University should opt for discussion over surveys

Students and faculty received the results Friday of the Climate Survey administered by the University, which asked respondents a series of questions about their thoughts on the overall atmosphere of the University, and the numbers gathered by it were certainly unimpressive. The survey was meant to serve simply as a starting point to gauge perceptions of the University at all campuses.

Across nearly every category, the results showed only a slightly positive rating (just above three on a scale of one to five). Even then, this isn’t very telling because only 10.5 percent of the original frame of 106,286 staff, students and faculty completed the survey. Moreover, the design of the survey is not representative of the University such that the survey’s participants were self-selected instead of being chosen randomly. This, of course, is a statistical innaccuracy. Perhaps a focus group could help secure respondents.

Yes, the University’s administration is taking an initiative to ask students questions about subjects they may be far-removed to answer accurately themselves, but it has accomplished almost nothing.

Even if the information was something useful, the way it was disseminated was ineffective: If so few students, faculty and staff completed the survey, the likelihood they would read the results is the same. The masses are not reading the massmails.

The University is looking to improve its campuses, but a survey that asks if students like their respective campus doesn’t give much clue on how to fix any problems. Without a doubt, improvements are needed. Just on this campus, several buildings look as if they haven’t been renovated or repaired in decades, housing isn’t the most ideal and more diversity could be promoted.

People are not interested in a survey or its nearly inconclusive result. They would prefer a discussion. When students know what’s going on around them, they will care, and the University will find the real responses they want.