Initial Campus Wide Survey

Thank you for completing this survey on “controversial conversations” at CSB/SJU. Please note that we define a controversial conversation as one that generates sharp disagreements or strong emotions. It may be that participants are committed to divergent positions on an issue. It may also be that participants, whatever their positions, feel that important aspects of their identity are at stake in the discussion.

 

Please feel free to leave any item blank if you have no strong opinion.

 

What controversial topics do you consider most important? Name up to three.

 

1)       ____________________________________

2)       ____________________________________

3)       ____________________________________

 

Name up to three controversial topics that people at CSB/SJU are likely to have good conversations about.

 

1)       ____________________________________

2)       ____________________________________

3)       ____________________________________

 

Name up to three controversial topics at CSB/SJU that are likely to generate conversations that are so contentious as to be unpleasant.

 

1)       ____________________________________

2)       ____________________________________

3)       ____________________________________

 

Name up to three controversial topics that people at CSB/SJU are likely to avoid altogether.

 

1)       ____________________________________

2)       ____________________________________

3)       ____________________________________

 

If you wish, please name a faculty or staff person who is especially skilled at facilitating good conversations on difficult issues.

 

____________________________________________

 

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Below is a list of things that might happen in a controversial conversation. In your opinion, how positive or negative an effect does each item have on the success of the conversation?

 

Neg     Pos

□ □ □ □ □     Participants interrupt one another.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to see the issue from the perspective of oppressed persons.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants question the expertise of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to paraphrase the views of others in order to understand better.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants focus on the weakest aspects of one another’s arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants seek to identify points of agreement.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants address challenging issues directly.

Neg     Pos

□ □ □ □ □     Participants choose not to speak.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants make logical arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     The right side wins the argument.

□ □ □ □ □     No one’s feelings are hurt.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants avoid the most challenging issues.

□ □ □ □ □    Participants use polite language.

□ □ □ □ □    Participants clarify their personal values.  

□ □ □ □ □     Participants listen attentively.

□ □ □ □ □     Everyone has a chance to speak.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants acknowledge the best arguments of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share factual information.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share personal experiences.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants express strong feelings.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants are open to changing their minds.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share perspectives rooted in their faith commitments.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants respect official Catholic teachings.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants ask clarifying questions of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     A wide range of viewpoints is expressed.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants gain a deeper understanding of objective truth.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants emphasize moral principles.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants respect the authority of experts.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants gain a deeper understanding of one another’s perspectives.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants have fun.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants hold fast to their own beliefs.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants change the subject to something less controversial.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants build on values they already share.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants raise their voices.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants achieve a greater degree of agreement.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants focus on minor details.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants use insulting language

□ □ □ □ □     Participants with extreme views speak more than those in the middle.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants stress facts more than opinions.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to win.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants express unpopular ideas.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants encourage newcomers to speak up.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants build stronger relationships with one another.


In your experience, how often do each of the following things happen in controversial conversations at CSB/SJU?

 

Almost Almost

Never  Always

□ □ □ □ □     Participants interrupt one another.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to see the issue from the perspective of oppressed persons.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants question the expertise of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to paraphrase the views of others in order to understand better.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants focus on the weakest aspects of one another’s arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants seek to identify points of agreement.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants address challenging issues directly.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants choose not to speak.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants make logical arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     The right side wins the argument.

□ □ □ □ □     No one’s feelings are hurt.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants avoid the most challenging issues.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants use polite language.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants clarify their personal values.  

□ □ □ □ □     Participants listen attentively.

□ □ □ □ □     Everyone has a chance to speak.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants acknowledge the best arguments of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share factual information.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share personal experiences.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants express strong feelings.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants are open to changing their minds.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants share perspectives rooted in their faith commitments.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants respect official Catholic teachings.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants ask clarifying questions of those with whom they disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     A wide range of viewpoints are expressed.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants gain a deeper understanding of objective truth.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants emphasize moral principles.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants respect the authority of experts.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants gain a deeper understanding of one another’s perspectives.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants have fun.

