Student Senate gets campus diversity climate survey update

Assistant+Vice+President+for+Academic+Affairs+Kaye+Monk-Morgan+answers+a+question+about+the+Diversity+and+Inclusion%27s+Climate+Survey+during+the+SGA+meeting+held+on+Wednesday%2C+March+4%2C+2020.

Selena Favela

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Kaye Monk-Morgan answers a question about the Diversity and Inclusion's Climate Survey during the SGA meeting held on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Kaye Monk-Morgan and Director of Operations for Diversity and Community Engagement Deanna Carrithers gave the Student Senate an update on the results of this year’s Diversity and Inclusion climate survey at Wednesday’s meeting.  

The survey’s key objective was to find out how stakeholders perceive Wichita State’s campus climate, specifically when it comes to diversity and inclusion. The university aims to build off of information from this survey to achieve “inclusive excellence.”

The survey had 2,447 respondents. Two-thirds of respondents were WSU students and the remaining third were faculty and staff.

An almost identical survey was completed in 2016. The only difference in the 2019 survey was additional questions around food insecurity, housing insecurity, and safety.

 Monk-Morgan said the survey was being administered during two crucial events at the university.

 “Two things happened while this study was in the field,” Monk-Morgan said. “One of which was a fraternity incident. . . involving our hispanic fraternities and a [flag] football game. It was a pretty high profile conversation that was being had on campus about incidents of bias.

 “The other thing that was happening at the same time was the campus referendumon making modifications to . . . the business building.”

 Monk-Morgan said she believes that those two events were a major factor when it came to community responses to the survey.

 The 2019 survey found that while the overall satisfaction with WSU remains high among faculty and students, students feel less comfortable on campus than they did in 2016. More people report having experienced discrimination than they did in 2016, but many felt the incidents were not worth reporting.

 Monk-Morgan said there were four main recommendations that came out of this survey.

 “[The recommendations were to] provide students and staff with additional means of . . . conflict resolution, examining ways to make campus facilities more accessible. I think those two things really speak to what was in the atmosphere at the time,” Monk-Morgan said. “[And] consider ways of supporting students with mental health conditions and making clear to the WSU community that this school is welcoming to students and staff from all backgrounds.”

 Carrithers said they are always working to make WSU a more diverse and inclusive campus.

 “Good news and bad news is that we’re unique and we’re not that unique,” Carrithers said. “We understand there are challenges that are ongoing at our university and we are looking forward to . . . making those improvements.”

 Carrithers said she is excited that the survey provided actionable recommendations.

 “We’ve identified what the challenges are and we continue to understand those,” Carrithers said.

 She said they are looking forward to using the results to improve the student experience.

 “One thing we want to do is improve responsivity in terms of processes, and that’s critical to making sure that concerns of the students are being heard,” Carrithers said.