From February 8-21, 2021, Cornell’s Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) surveyed Ithaca campus students, faculty and staff to capture community perspectives on police practices on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. These secure and confidential findings are supporting the PSAC as it examines campus security and safety now and in the future and will inform its recommendations, due to university leadership in May 2021, as part of ongoing diversity, equity and inclusion work at Cornell.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did Cornell conduct this survey, and how is data being used?
Survey results help the Public Safety Advisory Committee better understand the perspectives and experiences of Ithaca campus students, faculty and staff concerning services offered by campus police now and in the future. Findings provide insight into the attitudes and beliefs of our diverse campus community regarding appropriate levels and types of policing and the policies, procedures and trainings used by Cornell Police. These findings will help inform PSAC as it develops recommendations to President Pollack and university leadership for any needed improvements or changes to current practices. In June 2020, among other initiatives, President Pollack called for the PSAC to “redouble their efforts to engage our community, with a specific focus on procedures and trainings in the areas of use of force, de-escalation techniques and cultural competency.”
Who conducted the survey? What form did it take?
The Office of Institutional Research and Planning (IRP) fielded the survey on behalf of the Public Safety Advisory Committee. It was an email survey distributed to all Ithaca campus faculty, staff and students. Respondents who indicated their interest in participating in follow-up focus groups were invited to do so in the weeks after the survey closed. A virtual forum for respondents who could not attend a focus group is planned for early May 2021.
Who designed the survey?
Planning on the survey began in November 2020, under the direction of PSAC chair Joanne DeStefano, the university’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. Throughout the process, PSAC committee members, including those representing the CUPD, Student Assembly and Faculty Senate, advised on the structure and content of the survey, as well as analysis of the results. IRP also sought feedback from leaders in Student and Campus Life and the Dean of Students Office on the survey design.
What was the survey response rate?
The survey was sent to all Ithaca campus faculty, staff and students (approximately 35,000 recipients). It had an overall response rate of 22%. Of those respondents, 38% were staff members, 14% were faculty members and 48% were students.
What types of questions did the survey ask?
The survey sought to capture quantitative and qualitative inputs from the Ithaca campus community. Among other topics, it asked respondents about their impressions of any recent interactions with CUPD, about the importance of numerous CUPD functions, ranging from investigating serious crimes to personal safety checks to community policing initiatives, and about their overall satisfaction with CUPD.
In addition, the survey asked for the community’s views regarding two specific topics: 1) their feelings of personal safety around armed police officers and 2) what types of personnel should respond to personal safety checks on campus (i.e., mental health professionals, CUPD officers, joint teams comprising both, etc.)
The survey also included three open questions that invited respondents to reflect upon overall impressions of CUPD, their future vision for CUPD and other thoughts and comments on policing on campus.
Are responses anonymous?
Yes. All names and other Cornell identifiers were removed during data analysis, which only occurs in aggregate form by Institutional Research and Planning. Survey reports or summaries provided to PSAC or other administrators do not include any identifying information. When data are analyzed, all personal identifying information, including Cornell NetIDs, is removed.
Is the survey data secure?
Yes. All information is stored on secure Cornell servers.