Discrimination, bias found through survey

Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

According to a recent Campus Climate survey, students, faculty and staff have witnessed or experienced bias/ discrimination in terms of race and gender.

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 Tracy Tyree, vice president of student affairs, at the presentation.

Not only were issues of political ideology reflected within the quantitative or numerical data, but also the qualitative data, she said.

According to Assistant Professor of Communication Disorders Barbara Cook, Director of the Office of Diversity and Equity Programs Paula 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. Later in the afternoon, Cook, Rice, and Tyree presented the results again to the Student Government Association during their final meeting of the semester.

“We want you to think about ways that you can further help us with this information,” said Tyree.

Tyree said all first-year students receive some form of bystander training during their orientation to the university.

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

Asma Rahimyar, a member of the Task Force on Social Justice, said the group had distributed a survey in regards to social justice to faculty members, but also wanted to conduct something similar amongst the student body.

“It’s challenging… for students,” said Cook, “I don’t, I can’t respond why, but there seems to be challenge with engaging and completing surveys of this nature.”

Cook said creating a new survey is a great idea, but coming up with a central question for the survey, whether it is one student organizations formulate themselves or build off of from the Campus Climate survey, should definitely be taken into consideration first.

There was an open invitation to all students, however, she said “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 compiled should be available this spring.


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