One of C-FAR’s goals for our first year has been to generate a dataset which can describe some of what Concordia students are experiencing and a student survey seemed like an effective way of reaching out to everyone.
To construct the survey we partnered with Jess Glavina, a Montreal-based writer and scholar whose projects include work around disability and accessibility in institutions and creating radio and theatre that centres the voices of people of colour. Jess collaborated on this project as the former coordinator of the Gender, Sexuality and Learning Diversity Mapping Project out of the Centre for Gender Advocacy. And with our earliest drafts we reached out to Marcus Peters, Loyola Coordinator to the Concordia Student Union (CSU) who supported us in development and sent our survey out as part of the CSU’s undergraduate student survey.
The goal of our portion of the CSU survey was to measure student experiences with unfair treatment and/or discrimination at Concordia based on: (1) ability/disability, (2) sexuality/sexual orientation, (3) race (including Indigeneity and/or (4) gender. These core themes were then intersected with questions about sexual violence, misgendering, access and helpfulness of student services and representation in classrooms and student groups. And throughout this process we have come to recognize how difficult it is to adequately and thoughtfully capture these kinds of student experiences of violence, discrimination, exclusion and injustice through a computer-generated survey. There are many limits to this quantitative method and while our survey might be statistically robust, it is the first time we’ve created something like this and there are many ways we’d like to improve our process. We also recognize how much can be lost in this type of data collection and we encourage you to reach out if you would feel more comfortable sharing your stories one-on-one.
While the CSU begins the statistical analysis of the survey results (which will be undertaken summer 2017), we’re excited to start making sense of our 1491 student responses. Once we have access to the results we will be sharing what we learn, and you can check back here or subscribe to our mailing list for the subsequent results. If you have questions about our process or would like to access our survey please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d be happy to share our resources or hear your feedback.
We also hoped to use this survey as a pedagogical tool by including definitions of concepts that might be new to some of our survey recipients:
ableism: indicates any form of unfairness, discrimination, violence and/or prejudice you may have experienced based on your physical, mental, or developmental disabilities and/or needs. This includes anytime that you have felt that a space, place, event, information, communication, and/or technology has been designed without considering your particular accessibility needs.
trans-gender: describes people whose gender identity does not correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth.
cis-gender: describes people whose gender identity is represented by the sex they were assigned at birth (ie. a person who identifies as a woman and was assigned ‘female’ at birth, a person who identifies as a man and was assigned ‘male’ at birth).
non-binary: describes people whose gender identity does not correspond with binary conceptions of gender (male or female) and does not identify as male or female.
barrier to service: is any kind of social or physical constraint or obstacle that keeps you from being able to take full advantage of a student service at Concordia or participate completely in services that may provide you support during your time as a student.
sexual violence: any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. This includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, indecent exposure, voyeurism, degrading sexual imagery, distribution of sexual images or video of a community member without their consent, and cyber harassment or cyberstalking of a sexual nature or related to a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or presentation (taken from Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre).