Survey to assess campus attitudes

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Saint Louis University’s Student Government Association announced an upcoming campus-wide survey intended to assess the University’s campus climate. The Climate Assessment Committee is developing the survey.
The CAC is a nine-member committee comprising representatives from Faculty Senate, Staff Advisory Committee, SGA and the administration. The committee met for the first time on Feb. 25 and was formed as a response to the continued conflict between faculty, student and administrative groups.
Development of the assessment is nearing completion. It will be conducted by Psychological Associates, an independent third-party organization, and is meant to help inform the Board of Trustees about general campus opinions regarding the University as a whole.
“The purpose of this process is to provide the Board with a holistic understanding of the interests and concerns of the faculty, staff and student communities within the University,” Board of Trustees President Thomas Brouster said in his Feb. 11 message to the university.
There will be separate assessments sent out to faculty, staff and students, each informed by their respective representatives on the CAC. However each survey will have similar core questions and elements of focus, according to SGA President Blake Exline.
“As the University community will see, the survey is attempting to identify the climate and, in part, the reasons for discontent at the University as reflected in the no confidence votes by both the SGA and FS,” Mark Kneupfer, Faculty Senate president, said.
The data gathered from the climate assessment surveys are to provide crucial information for the Board during their May meeting.
The responsibilities of the CAC do not include taking specific action to address campus issues. According to joint communication from Brouster and Knuepfer in December, the three charges of the group include selecting an independent party to conduct the survey, developing appropriate questions to be used in the survey and reviewing and presenting the results to the various representative bodies at the University.
Knuepfer and Trustee Pat Sly are currently serving as co-chairs of the committee. The process will be repeated annually to maintain an accurate understanding of “the overall health of the University,” according to the joint communication.
“We look forward to this attempt by the Board to assess the sentiments of the entire University community,” Knuepfer said. “We understand that they are actively engaged in ensuring the long term success of the University above all other concerns.”
“The committee’s discussions have been collaborative and thoughtful,” Exline said. “I can say that the student voice has been heard on matters relating to the assessment.”
Faculty Senate representatives publicly clashed with the SLU administration throughout the fall 2012 semester on the issues of shared governance and a “climate of fear.”
There remain standing votes of no confidence in President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., made by the Faculty Senate and SGA on Oct. 30 and Nov. 1, respectively. Both groups contend through their no-confidence votes that Biondi is no longer fit to maintain his role as president and ought to be removed by the Board.