Marquette Student Government began surveying students Monday afternoon on gender and sexuality issues at the university, marking the first time MUSG collected survey data specifically on the issue.
Executive Vice President Zach Bowman, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Off-Campus Senators Natasha Hansen and Mary McCarthy, seniors in the College of Arts & Sciences, authored the survey in response to concerns raised about university policies on gender and sexuality.
Bowman and McCarthy separately identified student concerns brought to MUSG about the university rescinding the honors program’s sponsorship of the FemSex workshop, which covered female sexuality issues. Bowman said some senators either raised concerns or had concerns brought to them by constituents about the issue.
Bowman and McCarthy also referenced concerns raised by Rachel Bruns, a graduate student and organizer of the workshop, to the Higher Learning Commission sight visit team at an open forum for students Sept. 30. Hansen said Bruns had concerns about a lack of transparency on the part of the university administration about why sponsorship was rescinded.
Bowman, Hansen and McCarthy later decided that it would be worthwhile to explore student opinion on gender and sexuality issues at Marquette, and wrote the survey to investigate the subject.
“The survey isn’t focusing on the issue of FemSex, it’s more just about the culture of gender and sexuality on campus, and where and how people have conversations about it in the openness and comfort of Marquette’s campus,” Hansen said.
MUSG collects survey data on a variety of issues from students every year. Bowman said the organization considers surveying students to be an effective form of outreach.
“We need to know where students are at on issues before we start speaking for them,” Bowman said. “And because students walking into our office and voicing their concerns isn’t the most common thing to happen, we have to actively seek it out, and that’s probably the best way we can do it.”
Hansen also serves as the chair of the MUSG Student Life Committee. She said potential future advocacy could be handled by the Student Life Committee.
During the next two weeks, MUSG senators and staff will administer the survey to students around campus using the Campus Labs iOS app. All data will be collected anonymously and will be analyzed by MUSG.
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Claire Van Fossen, a graduate student and FemSex organizer spoke to HLC. The speaker was actually Rachel Bruns.