Take the campus climate survey, so Brandeis can (hopefully) learn from the results

The Brandeis Hoot encourages all students to take the campus climate survey emailed to the student body this week. The survey will inform the administration anonymously about sexual and relationship violence on campus.

Responses are being accepted until March 22, which leaves two full weeks to take the quick, 20-minute survey. You are able to opt out of any question you do not feel comfortable answering. And it is not without incentive, either—in addition to contributing to valuable data, you have the choice of receiving a $5 Amazon gift card or donate $5 to one of three charities: the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence or the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health.

The data will be collected and analyzed by administrators and hopefully released by the end of this academic year.

It is important for these topics to be brought to light and critically considered by the administration. Many students who have experienced violence or feel unsafe on campus may be unlikely to come forward and share their story otherwise. With an anonymous platform like this survey, students can honestly report their experiences with sexual violence. The results bring awareness to issues that administrators may not realize and hopefully will spur more advocacy and prevention efforts on campus.

But beyond releasing the results, how will the administration use the data to benefit students? A similar campus climate survey was released in 2015, along with its data. Brandeis has seen some changes since 2015, such as the consolidation of PARC (Prevention, Advocacy and Resource Center) from two former offices and increased bystander trainings. But by no means is sexual violence a solved issue on campus. For instance, students continue to experience frustrations with the university’s Title IX and sanctioning process.

After gathering information about sexual violence on campus, how can sexual violence actually be addressed and prevented?

The survey results could inform staff/faculty trainings and community programming. It could suggest the hiring of more PARC and BCC staff. Above all, it should encourage a critical engagement with students’ safety on campus and how advocacy and prevention efforts can more effectively decrease sexual assault.

It is not enough to publicize the survey’s findings. The data is a tool, not an answer. The administration needs to utilize it as a way to prevent sexual violence on campus as well as support survivors.

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