it should be no surprise that this survey has floated like a lead balloon with the student body.

But if you want to answer the survey, there is still time – it’s available until Nov. 3.

Unless you’re one of the 200+ psychology majors on campus, of course. And if Loyola decides to send out another survey in the future, it might be helpful to consult one of them. Maybe they could help with the questions.

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