History professor Angela Creager, Chair of the Committee on Naming, opened Monday’s Council of the Princeton University Community meeting with an update on the committee’s work.
Creager explained that the committee selected the atrium of Robertson Hall for naming in part because it is one of the nicest unnamed places on campus and because it could accommodate a plaque or another similar marker of recognition.
She added that the committee selected West College for naming because it is an especially conspicuous building and because the original name referred not to a person but to its geographic placement relative to the former East College, which was demolished in 1896.
Creager noted that the committee had received 150 naming suggestions within just a week of the submission form having been opened and said that she would like to see more suggestions. She added that the committee will deliberate over the winter and present its naming recommendations to the Board of Trustees as early as the spring.
Regan Crotty ’00, the University’s Title IX coordinator, presented the results of the We Speak sexual misconduct survey for the 2015-16 academic year.
Crotty said that 83 percent of students reported that they know where to find help, which is up from 68 percent in 2015, and that the percentage of graduate women who are aware of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education office had increased to 85 percent from 60 percent last year. However, she noted that it is premature to make predictions about long-term trends based off of only two years worth of data.
Women were two to five times more likely to report experiencing various forms of inappropriate sexual behavior than men, and LGBT students were up to three times more likely to report experiencing inappropriate sexual behavior than heterosexual students, Crotty noted, adding that sophomores were also twice as likely as seniors to report experiencing sexual misconduct.
Crotty pointed to an online course for incoming freshmen called “Not Anymore” that focuses on sexual violence, as well as a video on reporting obligations for faculty and staff and a “Clarifying Consent” module for incoming graduate students, as new instances of the University’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct.
There was some discussion on the issue of sexual harassment of graduate students after Crotty noted that 10 percent of graduate student women reported being sexually harassed in the latest We Speak report.
“It is a very difficult topic because of the nature of graduate studies,” Sanjeev Kulkarni, Dean of the Graduate School, said.
He explained that graduate students are closely tied to their academic departments and advisers and may feel unable to come forward with reports of sexual misconduct without jeopardizing their studies or career.
Crotty said that her recommendation to graduate students is often to talk to SHARE to consider their options before making any decisions because it is confidential. She added that SHARE can address concerns about gender bias and discrimination in an informal setting in addition to being able to address experiences of sexual misconduct.
Crotty added that while the numbers in the We Speak report are similar to numbers reported by other colleges and universities, even a single instance of sexual misconduct is too many.
Crotty said that nearly half of undergraduate and graduate students took the survey and that the University intends to administer the survey again in April 2017.
University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 said that there are concerns among social scientists about “survey fatigue” in administering these types of surveys and that the University will not necessarily continue its practice of administering the survey every single year indefinitely. He also noted that the University appreciates suggestions from students as to how to increase participation in the We Speak survey.
Oliver Avens, Dean of Rockefeller College, and Smitha Haneef, Executive Director of Campus Dining, presented an update on the work of the Board Plan Review Committee, which is still at an early stage. They noted that the committee has met with more than 120 students and that issues of affordability of upperclass dining options and of food insecurity came up during the discussions.
Undergraduate Student Government president Aleksandra Czulak ’17 presented an update on USG, noting that USG had included new “pulse tests,” or brief surveys, at the top of its emails and that USG’s work in surveying the student body on the issue of calendar reform in the spring substantially contributed to the final report of the Task Force on General Education, which recommended that exams be moved before winter break.
Czulak also highlighted USG Labs, a new program designed to help students build TigerApps. USG Labs will provide increasing levels of funding for projects that generate requisite support and publicity.
Mircea Davidescu GS, president of the Graduate Student Government, highlighted the fact that graduate students rate non-academic aspects of their experience at the University as lower than their academic experiences and noted that GSG would be initiating interdepartmental mixers, as well as a potential pilot project this year examining whether graduate students would use a short-term graduate student center. He added that GSG has been working with the Office of Career Services to sponsor a graduate career fair and more broadly on the issue of career placement for graduate students in a market environment in which finding a tenure-track position is no longer the norm.
Akil Word-Daniels GS presented some results of the Graduate Housing Project, noting that while the University’s housing capacity of 72 percent for regularly enrolled graduate students is high when compared to peer institutions, 90 percent of University graduate students have indicated that they wish to live on campus. They cite a number of reasons, including the disparity in affordability between University housing and town housing.
Word-Daniels also noted that Stanford University is the most demographically similar peer institution to the University in the sense of being located in an affluent area between two majors cities — San Francisco and San Jose in Stanford’s case — and that Stanford is in the process of building 2,400 bed spaces for graduate students, which would increase its housing capacity to 85 percent. He said the University needs to remain competitive in terms of housing to recruit the best graduate students and that the Graduate Housing Project would continue to work with the University to identify housing solutions for graduate students.
The meeting took place on Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m. in Friend Center 101 and was free and open to the public. The next CPUC meeting will take place on Dec. 12.