At issue: Students not surveyed in new climate survey
Our take: Data is invaluable if we want to see improvement
Earlier this week, the Social Justice Center released the 2017 campus climate survey data. The survey, last conducted in 2014, typically measures how faculty, staff, and students view the inclusivity of Emerson’s community. This year’s, however, does not include student responses.
Director of Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Robert Amelio said administration did not include the student portion due to last semester’s #ThisIsEmerson protests. Many students publicly disapproved of the questionnaire, one student displaying a sign that said “Your surveys will not save us.” It’s true—surveys aren’t in any way a solution to the deep issues of inequality on our campus and beyond. But it’s been four months since then. Having the numbers surrounding important campus issues makes it easier to point to the problems and work toward improvement. It’s time to set a date to gather this data.
Faculty data is important, and the Beacon plans to take a deep delve into the results over the course of this semester. But students comprise a vital portion of Emerson’s campus. Conducting the survey would have provided valuable data that could better the school’s operation. The 2014 survey gave us data to fall back on when discussing a number of issues important to our community. We learned black students were about 20 percent less likely to feel a sense of belonging at Emerson than the student average across demographics. And less than half of all students who took the survey said they felt the college had given them education and training on the prevention of sexual assault. We often still rely on these numbers for context at the Beacon. Without updated data for students, the school can’t quantitatively measure our satisfaction to make the changes we demand.
We understand why the school decided not to conduct the student survey following the protests in the fall, but respectfully disagree with the decision. The data from these surveys is incredibly important to improving campus life. We want to see the school use it to improve. The surveys are not the problem—it’s the subsequent inaction that angers us.
Editor-in-Chief Allison Hagan did not contribute to this article.