Forums discussing the survey results were held in Chumash Auditorium, located in the Julian A. McPhee University Union. | Celina Oseguera/Mustang News

Lauren Piraro
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Scroll down to see Campus Climate Survey results in graph form. Read the full text report here.

Data collected from the Campus Climate Survey was presented in two forums at Chumash Auditorium last week. Susan Rankin, a consultant hired to create and analyze the survey, hosted the presentations.

“Campus climate is a construct, which means you can’t ask one question and know what campus climate is,” Rankin said of Cal Poly’s climate survey. “You have to ask lots of questions. We asked 93 here.”

Rankin’s presentation covered topics ranging from campus demographics to personal experiences on campus.

Presentation highlights

The survey indicated 1,410 respondents (22 percent) had experienced “exclusionary, intimidating, offensive and/or hostile conduct” at Cal Poly. The top three forms of behavior experienced by students were the following: “isolated or left out,” “deliberately ignored or excluded” and “intimidated or bullied.”

“They’re subtle,” Rankin said at the second forum. “These kinds of subtle things are as impactful as getting slapped across the face.”

Respondents cited choice of major as one of many reasons for their personal experiences of exclusion, intimidation, offensives and/or hostility, Rankin said.

Another section of the survey covered by Rankin was the number of faculty, staff and students who said they had been sexually assaulted.

“Sexual assault on college campuses is a national epidemic,” she said. “At Cal Poly, 5 percent — more than 300 respondents — said they had been sexually assaulted while at Cal Poly.”

Rankin said the amount of respondents who reported experiencing sexual assault was higher than most universities where she had conducted surveys.

The majority of the respondents who experienced unwanted sexual contact at Cal Poly were multiple race, women, LGBQ respondents and respondents with disabilities.

“People that experienced assaults said that it happened most often in the first or second quarter,” Rankin said. “Where’d it happen? Mostly off campus.”

The full report includes more specific locations, but the most common location was at a party, with alcohol almost always involved.

In terms of an all-encompassing view of the survey’s data, Rankin said respondents were pretty comfortable with the overall climate at Cal Poly.

“Students are pretty positive about their experience, most undergraduate and graduate students are happy with the classroom climate and employees have pretty positive work-life issues,” Rankin said. “Overall, kind of positive things.”

Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong spoke early in the forum, saying he had mixed feelings about the results.

“Parts of it will make you Cal Poly proud, and parts of it will make you feel deeply sad for the way some people have been treated,” Armstrong said at the first forum.  “I don’t know any other way to put it.”

Armstrong said that while some of the negatives reflected in the survey were not outside the national norm, Cal Poly should commit to differentiating itself by breaking these norms.

“Learn By Doing is about getting better, and that’s what this is about,” Armstrong said.

Toward the end of the first forum, several students asked Rankin questions about the survey.

One forum attendee asked whether the job Annie Holmes — Cal Poly’s current executive director of diversity and inclusivity — previously held at Rankin and Associates constituted a conflict of interest.

“If I took everybody out of my pool of people that I work with in institutions of higher education, I wouldn’t be able to have a job,” Rankin said. “There’s no conflict of interest, because Annie had nothing to do with data analysis.”

Rankin went on to say she had administered 127 such reports across the nation, and that reports she had completed on UC system campuses were freely available for those seeking to investigate more of her work.

Annie Holmes closed by saying her office would be providing guidance and leadership but would not be making decisions or setting priorities without input from the campus community. Focus groups will be held where reactions to the campus climate survey will be discussed.

Focus group dates:

Monday, Nov. 3, 10-11 a.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301
Wednesday, Nov. 5, 8-9 a.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 11-12 p.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301
Thursday, Nov. 6, 1-2 p.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301

Tuesday, Nov. 4, 3-4 p.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301
Friday, Nov. 7, 11-12 p.m., Administration (building 1), Room 301

Workshops: Faculty, staff and students
Wednesday, Nov. 12, 10-11:30 a.m., Julian A. McPhee University Union, Room 220
Thursday, Nov. 13, 1-2:30 p.m., Julian A. McPhee University Union, Room 220

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