DU Community Attitudes Survey

Data-Driven Design

A critical step to effective design of our return to campus action plan is a thorough understanding of the thoughts and feelings our community. In tandem with over 60 town halls between senior leadership and community members, we also conducted a campus-wide survey (described below). Based on the pre-fall survey we implemented a number of procedures to be responsive to community-identified needs and concerns. In January, we will implement a new survey to better understand community feelings regarding vaccination.

Survey Results

Survey Overview. All faculty, staff and students at the University of Denver received a link to an anonymous survey assessing their attitudes about processes and people regarding the prevention of COVID-19 on campus.

  • 3,452 responses: 671 staff, 561 faculty, 19 faculty/staff, 1,004 undergraduates, 83 undergraduate students/staff, 745 graduate students, 181 graduate students/staff/faculty, and 188 unknown.
  • Respondents predominantly identified as women (60.4%), which is similar to our campus population of 59.4% women. 
  • Respondents ranked statements from 1 (highly unlikely) to 5 (highly likely) and were also given opportunities to provide qualitative feedback (free response).


A. Risk of Infection

  • The DU community, as a whole, rated their risk just above the middle at 3.18.

B. Trust in Peers

  • The community expressed some concern with students’ likelihood to adhere to DU protocols both on (2.75) and off (2.00) campus.
  • The DU community is more trusting of faculty and staff to adhere to the protocols on campus (3.89; 3.88), but also expressed concerns about their behaviors off campus (3.21; 3.15).

C. Symptom Monitoring and Contact Tracing

  • Survey results
  • The DU community has a variable understanding of symptom monitoring apps and contact tracing apps. Additional education will be required.
  • While some individuals are hesitant about contact tracing, the overall community seems comfortable (3.70) with proposed apps for symptom monitoring and contact tracing.

D. Adherence to following protocols (normative beliefs, difficult conversations, and self-efficacy)

  • In general, the community is positive about engaging (3.9) with peers and the community to encourage them to follow protocols.
  • When asked what percentage of their peers they thought would follow each of the guidelines, estimates ranged from 49.6% for honestly reporting symptoms daily to 67% for wearing facial coverings.
  • Community members report confidence in their own ability to follow protocols. Specifically, to wear a facial covering (4.55), to practice social distance (3.41), to report symptoms (4.18), to disinfect personal spaces (4.18), to wash their hands regularly (4.56), and to get tested for COVID-19 (3.06).
  • Survey Results

E. Overcoming Barriers and Seeking Motivation

  • DU community members all report adhering to the protocols would help prevent the spread of COVID-19 (4.49), prevent themselves from getting COVID-19 (4.06), prevent their friends from getting COVID-19 (4.10), and help keep us all on campus longer (4.23).
  • The DU community also indicated the protocols aligned with their values and thus this may be another motivating factor for compliance with protocols.

F. Overall Concerns and Questions about Returning to Campus

  • An open-ended question came at the end of a long survey and 59.6% of the respondents, evenly divided from staff (24%), faculty (20%), undergraduate (29%) and graduate students (27%), to the survey wrote a response. 
  • The concerns/themes reiterated the most related the specific protocols for mitigating COVID-19 on campus, including outbreak potential, anxiety, privacy, trust, stigma, complacency, noncompliance, testing availability, student conduct, accountability, conflicting goals and opinions, and enforcement.
  • A number of additional issues were raised such as financial concerns and pressures, transportation, adequate learning environments, campus closure, a sudden return to online courses, ventilation, isolation and quarantining, burdens placed on staff and faculty, and conflicting family needs.
  • A number of respondents also questioned how DU would handle inequities for people of color on campus related to COVID-19 and more broadly.