About a year after Temple administered a survey measuring the climate of the GLBT community on Main Campus, university officials released the results of the Gender and Sexuality Climate Assessment. The results showed a mostly comfortable atmosphere at Temple, but revealed a need for improvement in several areas.
The survey was first announced in November 2010 and was administered in Spring 2011 with the help of Rankin & Associates Consulting, after President Ann Weaver Hart formed the Gender and Sexuality Climate Task Force to measure the feelings of the GLBT community at Temple. The university released the results May 3, as the semester neared its end.
Those surveyed featured 75 questions, some open-ended for commentary, and revealed a general comfort level with the climate on Main Campus. Of the 2,693 participants – including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff – 81 percent said that they were “comfortable or very comfortable” with the overall climate at Temple, according to the Rankin & Associates Consulting report.
Although more than three-quarters of those surveyed felt comfortable at Temple, Vice President and Chief of Staff William Bergman said the numbers allow the university an opportunity to move forward in confronting GLBT issues.
“I think Temple’s numbers are good, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a great opportunity for us to use this as a base for where we’re going in the future,” Bergman, the chairman of the task force, said. “Besides just the numbers, what I thought was important was that people identified what they thought the key resources were for them.”
While many of the results featured a favorable view of the GLBT climate on Main Campus, 16 percent of those surveyed seriously considered leaving Temple. GLBT students were more likely than heterosexual students to seriously consider leaving Temple.
Also, 13 percent of respondents said that they had experienced “offensive, negative, or intimidating conduct that interfered unreasonably with their ability to work or learn on campus” and 18 percent said that had seen or heard of actions that created an “offensive, negative, or intimidating working or learning environment” on Main Campus.
“I think that people are also a little bit more than slightly upset with where Temple is at right now and feeling that work still has to be done,” said Scott Gratson, director of the communications program and GLBT advocate. “I think that the data substantiates something that several of us have been saying for years which is: great efforts, not centralized, not cogent, not organized, time to get moving on these things.”
The task force’s forward also said that there is a “lack of a central source of information” for resources pertaining to the GLBT community.
Anne Nadol, assistant vice president, said that one of the university’s goals is to create a website that would act as a central source of information.
“Over the course of this summer, our intention is to develop a more centralized and widely publicized, internet presence of sources that people can go to,” Nadol, a member of the task force, said. “So, it would be one source on the Temple University website that could then link to both resources within the university…and some of the resources downtown.”
Nadol added that the website would act as a source base for people who are new to Temple or who just need guidance in order to find a resource.
“If you’re new to the city, if you’re new to campus, if you sort of trying to figure everything out you may not know who to even ask where those resources are,” Nadol said. “So, our first step is to set up this website that would be sort a clearing house and a place we could direct people to.”
While both Nadol and Bergman cited the survey and website as a first step to dealing with GLBT issues in the future, Gratson said that the step should include a direction as to where the administration will be going in dealing with GLBT issues.
“Whenever one goes on a journey it does indeed begin with a step, but hopefully one knows what eventually one is going to get to,” Gratson said. “I don’t know what that destination is yet.”
Queer Student Union President Megan Carter said the survey’s section on ranking events and activities was interesting, so QSU could focus on programming to help the GLBT population on Main Campus.
“Now we have some information on how people feel on campus, what they’re not getting that they need,” Carter said.
Bergman added that the survey gives Temple a base to learn what it’s dealing with and what is has to do moving forward, even though it is being released a year after it was administered.
“The fact of the matter is, we did the survey and got it out,” Bergman said. “We didn’t get it back as quick as we would have liked to, but we now have a base and have a sense of what we should do and where we should go.”
Sean Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.