“Let’s get personal”

by Winnie Blackwood

New students registering at FM or other SUNY campuses will have to complete a new student information survey beginning this spring semester, containing questions about gender and sexual orientation, with their names attached in a database.

During the Student Senate Association’s meeting on Oct. 8, guest speaker, FM’s President Dr. Dustin Swanger, opened the floor to club senators to react towards the revised survey.

The survey was created, according to Swanger, who cited SUNY, to ensure the right support is available for students. This survey is a result of SUNY developing an inclusion committee.

Campuses will receive the aggregate data and SUNY will collect the individual data.

Club senators were skeptical of the survey when the floor was open to them.

The main concern was the inability to remain anonymous. Even if there was an option to opt out, one senator argued that some students may not understand they have that choice.

“Students may not be comfortable speaking about their sexual orientation or if they’re questioning their gender, so I feel it would be a lot more effective if it was not tied to your name,” said Mykha’el Wilson, senator of Student Business Association.

Others believed the survey could help FM and the rest of SUNY campuses move forward with the current times, such as SSA Chair Imran Suhail.
“Honestly, they’re trying to just help,” he remarked.

Swanger added “I’m concerned that a young student, who this survey is put in front of them upon registration… may not feel like they can opt out at 18 or younger, so I have concerns.”

Swanger added while he thinks SUNY’s intention is one of inclusion, in reality the survey is doing the opposite with this personal data.

Swanger will speak to SUNY and see if something can be done to alter the survey.

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