In early March, the University of Alaska will participate in a Title IX survey released to generate an overall understanding of how the university system is doing when it comes to making sure students feel safe. The campus climate survey will give the University of Alaska understanding of campus safety, education and services, and outreach options from both student and faculty perspectives.
“It is a safety survey that gauges the appropriateness of our campus’s attitudes and responses to sexual assault,” said UAA Title IX director Marva Watson.
The survey will be distributed by email to a random 50 percent of all students and staff over age 18 — which is approximately 15,000 people across the state. The survey is confidential. Watson said anonymity, as well as privacy, is “of paramount concern.”
Only results from groups of at least 15 individuals will be compiled, with information that is not traceable. This process protects the identity and privacy of the survey respondents. In addition to being confidential and anonymous, the survey is also voluntary. Participants are forewarned, however, that some of the questions on the survey are explicit and may be upsetting. In this case, one may object to taking the survey or even quit at any point after having started the survey.
The survey will be distributed across the state to all of the campuses in the University Alaska system. This means the results of the survey will be compiled as a total system, rather than as individual campuses.
Carla Beam, University Relations Vice President, reinforced the importance of protecting respondent privacy.
“It’s important we protect the privacy of the students taking the survey. In our rural campuses the size of the schools are very small and those students might feel uncomfortable knowing that the data compiled are on the individual campus,” Beam said.
To protect the anonymity of the students, the survey is statewide in scope, rather than campus-specific. One downside to this approach is that the results won’t reflect exactly what each individual campus needs to focus on.
In light of this, Beam clarified the intent of the survey and said it is a “climate survey and is only supposed to give a general idea of the topic.”
To tackle issues close to home, individual campus Title IX coordinators are meeting weekly with student services and other offices to determine improvements that might be used for UAA specifically.
Computer science major Christie Greinier thinks the survey will be beneficial for the university community.
“With all the stuff in the news recently, you can’t feel completely safe on campus. I think it’s important for students and faculty to know the resources the university offers in those types of situations,” Greinier said.
The campus climate survey is being administered through the Statewide Office of Institutional Research and should be released sometime in early March.