Trinity conducts campus climate survey over sexual assault alongside partner universities

As national discussion continues on sexual assault across college campuses, Trinity, as part of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium has put together a campus-climate survey regarding sexual assault. The survey, which ends at 10:59 on Feb. 12 asks students various questions about sexual assault, including the availability of information on campus and questions regarding actual incidents.

Diane Saphire, associate vice president for information resources and Trinity’s HEDS representative noted the origins of the survey amidst national discussion.

“There has been a lot of national coverage of sexual assault on campuses. The President, in the spring of last year, appointed a commission to study the issue of sexual assault of students,” Saphire said. “The number one step the commission recommended was to do a campus climate survey to try and understand what is the climate of your campus.”

The presidential report, titled “Not Alone” and put forth in April of 2014, made note of the issues facing the country and how to prevent sexual assault.

According to the executive summary, “The first step in solving a problem is to name it and know the extent of it.”

Saphire also noted the involvement of the other schools in the consortium, and how such involvement would allow for better usage of resources.

“We are not doing this alone, we are a member of the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium and that consortium is a group of around 120 schools similar to Trinity,” Saphire said. “There is a lot of discussion in that group about how we put our resources together here and instead of everybody going off and trying to do their own surveys can we pool our resources.”

Regarding the data findings from the survey, it will be a while before all the schools conduct the survey and get the information back, Saphire stated.

“We were one of the earliest ones; other members will not be doing theirs until later in the spring,” Saphire said. “The last school will not finish taking this survey until the end of April so we will probably get [the information] sometime over the summer.”

Regarding the next steps,  noted how the information and data will be used, and how working in a larger group will allow for better results and discussions.

“The questions will be: How can we best make use of this data? I think there will be discussion about how we can use this information to improve our campus climate,” Saphire said. “One thing that this survey is going to provide us that no other schools will have, other than these HEDS schools, that we have agreed to share our summary data which is a big statement to the trust they have in other members of the consortium so we will have comparative information with other institutions.”

Saphire noted that such trust will allow for better opportunities for all the schools, who can learn from one another.

“It will allow us to gauge what schools are doing a really good job in some areas. There is an opportunity for us to learn from those schools, what they are doing that we can adopt on our campus as well,” Saphire said.