 

Almost Almost

Never  Always

□ □ □ □ □     Participants change the subject to something less controversial.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants hold fast to their own beliefs.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants build on values they already share.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants raise their voices.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants achieve a greater degree of agreement.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants focus on minor details.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants use insulting language

□ □ □ □ □     Participants with extreme views speak more than those in the middle.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants stress facts more than opinions.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants try to win.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants express unpopular ideas.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants encourage newcomers to speak up.

□ □ □ □ □     Participants build stronger relationships with one another.

 

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When you personally participate in a controversial conversation at CSB/SJU, how often do you do each of the following things?

 

Almost  Almost

Never   Always

□ □ □ □ □    I interrupt others.

□ □ □ □ □     I respect the authority of experts.

□ □ □ □ □     I listen attentively.

□ □ □ □ □     I clarify my personal values.

□ □ □ □ □     I express unpopular ideas.      

□ □ □ □ □     I try to win.

□ □ □ □ □     I try to paraphrase the views of others in order to understand better.

□ □ □ □ □     I choose not to speak.

□ □ □ □ □     I question the expertise of those with whom I disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     I am open to changing my mind.

□ □ □ □ □     I avoid the most challenging issues.

□ □ □ □ □     I raise my voice.

□ □ □ □ □     I change the subject to something less controversial.

□ □ □ □ □     I focus on the weakest aspects of other people’s arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     I express strong feelings.

□ □ □ □ □     I acknowledge the best arguments of those with whom I disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     I ask clarifying questions of those with whom I disagree.

□ □ □ □ □     I share personal experience.

□ □ □ □ □     I share perspectives rooted in my faith commitment.

 

Almost  Almost

Never   Always

□ □ □ □ □     I focus on minor details.

□ □ □ □ □     I use insulting language.

□ □ □ □ □     I use polite language.

□ □ □ □ □     I emphasize moral principles.

□ □ □ □ □     I make logical arguments.

□ □ □ □ □     I respect official Catholic teachings.

□ □ □ □ □     I hold fast to my beliefs.

□ □ □ □ □     I share factual information.

□ □ □ □ □     I seek to identify points of agreement.

□ □ □ □ □     I try to see the issue from the perspective of oppressed persons.

□ □ □ □ □     I stress facts more than opinions.

□ □ □ □ □     I have fun.

□ □ □ □ □     I encourage newcomers to speak up.

□ □ □ □ □     I build stronger relationships with others.

□ □ □ □ □     I address challenging issues directly.

 

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Please think about how you participate in controversial conversations in each context listed below, as compared to other campus contexts. Check the appropriate box if you are more likely to participate in ways you consider positive, more likely to participate in ways you consider negative, or more likely to avoid participating in such conversations. You may also indicate if your behavior is no different, or if you have little experience of controversial conversations in a particular context.

 

Pos Neg Avoid No Diff Little Exp

                           Classes with fewer than 25 students

                           Classes with more than 25 students

                           Small groups within a class

                           Classes in my major

                           Classes outside my major

                           Hanging out with friends

                           With people who agree with me

                           With people who disagree with me

                           Single-gender groups

                           Mixed-gender groups

                           At my job

                           At religious or spiritual events

                           Student organizations

                           Sports teams

                           Public events

                           Electronic discussions

If you wish, please share any additional reflections on how your participation in controversial conversations varies from one context to another.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

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Please think about how you participate in controversial conversations on each topic listed below, as compared to the full range of controversial topics discussed at CSB/SJU. Check the appropriate box if you are more likely to participate in ways you consider positive, more likely to participate in ways you consider negative, or more likely to avoid participating in such conversations. You may also indicate if your behavior is no different, or if you have little experience of controversial conversations on a particular topic.

