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Q&A about BYU's campus climate survey on diversity and equity

BYU is conducting a campus climate survey on diversity and equity as part of an ongoing effort to respond to the call from leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for educational institutions to “review processes, laws and organizational attitudes regarding racism and root them out.”

The survey, created by the national Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium, was sent to students, faculty and staff on Tuesday, October 13.

Conducting research regarding perceptions of diversity and equity within the BYU community will provide the university with vital information that will guide its efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable campus.

Rosemary Thackeray, Assistant to the President for Assessment and Planning, has been working with the Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging to prepare the survey. She talked with University Communications’ Natalie Ipson about how this survey will help the university better understand the campus climate on the issue of diversity and equity.

How does a campus survey help efforts to root out racism at a university?
Understanding our campus community’s perceptions of how BYU supports diversity and equity, and their experiences with discrimination and harassment is vital to creating effective plans to improve our campus climate.

Have other universities done this?
Several universities associated with the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS) have used this same survey. It is a common practice among many universities to survey their communities on these matters.

Why is it happening now?
We have been talking about this type of climate survey for several months. We waited until the middle of fall semester so that students would have time to adjust to and experience campus life.

How many students will participate?
We are surveying all students taking six or more credits this fall. All of those students will receive the survey through an email link. In addition, faculty, staff, and administrators are invited and encouraged to respond.

Our institutional assessment office tells us that they typically get a 50-percent response rate when they survey our student body. We are hoping to get at least that or higher. We hope the campus community wants to help us address this issue by participating in the survey.

What if someone doesn’t receive an invitation to take the survey?
All full and part-time employees, and students who are day-eligible taking 6 or more credits should have received a survey invite. If you did not, please check your junk or spam folder. If you did not receive the invite, please email with your BYUID to verify you should have received an email. The survey invitation will be re-sent to you. You will also receive a reminder next week so be watching for that email too.

Will the results be made public?
Initially, the results will be used by the BYU President’s Council and the Committee on Race, Equity and Belonging to make recommendations for improving the campus experience.

Will this be a one-time survey or a recurring thing?
We have not made plans beyond this year. However, we anticipate that a review of the campus climate will become part of our regular assessment cycle.