The GLBT needs survey, administered last Spring, is set to be public within a week.
After nearly a year and a half of waiting, Main Campus is set to see the results of a survey measuring the GLBT climate at Temple.
William Bergman, vice president and chief of staff, said that the survey results will be released soon.
The survey, first announced in Fall 2010, aimed to assess the needs of the GLBT community on Main Campus. The data was collected through a survey administered by Rankin & Associates Consulting in Spring 2011 and was received by the university in Fall 2012, Bergman said.
“It would have been about November, December  we finally started to get a product,” Bergman said. “We disseminated it, we met with the diversity committee of the [Board of Trustees] and we shared with them the results, an overview of what we’ve found and they recently signed off on what we told them about and that’s why we’re ready to roll now.”
Scott Gratson, director of the communications program and a GLBT advocate, said that the distribution of the data is far overdue.
“We came back in August  and kept waiting to hear about the data,” Gratson said. “My concern with the data is that it’s important to get this information out to students, especially when students were coming in, maybe away from home for the first time, maybe a new community for the first time, et cetera.”
Megan Carter, president of Queer Student Union, also expressed frustration about the fact that the data is being released nearly a year after the survey was conducted.
“If they’ve had the data all this time it is really frustrating because if they’ve had it all year, that’s one of the things we could have focused on as an organization,” Carter, a sophomore communications major, said.
The administration, who distributed the survey Spring 2011, aimed to get participation from 1,000 people, but the actual number of participants was much higher, Bergman said.
“The survey is obviously an extremely important document for us. The LGBTQ community is a very important part of the overall university community,” Bergman said. “When we put this survey out, we were hoping…to get 1,000 people to respond, we got almost 3,000 people to respond.”
Although Carter said she was frustrated by the delay in releasing the data, she said that the data will help QSU focus on the needs of their members and the GLBT community on Main Campus.
“Based on what results come out we’ll be able to tell how students feel on campus, how comfortable they are, how safe they are and really determine what we need to be focusing on and what we can do to change the climate on campus to make sure that everybody feels welcome and supported and safe on campus,” Carter said.
Gratson added that the results of the data play a key role in assessing the feeling that GLBT students have toward the climate on Main Campus and how the administration can address the needs of the community.
“The data has to be published so that we can pull things out that Temple is doing well and tweak to make them even better and to directly confront that which has not been doing well, but I think that those data have to become available for us to make cogent decisions on how to move forward,” Gratson said. “That call has gone out from a variety of people over the years, obviously myself included as well as members from QSU.”
The results of the survey will be distributed through a website, Bergman said, which will display the data in-full.
“What we want to do is in a short period of time put the entire survey out and we’re going to announce when we do it, we’ll put it up on the website so the entire community can have access to it,” Bergman said. “We’re also looking to have a website that will provide additional information.”
While the results of the data have yet to be released, Gratson said that there is a definite need to improve the experience of GLBT students at Temple. Gratson said that Temple’s outreach to GLBT students pales in comparison to that of other institutions in the area.
“I believe compared to our peer institutions that Temple could do a lot more for outreach to LGBTQ students and potential LGBTQ students. There’s been no outreach to LGBTQ students as far as recruiting is concerned. Good luck trying to find a rainbow,” Gratson added.
Carter added that a department devoted to GLBT students at Temple would be helpful to students on Main Campus.
“It would be helpful if there was a department or office or somebody who is a main point of contact for specifically addressing LGBT needs on campus,” Carter said.
Bergman said the data, while still not announced, showed that Temple offers numerous outlets for GLBT students on Main Campus.
“The fact of the matter is one of the things that the survey showed is the university has a great deal of assets relative to this, but the city of Philadelphia also has a great deal of assets that people utilize, too,” Bergman said. “So, what we want to do is make sure that we have one location that people can go to and see all the resources that are available.”
While Gratson said that Temple lags behind its peer institutions such as the University of Pennsylvania, he added that it may also lag behind even elementary schools. Gratson cited the National Day of Silence as an example of lack of involvement with GLBT issues.
“I saw students in fifth grade and every faculty and staff member, wearing a rainbow ribbon,” Gratson said. “I then came on this campus and I was wearing a large rainbow pocket square. I looked desperately on this campus. I went near the Bell Tower, I went walking near the Student Center, I was walking in buildings and there was nary a rainbow in sight.”
Sean Carlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.