2015 Climate Survey Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the University conducting this survey?

Incidents on campus, as well as a sustained national dialogue regarding higher education’s handling of sexual misconduct, have made clear that the University needs to better understand our students’ experiences and campus climate issues. The University has three main goals in asking students to complete this survey:

  • To further our understanding of the frequency and nature of sexual misconduct at UChicago.
  • To reinforce the University’s commitment to fostering a safe environment and preventing sexual misconduct.
  • To inform our efforts to improve sexual misconduct prevention, education and awareness programs, and for providing the best resources to survivors.
Why should I take this survey?

Sexual misconduct on our campus affects everyone in our community, including people who have never experienced or witnessed this behavior. All students, faculty and staff contribute to fostering a welcoming environment where all members of the University community can participate free of bias, discrimination and harassment. Your participation in this survey is essential to the University’s efforts to address unlawful discrimination and sexual misconduct.

What kinds of questions are on the survey?

The survey asks about your attitudes, knowledge, and experience with sexual misconduct, and how you view aspects of University culture, resources and efforts related to sexual misconduct.

Some of the survey questions use explicit language, including names of body parts and specific sexual behaviors. The survey also asks about sexual assault and other forms of sexual violence, which may be disturbing. Taking this survey is completely optional. You can skip any question and can exit the survey at any time. Information about University support resources are provided on every page.

What if I reveal something on the survey that could be considered illegal or violate UChicago’s policies?

Some of the questions on the survey ask about behavior that may be considered socially unacceptable, violate University policies, or meet the legal definitions of a crime in some jurisdictions. However, this survey is designed only to collect anonymous information to guide prevention and response efforts at UChicago.  Because it is an anonymous survey, responses to survey questions do not constitute notice to the University of Title IX prohibited conduct or other violations of University policy that would trigger a response from the University.

If you do wish to make a report, please submit this Harassment, Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint Form.

Who is administering the survey?

The Spring 2015 Climate Survey is sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and Campus and Student Life. The survey will be administered by NORC at the University of Chicago, which is an independent 501(c)3 research corporation and not part of the University. More information about the relationship between NORC and the University of Chicago is available here: http://www.norc.org/About/Pages/university-of-chicago-affiliation.aspx. We have taken measures to ensure that no University faculty, students or personnel employed by NORC will work on the project or otherwise have access to individual survey responses.

What about confidentiality—will my name, CNET ID or any other personally identifiable information be associated with my responses?

No, all survey responses will be anonymous and confidential. Each student has received a unique link via e-mail that provides individualized online access to the survey ensuring no one completes it more than once. The University will not have access to these unique links, and once the survey is complete, NORC will delete its files containing any links to individuals. In addition, only aggregated data will be included in reports of survey results, so it will not be possible to identify a student’s individual response.

What will the University do with the results?

NORC at the University of Chicago will collect and analyze survey responses on behalf of the University. The University will release NORC’s analysis in the first of a series of reports to the University community by the end of the spring 2015 quarter. These reports will allow the University to address a wide variety of questions in the months ahead. Additionally, a faculty-student committee will advise on any additional analyses prompted by the survey results.

The University will also share data from this survey with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. By sharing these data, we will contribute to a better national understanding of this problem and to the development of best practices and standards.

Will the survey results be shared with students?

Yes, the University will release survey findings in the aggregate to the University community via a series of reports that will be publicly available on a University website. The first of these reports will be available by the end of the spring 2015 quarter.

Who created this survey?

UChicago faculty committee consulted the academic literature, surveys used at other schools, and received guidance on conducting climate surveys from notalone.gov. Modifications and campus-specific items have been added that incorporate input from UChicago students. The core content is based on a survey conducted by MIT last year, with their permission. The final survey instrument reflects collaboration with experts at Stanford and Rice University, who are also administering a survey to their students this spring.

Did students have any input on the survey?

Yes. Survey questions were shared with groups of students and individual students this winter. These students represent a diverse cross section from across the University. They provided useful comments and feedback that informed the survey itself, how best to administer it, and the communication strategy to maximize student participation. Students at Stanford and Rice University also participated in developing the survey.

Who is being asked to take the survey?

The University needs to better understand our students’ experiences and campus climate issues in order to inform its efforts. To that end, all students currently enrolled in the College, graduate divisions and professional schools who are 18 and older are invited to take the survey. A random sample of all students will be selected for more intensive follow-up.

What is the purpose of the random sample, since all students are being asked to participate?

Because it is important to give every student, regardless of your experiences related to sexual misconduct, the chance to tell us about them, the survey is open to all. However, a second purpose of the survey is to learn how often such experiences occur. A random sample gives better estimates of the prevalence of sexual misconduct and related experiences in the student population as a whole.

Is taking this survey required?

Taking the survey is completely optional. If you choose to participate, you can skip any question and can exit the survey at any time. Whether you choose to take the survey or decline to participate will in no way affect your standing at the University. Students may receive reminders after the initial invitation goes out to ensure a high response rate. Because achieving the highest possible response rate is the key to reliability, those students selected for the random sample may receive additional requests to complete the survey. However, no student is under any obligation to participate.

Are there any incentives for participating?

Students who complete the survey will be entered into a drawing for one of ten $250 cash cards, with the option of anonymously allocating the amount of the cash card to one of several local and national non-profit organizations dedicated to community support programs, including addressing sexual violence.

How long does the survey take?

On average, the survey should take 10-20 minutes to complete. You can complete the survey at one time or over multiple sessions; any responses entered in prior sessions will be saved. Also, if at any point while taking the survey you feel uncomfortable or don’t want to continue, you can exit and your responses will be recorded.

Can I still provide feedback to the University if I do not want to participate in this survey?

There are many opportunities for students to share feedback on these important issues. You may contact any of the resources or University offices listed below.

General Frequently Asked Questions

What are some important numbers I should know?

University Police

  • From a campus phone: 123
  • From any phone: 773.702.8181

Safety and Emergency Resources

  • Dean-on-Call: 773.834.Help
  • Sexual Assault Dean-on-Call: 773.834.Help
  • Bias Response Team: 773.834.Help

Medical Resources

  • Student Health Service (SHS): 773.702.4156
  • Nurse Advice Line
    (after SHS business hours): 773.702.1915
  • Medical Center Hospital ER: 773.702.6250

Counseling/Mental Health Resources

  • Student Counseling Service (SCS): 773.702.9800
  • SCS Staff-Member-on-Call: 773.702.3625

Additional Resources

  • Jeremy Inabinet:  773.834.5531
    Associate Dean of Students
    in the University for Disciplinary Affairs
  • Bridget Collier:  773.702.5671
    Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity Programs
    Title IX Coordinator for the University
What is a climate survey?

A climate survey is a method for assessing the beliefs, behaviors, attitudes and experiences of a group of people in a particular organization or environment. These surveys are a means of evaluating the extent to which individuals can participate freely and fully as a member of the organization or environment while feeling safe, respected and valued.

How do universities use climate surveys?

Climate surveys can help universities identify populations that feel marginalized or unsupported by the institution, and inform efforts around training, awareness and deployment of resources to ensure that all community members can participate freely and fully in the activities of the institution.

Who participates in climate surveys?

The individuals invited to respond to climate surveys will depend on the specific goals of the institution and the survey methodology that is deemed best suited to meeting those goals. Generally speaking, in order to glean data on prevailing attitudes and beliefs within the organization it is important to obtain a sample of responses that represent all existing sub-groups so that the results provide an accurate picture of what it is like to live, work and study within that environment.

Still have a question?


Inquiries may be directed to titleix@uchicago.edu.