By Elise Harmon, news editor
Northeastern University (NU) will conduct a new campus climate survey this month, a year after conducting a similar questionnaire to gauge student’s experiences with sexual violence and familiarity with resources on campus.
Results for the first survey were released on Sept. 30 after the university responded to pressure from student groups, including NU’s Sexual Health, Advocacy and Education (SHARE) and its subcommittee, the Sexual Assault Response Campaign (SARC), to make reports public.
“The university released the first Campus Climate Survey results in September, along with the commitment to conduct another survey to gather further data about sexual violence on campus and the outcomes from the enhanced prevention efforts,” Renata Nyul, spokesperson for the university, said in an email to The News. “The preparations are underway for the second Campus Climate Survey to take place this month.”
SARC and the university are working together to make changes to the survey, according to Roxanne Anderson, a third-year human services major and SARC member.
“We still haven’t been able to pinpoint a date [that the survey will be released] because we recommended some changes to some of the questions in early November,” she said. “They were actually really happy that we did that and want to make those changes, but in order to make them they have to go through a lot of rounds of getting approved by the Northeastern IRB [Institutional Review Board], so I think it’s taking a little longer than expected.”
SARC suggested several changes to the old survey, including specific questions about respondents’ experiences with sexual assault.
“We really tried to condense some of the questions, because some of them were a little bit repetitive and weren’t really crucial,” Anderson said. “We also wanted to add some questions about prevalence [of sexual assault]. Most of the questions they’ve taken into consideration…I think [the prevalence question] is the only one they’re iffy about.”
Since the release of the previous survey’s results, SARC has attempted to raise awareness of the findings.
“Most people didn’t even know what [the climate survey] was, and that was a big problem,” Nathaniel Hulsey, a junior graphic design and interactive media major who designed a poster and brochure campaign for SARC, said. “Some of my friends saw the email and thought it had something to do with living in a dorm or something.”
The group wants NU to release the raw data for the upcoming survey so they can better analyze what groups need education or help. The data released in September wasn’t comprehensive, Anderson said.
Hulsey created brochures to hand out to the student body that include some of those statistics, including that less than 50 percent of students knew what to do if they or a friend experienced sexual violence.
“My hope is if we can pass out 1,000 of these, we’ll have 1,000 more people who will recognize the name in their inbox,” he said. “If all this campaign did was have people see the email and actually participate in the next survey, that would be a success.”
Photo by Scotty Schenck