Campus Climate Is Looking Less Warm Than Expected


Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

According to a recent campus climate survey, students and faculty and staff have witnessed or experienced bias/discrimination in terms of race and gender at significantly high rates.

“I think encouraging the students as they enter into the university, you know offices like mine,” said Paula Rice, director of the office of diversity and equity programs, “making students aware, aware of where they can have resources and where they can report these incidents.”

Vice President of Student Affairs, Tracy Tyree said all first-year students receive some form of bystander training during their orientation to the university.

For the students surveyed, the third most prominent instance of bias/discrimination was political ideologies.

“We heard students say that it’s hard – I’m just gonna say this generally – hard to be a conservative voice on campus,” said Tyree.

Tyree said not only were issues of political ideology reflected within the quantitive or numerical data, but also the qualitative data.

According to Barbara Cook, assistant professor of communications disorders, she, Rice and Tyree, the survey had been in the works for the last two years and had been administered to the university in November 2017.

“The hope was in doing this survey,” said Cook, “we would end up with some really good data that might help to warn of things we could do to change practices and increase the campus climate if we found areas of weakness.”

Cook, Rice and Tyree presented the results and analysis of the survey to a lecture hall of about 43 faculty and staff and graduate interns on Friday, December 7.

Tyree said there was an open invitation to all students, however, she admits that “this is not the best time of year” to get students to come to such an event.

“We are trying to be as transparent as possible with all of this, so we’ll continue to do those kinds of presentations,” said Tyree. “We just got to the point that we had done the data analysis and in a way that we are ready to share it.”

Tyree said a full detailed report of the data should be available in the spring of 2019.

Photo Credit: Tamonda Griffiths

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