Students call on UVM administration to release more Campus Climate data ahead of rally

Students+call+on+UVM+administration+to+release+more+Campus+Climate+data+ahead+of+rally

KATE VANNI/Vermont Cynic

A student activist group is calling on UVM to release all of the data from the 2019 Campus Climate Survey ahead of a rally. 

In the winter of 2019, students, faculty and staff were asked to take the Campus Climate Survey in order for the University to assess how students and faculty feel about the social environment of UVM. 

UVM did not release the highlights of the survey on time due to an oversight, according to a Sept. 5 email from Vice President Gary Derr. The initial highlights were supposed to be sent to students and faculty Aug. 29, according to the email. 

The highlights stated that 75% of students feel a sense of inclusivity at UVM, leaving 25% of the UVM community feeling excluded. 

In response to the results, activist groups NoNames for Justice and Queer Student Action wrote their own statement in response and have called for community members to protest. 

“The administration’s lack of transparency and well-constructed action steps for data dissemination have sparked concern, frustration, skepticism and distrust within the student body,” according to a Sept. 20 statement from NoNames and QSA. 

NoNames and QSA have listed four main goals of their call to action including: 

  1. UVM allowing students to access all data collected for the survey. 
  2. Allowing identity center staff to access all data. 
  3. Full disclosure statistical and personal biases that interpreters/statisticians hold.
  4. A formal apology on behalf of President Suresh Garrimella and Interim Provost and Senior Vice President Patricia Prelock and an explanation of how the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment determined the highlights. 

“The fact that the administration is withholding such valuable data has caused students, faculty and staff to be skeptical, concerned and frustrated with the behind the scenes workings/handlings of the proposed process,” NoNames and QSA stated. 

NoNames and QSA want a response from Garimella and Interim Provost and Prelock by Sept 25 at 11 a.m. 

A rally is scheduled for noon, Sept. 25, in front of the Davis Center flag pole, according to NoNames. 

Junior Carolynn Van Arsdale, the chair for the SGA Committee on Diversity, Inclusion and Equity said she also wants more data.

 “The thing I want to tackle is which identities don’t feel included here at UVM,” Van Arsdale said. 

Van Arsdale said that she wanted more information than the UVM community was given about the survey. 

Van Arsdale said her committee is going to write a resolution urging the administration to release more information from the survey.  

“Over the course of the next several weeks, Vice President for Human Resources, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs Wanda Heading-Grant and her team will share summary data and discuss results of the survey with the colleges and units,” the Sept. 5 email stated.