February 20, 2015

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

The Culture of Respect Steering Committee has been exploring many aspects of our community over the past several months. Our goal is to identify actions, behaviors and structures on campus that enhance a Culture of Respect; and those that hinder our aspiration for the Colleges as an institution of higher education that seeks to treat all members of our community with trust and dignity.

The students, faculty, staff, alums, parents and trustees engaged in this effort have committed significant time to this critical matter. So far we have met four times as a full committee and have had numerous subcommittee meetings and smaller group meetings with a variety of faculty, staff and students. We have researched best practices, reviewed policies and procedures, and looked closely at the institutional data currently available. Across the board, these meetings have been marked by a willingness to work together to make Hobart and William Smith a better place.

Now, in order to hear from every member of our community and to continue to generate new ideas, we enter an important second phase of our effort. We seek your input and perspectives via targeted and anonymous surveys specially designed for students, staff and faculty that will cover a variety of campus climate issues:

Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium Sexual Assault Campus Climate Survey
For Students: February 23 - March 13
After an evaluation of multiple vendors and on the recommendation of faculty leadership, the Sexual Violence Task Force, the Sexual Violence Response and Evaluation Team which includes faculty, staff and students, and the Title IX Office, the Colleges will administer this survey to all students starting on Monday, February 23. The results of the survey will be used to inform and improve support, policies and practices at HWS. Because this is a national survey, the Colleges will be able to benchmark findings. Preliminary results of the survey will be reported later in the semester with a full report ready this summer.

Culture of Respect Surveys
For Faculty: Expected March 6 — March 18
For Staff: Expected March 6 — March 18
For Students: Expected March 23 — March 30
Designed by the Culture of Respect Steering Committee, these surveys — one each for faculty, staff and students — seek to better understand community perceptions and ideas of respect around issues of safety, campus facilities, heritage, dialogue across differences, and the curriculum. The surveys will be administered online using the Colleges’ Baseline Data System. The surveys will be followed by open forums to discuss the results of the collected and analyzed data. Details on the dates, times and locations of the forums will follow but we anticipate they will take place in the first two weeks of April.

We hope for a large participation in all surveys and that the open forums will be widely attended. Because the survey data and open forum discussions will greatly inform the recommendations The Culture of Respect makes for change, input from the entire community is essential. We might be able to make some suggestions for change with some input from the community, but real significant change in the years to come is impossible without your active involvement.


Mara O’Laughlin ’66, L.H.D. ’13
Co-Chair of Culture of Respect

Pat McGuire L.H.D. ’12
Co-Chair of Culture of Respect

Amy Forbes
Staff Director, Culture of Respect


Share suggestions and ideas for change with Hobart and William Smith Colleges: HWSfeedback@hws.edu

A student group, the Coalition of Concerned Students, is working to ensure that the Colleges are a safe environment for all students and are joining with the Colleges and the HWS Community for Change to enact policy and climate changes. The Coalition of Concerned Students can be reached at: hwscocs@gmail.com.

© 2015 Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY 14456 (315) 781-3000 - Non-Discrimination Statement - ADA Compliance - Privacy Policy applicable to this site.
Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.