Boston University Student Government heard a presentation about the Belonging and Culture survey, approved funding for the BIPOC Wellness Fair and offered their support for the Residence Life Union in a meeting Tuesday night.
The Belonging and Culture survey, released to students via email on Tuesday, is meant to gauge “the sense of inclusion and belonging felt by students, faculty and staff,” so BU can “develop programs and policies that will increase a sense of belonging for all at BU.”
“BU wants to have data that we can act on, and we can only act on data that is representative of the University’s population,” Megan Segoshi, manager of BU Faculty Diversity Initiatives, said. “If people don’t respond to the survey, we don’t get good data, we can’t really make good decisions based on that data.”
The survey asks questions about experiences with hostile conduct, sexual harassment, workplace climate and engagement opportunities, among other topics. It also asks a variety of demographic questions in an effort to understand the nuances of campus climate.
“All the questions are optional, so if you’re uncomfortable answering any one of them, feel free to skip, except for the first two,” Segoshi said. “That’s because they are, ‘Are you faculty, student or staff,’ and, ‘Which campus are you primarily affiliated with?’ Those questions determine which questions that you get asked later on.”
All responses are anonymous, as the survey is hosted by a third-party site and information for populations smaller than five will not be included in the report. To incentivize students, there will be a prize drawing for survey respondents every Friday except during the spring recess.
The survey will be open until March 31. Results should be released in late summer, along with proposals for solutions to the problems presented in the survey.
“We’re gonna be doing this every three years to be able to measure our progress on various initiatives that spring about as a result of the survey,” said Segoshi. “I’m here to encourage you to encourage others to engage in the survey.”
The meeting continued with a presentation from Black, Indigenous, People of Color Mental Health Collective social media manager Nia Smith, requesting funding for the BIPOC Wellness Fair on March 15.
Last semester BIPOC Mental Health Collective over-requested their budget by $400. Typically organizations that over-request receive no money at all.
The BIPOC Mental Health Collective’s partners for the fair, BU’s Queer Activist Collective and the Mental Health Committee, had already “maxed out their budgets for the semester,” prior to the event.
The Collective sought money for gift cards to thank businesses for volunteering their time, therapists coming in for offering one on one consultations with students and tables to hold the event.
The funding request was approved with 34 votes.
The next resolution of the night was a request for StuGov endorsement from the Residence Life Union.
“When you think about an RA for a few buildings on Bay State, versus in a big, one full floor on one of the big dorms…those responsibilities are very different,” said Alex Brumfield, who presented the resolution. “There are differences in those areas and conditions. They’re asking for conditions to either be as consistent as possible or for compensation to be weighed.”
BU StuGov’s endorsement of the union would allow for StuGov to publish a statement of support, regular contact between organizers and StuGov to discuss possible action items and a town hall co-hosted by the two organizations.
The ResLife union was endorsed with 31 votes.