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Campus climate surveys to provide insight on University attitudes, experiences

| Friday, November 11, 2016

On Oct. 25, Erin Hoffmann Harding, Vice President for Student Affairs, sent out an email to all students with a link to the Fall 2016 Sexual Conduct and Campus Climate Questionnaire. According to the email, the study — administered by the Office of Strategic Planning & Institutional Research (OSPIR) — is “intended to assess the knowledge base, experiences and perceptions of Notre Dame students in relation to sexual harassment.” The email also included resources for those who have seen or been the victim of sexual harassment.

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A follow-up email from OSPIR informed students that a variety of rewards (including one $400 gift card to the Notre Dame Bookstore, one full year of reserved parking on campus, a semester of Saint Michael’s Laundry service, and 50 smaller prizes of $50 Domer Dollars each) would be randomly distributed to students who had taken the survey.

Both emails said all survey responses are strictly confidential.

Deputy Title IX coordinator Heather Ryan offered additional information on the questionnaire in an email interview.

“The Fall 2016 Sexual Conduct and Campus Climate Questionnaire … marks the third time such a survey was administered at the University,” she said. “It incorporates much of the Fall 2012 and Spring 2015 instruments, continuing to examine student community culture, resource needs and understanding, barriers to reporting and experience with intervention strategies.”

She added that the fall 2016 questionnaire is very similar to the 2012 and 2015 questionnaires, with minor changes

“With each administration, we adjust the wording on questions to make them as clear and understandable as possible,” she said.“Over the last two administrations, we have added questions related to dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.”

Christine Caron Gebhardt, director of the Gender Relations Center (GRC), said in an email that the data is shared with the Committee for Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP) for analysis.

“The assessment sub-committee of CSAP looks for trends and patterns in the data to discern areas for growth as well as areas of improvement,” she said. “The sub-committee then conducts focus group sessions with students to obtain further information about survey responses and to learn from various perspectives on how to proceed in addressing student concerns and needs.”

According to the University’s Annual Safety Report for main campus, there were 12 reports of rape in 2015, compared to 15 in 2014 and 10 in 2013.

Gebhardt said she envisions a campus where students never need to worry about sexual assault or harassment. She said the survey was “an important opportunity to learn about student experience and needs, as well as student thoughts on what can be done to achieve our goal of having a campus environment free from sexual harassment and sexual violence.”

She said that the report on the questionnaire and any recommendations from the CSAP are expected to be released in the spring semester of 2017.

Ryan asked students to direct any questions regarding completing the survey, filing a report or identifying available resources to her at [email protected]edu or 574-631-7728.

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

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