University releases first-ever cultural climate survey

February 26, 2020

Georgetown has launched its first-ever Cultural Climate Survey to provide the administration with data on diversity and inclusion on campus in order to improve campus culture in the future. The survey is approximately 20 minutes long and will stay open until March 24. 

University President John DeGioia sent an invitation to the undergraduate and graduate student body on Feb. 24 asking them to participate in the survey. This email followed the announcement of the survey on Feb. 19 by Rosemary Kilkenny, the university’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion and chief diversity officer.

“The survey will ask [students] about diversity and identity across various dimensions, including race, ethnicity, faith, sexuality, ability, gender, and other backgrounds,” DeGioia’s email said. “[It] will provide opportunities for [students] to reflect on different campus settings across the student experience.”

The creation of the survey is in part a response to demands made by university student government. GUSA president Norman Francis said that GUSA’s push for a racial cultural climate survey coincided with the administration being ready for it. According to Francis, the data the university currently has is non-specific and qualitative. He advocated for more detailed information that would help initiate actions that could improve how inclusive campus is. 

“People have been asking for a racial climate survey for a long time,” Francis said. “[One] assessing the climate of the campus and finding a way to quantify the amount of displeasure, and distress, and basically how a lot of other students are feeling that don’t necessarily fit the stereotype of a typical Georgetown student.”

According to Kilkenny, they worked with students to create the survey. “The goal of the survey is to help the university identify things we are doing well as well as areas of concern,” Kilkenny wrote. “Students, including GUSA, have been encouraging this type of survey for several years, and we are grateful to have been able to work with them to officially launch this year.”

Participation in the survey is voluntary and responses are anonymous. Through the emails and a large banner at the top of Canvas’s homepage, the university is aiming to get a high response rate. Kilkenny told the Voice in a statement that the survey is meant to encompass every facet of campus. “We want to hear from all segments of our student community—all voices are important to shape the full picture of our environment on campus,” she said.

According to Kilkenny, the survey is meant to indicate to the administration how they can orient their policies, practices, and resources to better respond to student needs. 

The university is hoping to use the data collected from the survey to guide them on how to create a more inclusive community. “The university is prepared to acknowledge both positive and critical comments about our community,” Kilkenny wrote. “[It] intends to collaborate with students and colleagues to enhance the educational and co-curricular experiences of all students.”

Each student is able to take the survey only once through the personal link sent in DeGioia’s email.

The Georgetown community at large should expect to be informed of the survey’s result in fall 2020.

Inès de Miranda
Inès graduated from Georgetown in May 2020. During her time at the Voice, she served as chair of the Editorial Board and wrote for most sections.


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