October 4, 2018

Preparing for our next climate survey

In April, I wrote with the news that based on the recommendation of an advisory committee of students, faculty and staff, Stanford will be joining the student campus climate survey that will be administered by the Association of American Universities in the spring of 2019.

I want to provide an update on our process to prepare for this survey.

Climate surveys are being used by universities to obtain an assessment of the prevalence of sexual violence and other prohibited conduct in their communities. Stanford’s last climate survey was conducted in 2015. The survey process is confidential and anonymous, and all enrolled undergraduate, graduate and professional students are encouraged to participate.

I appointed a committee of students, faculty and staff to coordinate with the AAU on the design and administration of the spring 2019 survey, as well as to develop strategies for maximizing the participation of Stanford students. We truly want every Stanford student to participate, in order to get the best possible understanding of these issues on our campus.

The committee members already were hard at work this summer, and they will be continuing their work throughout the year. Students will be hearing more from the committee over the course of this academic year as the survey draws closer.

The members of this committee are:

• Martin Alcaraz, an undergraduate junior in bioengineering
• Mike Baiocchi, assistant professor of medicine, Stanford Prevention Research Center
• Rachel Green, a J.D. candidate at Stanford Law School
• Hannah Kukurugya, an undergraduate sophomore
• Clea Sarnquist, senior research scholar, Global Child Health Program, Department of Pediatrics
• Meghan Warner, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology

In addition, the staff co-chairs of the committee are Brian Cook, director of assessment and program evaluation in our Institutional Research & Decision Support office; and Lauren Schoenthaler, senior associate vice provost for Institutional Equity & Access.

As I wrote in April, it is important to understand that participating in a national survey with a consortium of AAU institutions limits our ability to tailor the survey with Stanford-specific questions. However, I want to encourage our campus community, and particularly students, to contact the committee if you have questions about the survey or input about how it will be administered on our campus. You can send email to the committee at climate-survey@stanford.edu. That address will share your message directly with all members of the committee.

For postdoctoral scholars in our community: You will note that the AAU consortium will not include postdocs in this survey effort. Please know, however, that VPGE is continuing to work with postdocs to ensure their voices are heard on this and many other important issues.

I want to add a few other points about Stanford’s continuing efforts to confront sexual violence. Preventing and responding effectively to sexual violence continues to be a critical priority for our community, and it remains one of my personal priorities as provost.

First, you may have read this summer that the U.S. Department of Education will be proposing new guidelines for how universities address sexual violence in their communities. I want to assure you, as I have stated previously, that nothing is changing in Stanford’s process at this time, and our policies will continue to vigorously combat sexual assault. Once the Department of Education formally issues its proposed guidelines and opens a comment period on them, the university will participate and will share its comments publicly.

Second, we continue to have an oversight committee of faculty and students working to address issues and improve our Title IX Process. That committee continues to welcome your feedback. Also, later this year we will be issuing the next installment of our annual Title IX/Sexual Harassment Report, providing data on all cases of sexual violence and sexual harassment and their outcomes at Stanford.

Finally, please know that whenever you are looking for support related to sexual violence, there are professional staff at Stanford ready to help. If you are in need of that support, or if you simply are seeking additional information about our resources and policies, please visit our Sexual Violence Support & Resources website.