Messages from the Board

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Board Survey

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, the Board of Trustees distributed a survey to the W&L community to gather input on the university's name, symbols, and other factors related to diversity and inclusion at W&L. The following are answers to frequently asked questions regarding that survey.

One of the survey questions asks about actions that W&L could take to achieve greater diversity and inclusion, and asks respondents to choose their top five. If I select “do not do any of the above,” why must I still select four additional options? 

The survey has been modified to allow those respondents who have not yet opened or started it to choose up to five options, including "do not do any of the above," and move forward, rather than requiring five options.

Unfortunately, we were unable to change the survey retroactively for those who have already opened the link or completed the survey. Those respondents who opened the survey but did not finish it will still need to select any five options related to diversity and inclusion. One choice is "do not do any of the above." If that is one of the five selected, only that one will be counted; the others will be ignored.  

Likewise, for those who completed the survey and chose “do not do any of the above” as one of their answers, only that one will be counted; the others will be ignored.

I already expressed my opinion on a potential name change through another channel (e.g., email to W&L leadership; student petition; faculty vote; another survey). Should I still fill out this survey?

Yes. The Board of Trustees has heard valuable feedback from a variety of sources, including listening sessions and individual messages from thousands of members of our community. The survey is a critical component of this feedback that will allow us to gather input on specific questions and enable analysis of large stakeholder groups. Every voice matters.

I’m having trouble accessing or submitting the survey through the link provided. Who do I reach out to?

Technical questions related to the survey should be sent to

I lost the email that my survey link came in. What do I do?

Please email and we will provide you with the link.

Why didn't I receive a link to the survey?

Links to the survey were sent to the following groups: Alumni; current students; benefit-eligible faculty, staff and retirees; and parents of current students and recent graduates (classes of 2017-2024). If you do not fall into one of these categories, you may email your thoughts to the Board of Trustees at

My friend/relative/colleague is not directly affiliated with W&L but has strong opinions on these topics. Can I share my link so they can take the survey too?

No. Each survey link may be used only one time. If you share your link, you will not be able to take the survey yourself. The survey is being sent to all current students and parents, alumni, faculty and staff, with questions tailored to each specific group. Feedback from external parties may be shared using the form on the Board of Trustees’ website. 

I received more than one link in my survey invitation (e.g. because I am both an alumnus and the parent of a W&L student.) Which should I fill out?

Each member of the community should respond to only one survey. If you are a member of multiple stakeholder groups, please choose the survey for the group with which you most strongly identify. 

What do I do if the link in my email doesn't work?

Due to variations in email clients, some links may not be clickable in the email you received. If so, simply copy and paste the URL beginning with “https://” into the address bar of your web browser.

Is this a vote?

No. The Board of Trustees will take into account a variety of factors in making its decision. This survey will provide the board with important information regarding community opinion, but it should absolutely not be construed as a vote or as a predictor of any Board decisions.

Do the opinions of one group count more than another?

No. The W&L community consists of many different constituents, and every voice is important in this process.

How long will the survey take?

We expect the survey to take approximately 20 minutes to complete. We recommend completing the survey in a single sitting to avoid any technical difficulties.

What is the deadline to submit my response?

The deadline to complete the survey is 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020

How will my survey response factor into a decision about the university name?

The Board of Trustees will take into account a number of factors, including the views of the W&L community. The survey will complement the thousands of individual letters and phone calls the board has received, allowing us to gather additional input on specific questions — including the university’s name — and enable analysis of large stakeholder groups.

Who is going to use this information and for what purpose?

Aggregated and anonymized survey results will be used by the Board of Trustees for the purposes of evaluating the interaction between the university’s history, name and symbols, and evolving national attitudes about race, diversity and inclusiveness. The survey is being conducted by an independent third party specializing in survey design and analysis. Individual survey responses will not be shared with members of the university community, including the Board of Trustees.

Will the survey results be made public?

To the extent that any of the survey results are made public, they will be aggregated and anonymized, and individual survey responses will be kept confidential. All survey data will be protected by strict access permissions and will be handled with extreme care to ensure that responses are never publicly associated with a particular individual.

When will a decision be announced about the university name?

In his August 21, 2020 message, Rector McAlevey indicated that it may take six months or more for the board to conclude its work, which began in July 2020.