Climate survey creates questions and concerns

By on January 30, 2018

By Madison Thompson —

The Climate Diversity Survey and Background from 2014 and 2017 have been released to the public. Together, the documents contain 82 pages of graphed question results.

Despite the data-dense document, no summary was released immediately to discuss the details and interpretation of the data.

No summary is a large oversight and needs to be corrected immediately. The lack of data summary leaves room for misinterpretation of the data.

It also prevents the results from being read accurately. Accurate results are what will assist in changing the future. Students, faculty and staff need to be more well-informed to make decisions.

Another concerning aspect is the survey’s response rate.

Out of the projected audience in 2014 of 5,818 people, only 1,328 people responded. This means about 23 percent of people who received the survey took the time to respond.

Out of the projected audience in 2017 of 6,919 people, only 1,903 people responded. This means about 27 percent people responded.

There is an increase in participation, but is it enough to be representative of the university? No.

About one-fourth of the campus population took time to answer the survey. This is not an extremely generalizable score and, though the results need to be taken into effect, needs to be observed critically.

Another concerning point, other than the lack of summary, is how the questions are arranged.

You can’t jump from very integrated to slightly integrated. There is no middle ground, so it’s logical the vast majority would say either very or slightly because the alternative is not at all or cannot answer.

The first ten pages are mostly vague or confusing questions.

What counts as a ‘disparaging remark’ or ‘discriminatory behavior’? What does that mean outside of the dictionary?

There is no operational definition, which is a specified definition provided by the survey creators, of these terms. It is up to each individual to determine what fits into these categories.

It is hardly fair to create such broad questions and then criticize the few people who say “five or more times” or “unable to answer.”

There needs to be a detailed summary of the results released and future summaries need to be constructed to cater to all degrees of response other than “extremely” or “never.”

Photo by Joseph Lyell / The Louisville Cardinal

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