 

Pos Neg Avoid No Diff Little Exp

                           Topics related to race or ethnicity

                           Topics related to politics

                           Topics related to economics

                           Topics related to religion

                           Official Catholic teachings

                           Catholicism at CSB/SJU

                           Topics related to gender

                           Topics related to sexuality

                           Topics that affect me personally

                           Topics that don’t affect me personally

                           Topics on which I have strong views

                           Topics on which I am uncertain

 

If you wish, please share any additional reflections on how your participation in controversial conversations varies from one topic to another.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

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During your time at CSB/SJU, how often have you had each of the following experiences?

 

           Very

Never   Frequently

□ □ □ □ □     A professor asked me not to express my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     Another student asked me not to express my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     A professor asked me not to reveal important information about who I am.

□ □ □ □ □     Another student asked me not to reveal important information about who I am.

□ □ □ □ □     I chose not to express my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     My feelings got the better of me in a controversial conversation.

□ □ □ □ □     I initiated a conversation on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     I was penalized for expressing my views on a controversial topic (for example, I received a bad grade).

□ □ □ □ □    I was afraid that I would be verbally attacked if I expressed my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     I was afraid that I would be physically attacked if I expressed my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     I was rewarded for expressing my views on a controversial topic.

□ □ □ □ □     A professor began a class by discussing ground rules for discussion.

□ □ □ □ □     A professor encouraged me to express views with which she or he disagreed.

□ □ □ □ □     I chose not to express my views in the classroom because the professor disagreed with me.

□ □ □ □ □     I pretended to agree with a professor when I really disagreed.

□ □ □ □ □     I avoided a controversial topic because I wanted to protect CSB/SJU from possible negative publicity.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students of a different race or ethnicity than my own.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students whose philosophy of life or personal values were very different from my own.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students whose religious beliefs were very different from my own.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students whose family background (economic, social) was very different from my own.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students whose sex was different from my own.

 

           Very

Never   Frequently

□ □ □ □ □     I changed my opinion as a result of participating in a controversial conversation.

□ □ □ □ □     I had serious conversations with CSB/SJU students whose sexual orientation was different than my own.

□ □ □ □ □     I tried to better understand someone else’s views by imagining how an issue looks from her or his perspective.

□ □ □ □ □     I learned something that changed the way I understand an issue or concept.

□ □ □ □ □     I learned something new as a result of participating in a controversial conversation.

□ □ □ □ □     I changed my opinion as a result of the knowledge or arguments presented by others.

□ □ □ □ □     I persuaded other to change their minds as a result of the knowledge or arguments I cited.

 

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Indicate your degree of agreement with each of the following statements.

 

Disagree    Agree

Strongly    Strongly

           Controversial conversations are an important part of a college education.

           Open discussion of gender is an important part of a college education.

           The Catholic identity of CSB/SJU makes it easier to have constructive conversations on controversial topics.

           It is important to avoid offending other people in conversation.

           Gender is discussed too much at CSB/SJU.

          Catholicism is discussed too much at CSB/SJU

           Open discussion of sexuality is an important part of a college education.

           At a Catholic university, the official teachings of the church should have a privileged place in conversations about controversial issues.

           Sexuality is discussed too much at CSB/SJU.

           My family of origin avoids conversations on controversial topics.

           In my family of origin, conversations on controversial topics are usually unpleasant.

           I don’t feel comfortable sharing all aspects of who I am at CSB/SJU.

 

Disagree    Agree

Strongly    Strongly

           The campus culture at CSB/SJU avoids controversy.

           The campus culture at CSB/SJU is usually polite.

           I personally do not enjoy controversy.

           My views are not well represented at CSB/SJU.

           It is easier for me to participate in a controversial conversation when I don’t know the other participants well.

           Public events at CSB/SJU fairly represent a wide range of perspectives on controversial issues.

           There is a climate of political correctness at CSB/SJU.

           The national political culture makes it more difficult to have good conversations on controversial issues at CSB/SJU.

           The Catholic Church beyond CSB/SJU makes it more difficult to have good conversations on controversial issues at CSB/SJU.

           CSB/SJU encourages contact among students from different economic, social and racial or ethnic backgrounds.

           Most CSB/SJU professors encourage students to express views that are different from their own.

           It is easy to tell where CSB/SJU professors stand on controversial issues.

           The faculty at CSB/SJU hold a wide range of views on most controversial issues.

