Loyola’s survey gauging the perception of diversity on campus had a 23 percent response rate, according to an email sent by President Jo Ann Rooney March 29. Results showed overall favorability for Loyola’s efforts toward diversity and inclusion on campus.
The Diversity Campus Climate Survey was implemented last semester to determine how students, faculty and staff felt about diversity on campus, The PHOENIX previously reported.
The survey was sent to the entire Loyola community and was set to run from Oct. 31 to Nov. 30. The deadline to complete the survey was extended from Nov. 17 due to low participation.
Since the survey’s release, some students have alleged racial profiling on campus by Campus Safety officers, and a February incident involving two students of color and Campus Safety sparked protests and demands to hold the university accountable.
In the weeks following, Rooney announced a “community policing curriculum” for Campus Safety officers, body cameras for officers and the creation of a task force to assess the incident, The PHOENIX previously reported.
The university aimed for all invited members of the community to respond and offered incentives for taking the survey, including pizza parties and gift certificates.
The survey had 4,627 total responses. Students made up the majority of responses with 2,811 participants, which is less than twenty percent of the total student body.
The results show the majority of respondents feel positive about Loyola’s mission and commitment to diversity and inclusion.
A detailed breakdown of the survey results showed perceptions of eight categories surveyed: inclusion, mission, collaboration, interpersonal relationships, campus programs, communication, leadership and Loyola’s commitment to concerns.
Some of the reported conclusions were vague. Students rated the university well across multiple survey categories, while some groups reported unfavorable responses in other categories, according to the results.
The survey also showed most respondents feel the Loyola community treats one another with respect and there were opportunities for diversity in leadership.
Questions concerning inclusion received the most favorable response. The results were broken down into other demographics including age, gender and race. The survey’s standards said 70 percent was the benchmark for strong favorability.
Black respondents tended to have less favorability than white respondents. Fewer black respondents reported favorability across all eight categories compared to white respondents, and less than 60 percent of black respondents felt favorable toward communication and leadership.
Favorability between male and female students was roughly equal across all categories.
The university summed up its main strengths such as inclusion and collaboration between students, faculty and staff. Respondents reported they feel the university is committed to helping others and initiating programs to promote diversity. They also reported there are opportunities to improve open communication about concerns on campus.
In her email, Rooney said the university will hold a series of forums throughout the year to further discuss the results of the survey, and information regarding these community forums is expected in the next two weeks.
“We commit to being relentless in our efforts to create a more fair, just and equitable community congruent with Loyola’s mission and values,” Rooney said in her email. “We are confident that united in spirit if not always in opinion, we will develop long-term, sustainable initiatives that increase diversity, support respect for differences and deepen inclusion at Loyola.”
Fernando Silva, 25, said he took the survey and recognized its importance. However, he said he understood students were busy and might not take the time to complete it.
“I think students got a lot of things going on,” the junior political science major said. “Taking a survey that’s not the quickest thing possible is not going to be the first thing on their list, or the tenth thing on their list or the 15th thing on their list. When you offer an incentive like ‘You might get something’ it’s not going to be enough to push them to do that.”
First-year Nikita Mahay said she didn’t take the survey because she didn’t feel she would make a difference.
“I know I don’t take part in [surveys] because my opinion doesn’t really have a say in what the university is going to do anyways,” the 19-year old neuroscience major on the pre-med track said. “I feel like they have their minds set to one thing. They’re not going to change it.”
The results outlined the next steps for the university. These steps include engaging in community-wide forums, identifying resources for strategic focus and reporting progress.
Isabella DiPaolo, 19, said she thinks having a low number of participants won’t reflect what the whole Loyola community thinks.
“If you don’t get a good representation of the mass, then you won’t get a good representation of what the school actually feels,” the sophomore math and education double major said.