Understanding student experience
PARC Peer Advocate Alison Hagani ’22 explains the Campus Climate Survey
Brandeis launched its second Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Violence on March 5. The anonymous survey — sponsored by the Office of Provost and the Division of Student Affairs — seeks to understand how sexual violence manifests in the Brandeis community. An individualized link to the survey was sent to every undergraduate and graduate students’ Brandeis email and will be active until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 22.
“The survey asks a lot of personal and specific questions about behaviors you might have seen or experienced, as well as questions about intervening, reporting and supporting survivors,” shared Sarah J. Berg, director of the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center and one of the principal investigators on the survey. “They are tough to think about, but the more open students can be about their experiences the better we can hope to address them.”
By asking students to provide information on their identities, the University also seeks to better understand which populations are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence. Each section of the survey allows for open-ended student input, enabling all students to share more specifics about their experiences and interactions, if comfortable. All students’ responses are anonymous and a student can choose to skip any questions.
Brandeis released its first Campus Climate survey in 2015 after the Obama Administration’s Department of Education encouraged colleges across the country to do so as part of an effort to combat widespread sexual violence on college campuses. Using the data from the 2015 survey, the University was able to determine how to better distribute and implement resources on campus. After the survey, Brandeis provided more substantive measures to combat sexual violence: the Office of Graduate Student Affairs helped extend Title IX training to include all new graduate students, and PARC developed workshops on bystander intervention and consent that are mandatory for student leaders, athletes, and more. Since then, Violence Prevention Educators at PARC continue to create and run educational trainings. “Our most widely-run training is called ‘Deis Won’t Just Roll With It,’” explained Prevention Educator Lexi Foman ’21. “It discusses the roots of violence and teaches ways to be a prosocial bystander. We are always trying to improve and increase violence prevention education and make sure that every member of the Brandeis community has the tools and skills to combat sexual and relationship violence.”
Similarly, the results from the 2019 Campus Climate will be carefully analyzed by select staff members from the Office of Planning and Institutional Research and by the principal investigators for the climate study: Berg, as well as Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dr. Mark Brimhall-Vargas and Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Kim Godsoe. Results will then be shared with the Brandeis community and be used to guide campus-wide improvements.
The survey’s sponsors believe that participation in the Campus Climate Survey can have both individual and collective benefits. After the completion of the survey, every student can either receive a $5 gift card to Amazon or make a $5 donation to one of three nonprofits: the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, REACH Beyond Domestic Violence in Waltham, or the Violence Recovery Program at Fenway Health in Boston. Additionally, students can use this anonymous platform to share experiences that they might otherwise not be comfortable sharing. Beyond this, students can also contribute knowledge that will allow Brandeis to provide resources that better address the issue. PARC is just one of many resources on campus that will improve as a result of the data. “We would also see how much faith students have in university resources, especially students of marginalized communities,” Peer Advocate Tanashya Batra ’21 said. “We want to make our office open, accessible and helpful to everyone.”
If you have any questions or input regarding the Campus Climate Survey, reach out to PARC Director Sarah J. Berg. If you or another member of the Brandeis community whom you know have questions or would like additional support with concerns related to sexual or relationship violence, please contact the PARC at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website www.brandeis.edu/parc, or stop by the office in Usdan (room 108). PARC advocates can also be reached via phone 24/7 at 781-736-3370.