           CSB/SJU encourages contact among students from different racial or ethnic backgrounds.

           In some classes at CSB/SJU, it is hard to get an A if you don’t share the professor’s opinions.

           The Benedictine identity of CSB/SJU makes it more difficult to have good conversations on controversial topics.

          CSB/SJU has provided me with many opportunities to discuss the issues that have the biggest impact on my life.

           It is hard to get good information about sex at CSB/SJU.

           Professors should avoid expressing their personal opinions in the classroom.

 

Disagree     Agree

Strongly     Strongly

           Having a men’s campus and a women’s campus makes it easier to have good conversations on controversial topics.

           Abortion should be legal.

           The death penalty should be abolished.

           Wealthy people should pay a larger share of taxes than they do now.

           The Catholic Church should ordain women.

           Affirmative action in college admissions should be abolished.

           Same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status.

           The primary responsibilities of married women are in the realm of home and family.

           It is important to have laws prohibiting homosexual relationships.

           It is very important that the United States maintain a strong military.

           A national health care plan is needed to cover everybody’s medical costs.

           Through hard work, everybody can succeed in American society.

           Dissent is a critical component of the political process.

           If two people really like each other, it’s all right for them to have sex even if they’ve known each other for only a very short time.

           You can disagree with the church’s official teaching and still be a good Catholic.

 

 

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Finally, please tell us some things about yourself. We are asking these detailed questions to determine which personal factors have the biggest impact on how people participate in and experience controversial conversations on our campuses.

 

Sex:                         female             male 

 

What is your ethnicity? Please check all that apply.

European American

African American

Asian American

Latino/a

Native American

Born outside the United States

Other (please specify) _______________________

 

 


What is your sexual orientation?

Heterosexual

Gay

Lesbian

Bisexual

Other (please specify) _______________________

 

 

What is your religion? __________________________

 

What is the highest level of education that your parent(s) or guardian (s) completed? Please respond for the persons with whom you lived for the largest portion of your childhood.

 

Mother/          Father/

Female          Male

Guardian       Guardian

 

                       Did not finish high school

                       Graduated high school

                       Attended college but did not complete degree

                       Associate’s Degree

                       Bachelor’s Degree

                       Master’s Degree

                       Doctoral Degree

                       Don’t know/Not applicable

 

 

Where did you grow up? Please check all that apply:

       Minneapolis/St. Paul

       Twin Cities suburbs

       Minnesota outside the Twin Cities Metro Area

       North Dakota

       South Dakota

       Wisconsin

       Other state(s) please list _________________

       Other country(s) please list _______________

       A city with a population over 500,000

       A city with a  population 100,000 to less than 500,000

       A city with a population 50,000 to less than 100,000

       A town or city with a population 20,000 to less than 50,000

       A town with a population 5000 to less than 20,000

       A town with a population 500 to less than 5000

       A rural area

 

                                                      Yes       No

Are you an international student?                   

                                                    Yes      No

Do you live on campus at CSB/SJU?              

 

If so, which residence hall? ______________________

 

 


Year at CSB/SJU:

       First year

       Sophomore

       Junior

       Senior

       SOT student

 

                                                     Yes       No

Do you play intercollegiate sports?                 

 

If yes, which sport? ____________________________

 

What is/are your major(s)?

____________________________________________

What is/are your minor(s)?

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________

 Are you involved in any of these campus groups? Please mark all that apply:

       College Democrats

       College Republicans

       PRiSM

       Students for Life

       Students Fostering Conservative Thought

       Magis

       Prepare Ministries

       Fides et Ratio

       Student Coalition for Global Solidarity

 

 

Please mark your approximate GPA:

 

A     AB    B     BC   C    CD     D     F

                                    

 

Which best describes your views on most issues?

 

       Mostly conservative

       Mostly liberal

       Middle of the road

       I don’t have strong views.

       My views don’t fit easily into the labels of “liberal” and “conservative”.

 

Unimportant   Very Important

                How important is religion to you personally?

                How important is religion to the family with whom you mostly grew up?

 

 

 

Thank You!!

 

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