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Response to 2012 Campus Climate Survey - Student Focus Group Report

Date: March 12, 2013

To: Student Focus Group Research Team
Dr. John Arthur, Susana Pelayo-Woodward, Penny Cragun, Angela Nichols, Paula Tracey

From: Campus Climate Leadership Team
Chancellor Lendley Black, Dr. Andrea Schokker, Dr. Bilin Tsai, Dr. Lisa Erwin, Dr. Sue Maher, Amy Jindra, Michael Seymour, Dr. John Arthur, Susana Pelayo-Woodward, Dr. John Hamlin, Lucy Kragness

Re: Response to 2012 Campus Climate Survey - Student Focus Group Report

The Campus Climate Leadership would like to thank you for your report and analysis of the three focus group discussions you conducted during spring 2012. We also want to express our gratitude to the students who courageously voiced what they have experienced on campus and in the community – both the painful incidents in which they have been victims and the encounters that support and advance their success.  The results of this research project capture the experiences and perceptions of GLBT, Disabled and Women students at UMD. This response seeks to convey our commitment to improve the campus environment and embed the values of equity, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the university.  Secondly, it is critical for us to understand and eliminate those elements of our campus climate that exclude, disrespect, and undermine the success of all of our students especially GLBT, Disabled and Women students.  Third, we affirm our intent to use your recommendations to inform future work.

Your findings have strengthened our understanding of what our GLBT, Disabled, and Women students experience on this campus and clearly show that the university needs to accelerate its efforts to realize a campus that is safe and equitable for all who learn and work at UMD. The report presents several specific recommendations in the areas of policy, curriculum, training, education and community partnerships.  These will be delegated to the appropriate vice chancellor who will work with her/his directors and deans to explore new or revised policies, procedures, and programs to reduce the number of incidents that degrade the campus climate

Finally, we wish to describe some of the progress made over the two years within the broad framework of the Campus Climate Initiative. We note that many of these projects align with the recommendations in your report.  Some examples are listed below:

Multicultural Living Community
A Multicultural Living Community (MLC) was created in fall 2011. The MLC is open to incoming first-year freshmen students interested in a multicultural living and learning experience. Students who are chosen for this living/learning community engage in opportunities to explore complex issues of identity and ethnicity, reach into and beyond their own cultural background, and learn about the experiences of others.

The Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity provides training for staff and faculty (Sexual Harassment, Respectful Workplace).  A new Sexual Assault training program is under development for staff members in the UMD offices of the Police, Health Services, Student Conduct, and others. The goals of these trainings are to improve campus climate and to work toward access and inclusion.

PAVSA Advocates
PAVSA advocates will be available on site at UMD on Monday to Friday during WRAC office hours and Monday and Thursday evenings fall and spring semester in the Women’s Resource and Action Center (Kirby Student Center 266) from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Review and Update Policies and Procedures
Considerable work is ongoing in two important areas: reporting incidents that undermine and degrade the campus climate and the academic search process. Revised procedures in both areas have been implemented.  Some examples are the new creation of the Campus Response Team, Sexual Assault Task Force and the new revisions to the Student Conduct Code.

Gender Neutral Bathrooms
The campus has developed the following action plan relating to gender neutral restrooms on campus:
Immediate steps: Provide two gender neutral restrooms on Kirby 3rd floor above the bus hub, Ensure all new capital construction includes at least one gender neutral restroom and ensure all major building remodel projects includes at least one gender neutral restroom.
Short Range Steps: Include at least one gender neutral restroom in the planned Heller Hall renovation project
Medium Range Steps: Include at least one gender neutral restroom in the planned renovations of the following buildings currently on the campus six year plan; Cina Hall, A.B Anderson Hall, Humanities, Marshall W. Alworth Hall and Voss Kovach Hall.
Long Range Steps: Include at least two gender neutral restrooms in the expansion and renovation of Kirby Student Center.

Institutional Response to Hockey Chants
The University has engaged in several efforts to eliminate negative and harmful chants in the student section at UMD men's hockey games. Athletics, Student Life, Finance and Operations and the UMDPD worked together to increase the presence of UMDPD officers at men's hockey games. UMDPD is working directly with students in the student section on defining what is acceptable, and officers have removed students from the student section when engaging in inappropriate chants. The Student Affairs Committee of the Campus Assembly is also engaged in discussions about negative and harmful chants, and has implemented a student survey on the topic this spring. Student participants in the survey are asked to provide information about their attitudes toward negative chants, and their willingness to confront other students engaged in negative chants. These data will inform the Student Affairs Committee recommendations on the issue. Finally, Student Life and Athletics are working with a group of student leaders in the student section on strategies for students to be engaged in positive chants.

A campus Assessment Program has been developed and implemented.  This program calls for biennial climate assessment surveys, one for Faculty and Staff and one for Students.  It also requires analyses of the survey results, campus-wide communication of the findings, and the development of actions to address where the climate falls short of being inclusive, respectful, and supportive. In addition, as we found in the 2011 Student Focus Group Study, the 2012 Study provides a valuable and unique lens into the campus experience that is specific, wide-ranging, and authentic.  We will explore options for incorporating this lens into the campus assessment program.

Performance Evaluation
We are reviewing how performance evaluations for civil service staff, professional and administrative staff, and faculty explicitly value and recognize diversity, equity, and social justice.   This review includes incorporating expectations for contributions toward a more inclusive campus climate and revising annual reports of achievement.

While these initiatives contribute to improving the campus climate, we know there is more work to be done in the areas of education, communication, effective interventions, partnering with campus offices, safety, and the curriculum.


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