Campus Climate

While sitting in my living room with a group of evacuated friends, we all received an email that the “Campus Climate” had come out.  Being abroad last year, and not hearing about it when our university president initially started the task force, I was confused as to what this actually was.  In the Fall of 2010, President Bravman charged a Task Force to research the climate of Bucknell University.  The findings were expressed in a report that pointed out the most significant problems, examples from their findings, and recommendations.

Although I am not a Statistics major, I am quite certain that the data used to declare these findings are not statistically significant.  The Task Force invited 336 students to represent the various “groups” on campus, but only 66 showed up for the focus groups and interviews.  I use quotations on “groups” because the report lists them in an attempt to represent the entire school, but I would be interested to see what percentage of our school is involved in each of these groups and therefore see if it actually represents our school.  I would also be interested to see the breakdown of how many of the 66 were there to represent each group and a breakdown of their diversity (ethnicity, major, hometown, extra curricular activites, etc.)  These use of a voluntary attendance also creates a bias because it was not mandatory that they had to come. The report lightly addressed this issue, but I think it is important to note that perhaps people who did not have any complaints, did not feel the need to come.

Since the report’s debut, two forums have been held to allow the task force to express their motivation and findings, and to allow the students to express their opinions.  One student expressed her dissatisfaction with the result of the report because she was one of the volunteers for the study and although all positive things were said in her focus group, not one of them made it into the report.

From my perspective, this report sure did a good job of pointing out problems and complaints of our university.  One of the largest concerns addressed was the overwhelming presence of greek life on campus.  In fact, the word “Greek”  was used 126 times throughout the report.  In my opinion, the report focused too much on this and not on other greater issues.

With that said, the report also brought up other problems with the university that truly need to be fixed.  The sexual assault cases on campus are rising and need to be addressed, whether that be with a zero tolerance policy and/or stronger Transition to College courses.

Finally, we have out future.  The future of our university lies with the view of our university by incoming students, parents, current students, and alumni.  I am worried for the effect this will have on our Annual Fund, campus participation, and future enrollment.  I hope that we can work swiftly to address these concerns and create a plan of action to address all of the problems addressed in our Campus Climate Report.

This entry was posted in Cases (Real World), Class, Ethics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Campus Climate

  1. RickE says:

    I also find it very interesting that there were no students on the Campus Climate Task Force, in the report they said it would be hard for students to be on the Task Force because of the time commitment and the fact that most of the work would be done over breaks, but I still feel that for something of this nature, it is essential to have a constant student voice. Just interviewing a couple students is not enough and, from the sound of the report, it seems they didn’t even strongly consider the possibility of a student (or students) on the Task Force. For me, this was a big mistake on their part.

  2. csmb12 says:

    I agree with both of you. I would also add that it seemed to me that the Task Force had an agenda before starting and found what they wanted to find from the available data. It’s well known that much of the administration and faculty aren’t exactly pro-Greek and it seemed quite clear from this report. If the University truly wants change, perhaps it should look to the students it is letting in instead of telling the students that are already here that they need to be more diverse. It’s hard for a student body to be diverse when the Admissions Office is giving out acceptance letters to students from private schools in the Northeast away like candy. Perhaps the school should have looked at how it is managed before pointing almost all the blame on the students that they didn’t survey.

  3. JWitty says:

    I’m really glad I read through the posts before making mine for this week! I had planned on writing a blurb about CC Report, as well. As an independent, I thought the report brought to light several issues that have irked me over the past four years, namely that of the Greek’s systems unquestionable dominance of Bucknell’s social scene. While I do not agree that the system needs a full removal (a suggestion that was made at one point in the report), I do feel that a slight-to-moderate minimization of its presence would do the student body a lot of good. Believe it or not, there are plenty of colleges out there with no fraternities or sororities whatsoever! While we seem to look down on a lot these schools (calling them “hipster” is a favorite), their social scenes tend to focus more on music and house parties. I’ve personally experienced these various social scenes throughout every summer in Chicago (where I’m from), and I think if we found away to to incorporate some of their positive city/non-Greek aspects into our culture a lot of people might feel differently about the way things currently stand.

  4. MDHarbin says:

    The campus climate task force is a delicate topic because change is imminent, but the path to change is vastly uncertain. President Bravman, as newbie to Bucknell, unleashed the task force last year, most likely to gain a deeper understanding of the universities intricacies and ever since the campus as been stirring. Although slow moving, the process of honing in on the real problems is a great step in the right direction. Getting the input of the ENTIRE current student population and ALL alumni stakeholders might also help the task force, but we don’t live in a perfect world, so group sampling seems like a good place to start. These debates are progressive and very forward looking, and will allow the university to be successful down the (new fraternity) road.

  5. Alyssa Haglund says:

    I completely agree with you, Rick! Students are obviously the driving force of a campus’s climate and regardless of the time commitment, we are a group of very motivated students and I am sure that students would have stepped up. I hope that the Task Force will now include students and that they will continue to use focus groups to get a better grasp of the climate. I strongly believe that students are more likely to go now after realizing the significance of these reports.

    As a proud member of Greek Life, I actually agree with Jason, that a decrease of Greek Life’s presence would be beneficial. This would minimize the pledge classes and allow for closer bonds between members, specifically within the sororities. An emphasis should also be placed on organizations outside of Greek Life and I was surprised to discover that Choice Living was suffering from budget cuts. However, I firmly believe in the Greek System and support all of it’s efforts. Although the social aspect of the system is not everything, it provides activities for members and non-members. Without this, we still could not convert to a “city” or “large” school feel because the few bars we have on campus are strict on age and the University is already taking away our downtown houses, so where would we go?

  6. Slade says:

    I also find it dissatisfying to know that there was such a small turnout for the focus groups, especially when reports are being made about such important issues that are, or should be, of high interest to students. Being that the students feel so strongly about some of these problems, I agree that it would have been better to include students on the task force. Such research is important enough where students should want to get involved, even if it means going to interviews or doing work over breaks, they should have considered doing the work at better times for student members since the task force did not get even half the amount of group volunteers it invited. I agree that the views of current students has a major impact on the university and its future, especially when incoming students and parents inquire about such issues, which is another reason why I also agree that student(s) on the task force would have made a difference.

  7. tesoman says:

    I agree with Jwitty (Justin), and the climate report, in that the greek system does dominate the social scene too much and could be toned down. I have thought about this a little and was thinking that a different question needs to be asked. The school always says that the greek system has created the climate that we are socializing in, but I would argue that the school is what created the greek system. I asked myself, “What if the school was to close down 2-6 fraternities in the next month, would the situation be settled as the university would like it?” Firstly, there would be no place to house all the kids who could not live in the fraternities because there is no other housing open to accommodate them. We could put them in the fraternities without the fraternity system, but how much would that change the dominance of “social groups who identify with each other”. Another point to make is that the fraternities and sororities contribute to a large percentage of the community service hours and philanthropy dollars that the university prides itself on in college ratings and surveys that are broadcasted nationally. The bucknell university alumni connection is one of the strongest in the country. I can say this because working in the calling centre, we have some of the highest alumni participation in the country and schools from around the country are in constant contact with us to inquire how we do it. Is this strong alumni relation a result from the bonds that were created here or not?
    The point I’m making is not to beat the dead horse defending the greek system but to simply ask whether the university built this social system around the greek system and now the social scene has become so independent for so long the university is trying to change something, I believe, they created. Thoughts?

  8. Alyssa Haglund says:

    Sorry Justin! I thought “Jwitty” was Jason White!

  9. Dick Claffee says:

    Where can alumni get a copy of this report?

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s