Climate Survey Reflects 80% of Students are "Very Comfortable" on Campus
Marist College has released its annual Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living, and Working Survey. The Climate Survey found that a majority of students feel "very comfortable" on campus, marking 80% — but the findings are characterized by comfortability variations within specific demographics.
“Climate was defined as the current attitudes, behaviors, and standard of faculty, staff, administrators, and students - as well as the campus environment and university policies - that influence the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential,” the executive summary stated.
There were 2,339 community members who participated by completing the Assessment of Climate for Learning, Living, and Working survey. The assessment represented 29% of the Marist College community.
Each breakdown identification is how the executive summary describes the demographics.
Of those who completed the assessment, 66.4% were women, 31.7% were men, .9% are on the “trans-spectrum”, according to the report, and .9% excluded gender identification. Furthermore, 5.2% were Latinx/Hispanic, 4.5% Black/African American, 4.3% Additional People of Color, 76% White, 8.1% Multicultural, and 2% excluded their race or ethnicity. Another demographic taken was sexual identity, where 5% identify as LGQ+, 87.2% Heterosexual, 4.6% Bisexual, and 3.2% opted out of answering or their identification was not listed.
The survey found that 80% of respondents were either “very comfortable” or “comfortable” with the climate at Marist. While Marist seems to have a great response rate, when breaking the information down into demographics, the data shows some demographics are more comfortable with the climate of the campus than others.
However, 48% of Trans-spectrum respondents stated that had experience “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive, and/or hostile conduct within the past year.” Of the females responded 20% and 14% of male responded, stated they had similar experiences. To break that down further, 60% of the Trans-spectrum respondents, 18% of the women, and 8% of the men stated this conduct was because of their gender identification.
Of the Multiracial students, 27%, compared to 17% of white residents, said they have experienced “exclusionary, intimating, offensive, and/or hostile conduct,” according to the summary. The summary then goes on to state, “Black/African American respondents, Latinx/Hispanic residents, and Additional Respondents of Color did not differ significantly from other groups by racial identity.”
According to the summary, the survey allowed for students to elaborate on their experiences. One of the most common responses in elaboration to feeling hostile conduct as previously mentioned had to do with challenges in feeling a sense of belonging with “exclusionary conduct in the form of racism.”
Only 12% of Black/African American respondents, 16% of Multiracial respondents, 17% of Latinx/Hispanic respondents said they were “very comfortable” with the climate of Marist.
The assessment also showed that fewer women responded that they were “very comfortable" with the climate of the community.
In regards to the climate of classrooms, fewer student and faculty of color responded to be “very comfortable” than white students and faculty by 9% in regards to the climate in classrooms. While 22% of LGQ of respondents said they were “very comfortable” in the classroom, 35% of heterosexual respondents said they were “very comfortable.”
Another area the climate assessment survey focused on was unwanted sexual conduct. The assessment report concluded that 10% of respondents had indicated unwanted sexual conduct/contact while at Marist. With that, 1% reported they experience relationship violence, 2% experience stalking, 6% experience sexual interaction, which was described in the report to be catcalling, harassment or repeated sexual advances, and 3% experience unwanted sexual contact, which was described as “fondling, rape, sexual assault, penetration without consent.”
According to the assessment report, “The primary rationale cited for not reporting these incidents was that the incidents were no severe enough to merit reporting. Other rationales included fears associated with the reporting process and a lack of faith in the outcomes of reporting.”
The assessment did not break down unwanted sexual conduct by demographics.
Of everyone who completed the survey, 69.9% were undergraduate students; 4.5% were graduate students; 10.7%were faculty; and 14.9% where administrators/staff.
The assessment cites that this goal for this survey and analysis is to guide their future decision making regarding policies at the college. The school lays three goals for this survey, as stated in the report. First, identify successful initiatives. Second, identify challenges that face community members. Third, develop initiatives to build on success, address challenges, and create lasting positive change. The survey was promoted from Oct. 16 through Nov. 16, 2018.