Mandatory survey to gauge campus safety: CATS part of long-term program aimed at making UK more inclusive

By Suzannah Strange

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Beginning the week of March 2, students will receive an email from the university asking them to take the CATS — Campus Attitudes Toward Safety — survey.

CATS is a 25-minute, mandatory survey that collects students’ perceptions of safety.

All students will be required to complete the survey before the class registration window opens or risk a hold on their account.

President Eli Capilouto wrote in an email to the Kentucky Kernel that the information from this survey and similar initiatives “will allow us to create and implement the kinds of policies that will make our campus even safer and more inclusive.”

“In the last few years alone, UK has spent some $5 million on safety initiatives — new technology, lights, cameras, safety personnel, counselors and advisors,” Capilouto wrote in the email. “All of that investment is tied to student success and putting the safety of our students first. But we are never finished with that process.”

UK has committed to five years of surveys that will create a “baseline of information” to create a more safe and inclusive university, Capilouto wrote.

“We will publish (the) results each year (and) discuss them in a deep and transparent fashion,” Capilouto wrote in the email.

The university is also offering various incentives, including free parking permits for the 2015-16 year, according to public relations staff member Jenny Wells.

“Our hope with incentives is to encourage students to participate with CATS early in the process,” Capilouto wrote in the email.

The survey will gauge students’ experiences and what they can bring to the table, and asks questions about how students obtain information, who they listen to and respect, and how they feel about the existing environment on campus.

“We have a safe campus,” Capilouto wrote in the email. “We have invested in that and we will continue to do so. But information, such as what we will gather in CATS, will allow us to target and focus our investments in safety and the environment of our campus.”