New race, ethnicity survey to get more accurate picture of Temple’s diversity

Temple’s Office of Equal Opportunity Compliance is spearheading a federally mandated, university-wide effort to get every Temple employee and student to identify his or her race and ethnicity using a new method that will more accurately capture the university’s — and the nation’s — diversity.

The new self-identification survey, which takes less than half a minute to complete, may be accessed by logging in to the TUportal and navigating to the “Race and Ethnicity Survey” box in the middle of the page.

“I urge every Temple faculty member, staff member and student to take this quick and painless new survey as soon as possible  — even if you remember self-identifying your race and ethnicity before,” said Sandra Foehl, director of Equal Opportunity Compliance at Temple. “It’s important, and not just because it’s required by the federal government. I think the Temple community embraces its diversity and values this opportunity to see the complex reality of our social fabric.”

Below are common questions and answers intended to clarify the rationale and process for complying with the new federal mandate:

Why does Temple need to use a new method for surveying and reporting race and ethnicity?

Temple is required by the federal government to use the new race and ethnicity categories in its surveys and reporting starting in Fall 2010. But there are plenty of other good reasons to more accurately measure the racial and ethnic makeup of the Temple community. The university routinely reports aggregate information to the federal government for funding and evaluation purposes, as well as civil rights compliance. Temple also uses racial and ethnic data to evaluate placement and program needs, and to respond to inquiries from accrediting associations, media outlets and college guides.

Haven’t I provided this information before?

All employees hired before January 2010 and all new students who enrolled before Fall 2010 identified their race and ethnicity using the old survey method. Temple is strongly encouraging all employees and students to re-identify their race and ethnicity on the TUportal as soon as possible.

Why did the federal government come up with a new method?

The demographics of American society have changed significantly in the last few decades. Many more Americans have been identifying themselves as “other” — or not identifying their race and ethnicity at all. The new way of surveying race and ethnicity will allow respondents to more accurately describe who they are, including new opportunities to self-identify as more than one race. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor are using the new categories. This is a trend that all education and human service agencies will follow.

How is the new way different?

The new survey method separates the ethnicity question from the race question, creating a two-question format. The first question asks whether or not the respondent is Hispanic/Latino (a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race). Respondents to the second question may now self-identify as more than one race — an important change that will help capture more of the complex reality of racial identity. Some of the race categories in the second question have changed as well. The category once called “Asian or Pacific Islander” is now separated into two categories: “Asian” and “Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander.” In addition, the definition of “Native American and Alaska Native” has been broadened to include original people of North America (including Central America) and South America.

Is the federal government checking my immigration status?

No. This information will be maintained in your employment or student records. It will not be reported to any federal agency in a way that identifies you.

Will my name be included when the Temple reports race and ethnicity data?

No. Only aggregate data is reported.

Will Temple release students’ race and ethnicity to other parties?

No. Individual student records are protected by the Federal Education Records and Privacy Act (FERPA), which prohibits the release of race and ethnicity information as well as other “nondirectory” information. The new race and ethnicity standards have no effect on FERPA’s protection of student records.

As an employee, will I be discriminated against after I’ve told Temple that I belong to a minority group?

For employment records, no equal opportunity rules have changed. Your race and ethnicity will not be used to determine your employment status or condition.

Can Temple make me complete a re-identification survey?

No, but it is hoped that all Temple students and employees will voluntarily take this quick and easy survey on the TUportal.

Who can I contact for more information?

Students may call 215-204-1086. Faculty and staff should contact Human Resources at 215-926-2239.