Student Senate Survey Report


Abigail Shimniok graphic

A campus safety awareness survey was conducted by the Student Senate and was sent out by the official UW-Platteville campus email on Feb. 6.

Senator Zach Lee and Senator Kelly Behselich formulated the survey and are gathering data from the participants. Senator Behselich and Senator Lee are a dynamic duo, as Behselich is in her first year of studies and Lee is considered the “old man” of Student Senate, based on his valuable past experiences at UW-Platteville.

Safety has always been an important priority of UW-Platteville. The current safety survey was heavily  influenced by former Prevention and Education Coordinator, Melissa Stoner, as she conducted the Sexual Violence Campus Climate Survey. Rather than focus on a topic directed towards students, the Senators want to include students, faculty and staff.

In regards to the content of the survey, Senator Behselich had this to say: “This survey aims not to see what specific individuals know about campus safety but to find areas in which campus safety practices can be improved.” The survey asks the participants about procedures and whether or not they know what to do in certain situations on campus.

The Senators can then gain a better understanding of what resource is most helpful for the community based on how people respond to a crisis situation. For example, if there were an unsafe situation, would a person be more likely to use a blue light box, the Rave Guardian app, or call 911? Environmental factors and social circumstances affect the strategy of what an individual might do. Answers to the survey will provide insight for offering resources that students will actually use.

Regardless of living arrangements, students and staff commuting to campus still have the same resources available to them as on-campus students do.

“Even if you’re off campus, or if you’re a professor who lives an hour away, you’re still on campus for the day. So these questions still apply to you, just not as much, but your information is probably as valuable, or even more valuable, because we want to know if they’re giving this information to all students, or if they’re just targeting on campus students” Senator Lee mentioned. Every person on campus should be made aware of what is available to them in an emergency situation.

The survey aims to gather as much data as possible from everyone. Senator Lee stated, “This knowledge isn’t always consistent” regarding campus resources. Senator Lee was a Resident Assistant and has had firsthand experience with students who did not know where resources are on campus. There has been confusion as to where Royce Hall is and if UW-Platteville police officers really have police credentials. Even professors do not know all of the resources available on campus.

As of February 21, 388 people have taken the survey. The campus safety awareness survey is open through the month of February and campus personnel are encouraged to participate.

“We are just looking for a baseline of ‘Do people even know about these resources,’” Senator Kelly said. The information gathered through this survey helps the Senators formulate a plan to inform the Platteville community about the resources.

Parents of prospective UW-Platteville students can attend safety seminars during a tour, but the students are given different options. It is expected that once a student attends UW-Platteville, the information will be presented to them in their UWP Study class. However, this class will no longer exist after this semester and a repeated loop of delegating the information about safety to another group on campus will continue.

“Our biggest issue that we face is communicating to our community about these different options and issues in a format where they will see it and where they will understand it,” Senator Behselich said. Recently, UW- Platteville offers a mental health website free to students and it has only been promoted once through email.

Depending on response from the survey, a vast majority of students might already know about resources and educational action may not be taken. Even though the Senators’ main goal is to gather data, Senator Lee has many ideas on how to present these resources to campus.

If findings of the survey lead to an uninformed population, Senator Lee is thinking of making a presentation about safety for students. The presentation would be recorded and then be sent to the campus for New Student Orientation.

Another idea of informative teaching from Senator Lee is adding QR codes on every professor’s syllabus to the Rave Guardian app, YOU and other resources.

Adding these preventive education measures would allow students to be informed. “Everyone else would get better information for years to come,” Senator Lee said