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To acquire wisdom, one must observe

Univ. opens survey to assess diversity and equity climate on campus

LeManuel Bitsóí—Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion—wrote to community members inviting them to participate in a survey regarding the institutional climate on campus, according to an email sent on Nov. 2. The survey will be assessing diversity and equity on the Brandeis campus. 

“Your participation in this research will inform Brandeis leadership about the current climate at Brandeis, both points of pride and areas for improvement,” wrote Bitsóí to community members. 

Bitsóí explained that climate refers to the current trends and attitudes on campus regarding the experiences of both individuals and groups. The university will take the results of the survey to interpret the institutional climate on various levels on campus. 

The university performs this survey as a way “to create an environment characterized by openness, fairness and equal access for all students, staff and faculty,” wrote Bitsóí. The survey results will be interpreted to determine trends on perceptions of the university’s climate, perceptions of how the university supports diversity, equity and inclusion and experiences with discrimination and harassment in the Brandeis community.  

The data can then be used by the administration “to inform the development of strategic plans across the university aimed to achieve a more equitable and inclusive campus environment,” Bitsóí wrote. 

Community members are encouraged by the administration to take the survey in one sitting, though if individuals decide to exit the survey their responses from previous pages will be saved, according to the email. Though in the event that community members exit the page, their responses may be lost. Attached in the email is a single-use link that cannot be shared without community members. 

The data collected from the survey will be handled by the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS)—a non-profit organization, composed of universities and colleges that share data, knowledge and expertise, according to their webpage. In the email shared with community members, Bitsóí noted that responses would remain confidential by HEDS when they process the data. HEDS will only be sharing the results with the office of Institutional Research (IR), the data shared will be anonymized. Bitosoi noted that taking the survey is entirely voluntary but the feedback is “critical.” 

If a community member wishes to report an incident of discrimination or harassment, they can report it to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO), according to the email. The email includes a link to the reporting page, though the link will also be made available to community members once they submit their survey answers. 

Attached to the email is also the option for students to opt-out from submitting to the survey. Bitsóí wrote to community members, “Thank you in advance for your contribution to this vital project.”

The university has help other Campus Climate surveys including a Campus Climate survey on Sexual Harassment. A survey was sent to community members in spring 2022, to assess Sexual Harassment climate on campus, according to a previous Brandeis Hoot article. The results of this survey will be posted soon, according to the university’s webpage. The last shared results on the climate of Sexual Harassment on campus was from 2019, according to the university’s webpage.

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