A year after launching a diversity, equity, and inclusion survey at the University of Michigan, the results were released in a news conference Thursday.
72 percent of students, staff, and faculty surveyed at the University of Michigan, say they’re satisfied with the climate on campus. University President Dr. Mark Schlissel made the announcement at the Student Union. But this figure does not take into consideration incidents such as the racist messages that were found on campus earlier this year.
“The survey was actually conducted about a year ago, so the data was acquired about a year ago. So whatever the context was in people’s minds last fall was the context that they answered those questions,” says Schlissel.
For that reason, University of Michigan student Tatum Thornton says the study does not reflect the current diversity climate on campus.
“Overall, I would say that I would not agree with the statistics based on all the events happening on campus,” says Thornton.
8,500 people were surveyed.
Below are more details of the survey:
- Underrepresented minorities, especially African-Americans, consistently report having the least positive experiences compared to any other social identity group on campus.
- For example, 62 percent of undergraduate underrepresented minority students and 55 percent of underrepresented minority faculty said they are satisfied with the campus climate, compared with 72 percent of the overall U-M community. Among faculty, those identifying as Hispanic or Latinx are significantly more likely to report feeling neutral, unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the climate than all other ethnicities.
- For underrepresented minority staff, 46 percent of staff identifying as African-American said they are satisfied with the campus climate, followed by Middle Eastern or North African (58 percent) and Hispanic or Latinx (63 percent).
- Across the U-M community, females, members of the LGBTQ+ communities or those with a disability are among other traditionally marginalized groups that have fewer positive experiences on campus than members of traditional majority groups.
- For example, students with disabilities were 145 percent more likely than students without a disability to report feeling neutral, unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the climate. LGBTQ+ students were 59 percent more likely than heterosexual students to report feeling neutral, unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the climate.
- The survey also asked about discrimination. Approximately 17 percent of the U-M community said they felt discriminated against on campus in the past 12 months.
- Gender and race were the most frequent reasons students, faculty and staff reported experiencing discrimination. Undergraduate students also said political orientation was a leading reason they were discriminated against.
- Members of minority groups were significantly more likely to report experiencing discrimination. For example, 51 percent of African-American staff said they experienced at least one discriminatory event as a result of race in the past 12 months.
- Among faculty, 41 percent of females said they experienced at least one discriminatory event as a result of gender in the past 12 months.
- For students, 48 percent of those with disabilities said they experienced at least one discriminatory event as a result of their ability status in the past 12 months.
Some of the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts currently underway that address the findings include:
- Making campus facilities more accessible to all including those with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ communities.
- Better coordination and greater awareness of the university’s bias response resources that are directly relevant to the findings of reports of experiencing discriminatory incidents.
- Initiatives to further diversify the student body, such as the Urban School Initiative, Native American Student Initiative, Wolverine Pathways, and Go Blue Guarantee.
- The Inclusive Teaching Initiative designed to equip faculty with more resources and skills for making U-M classrooms more inclusive and effective.
- Providing staff members with extensive professional development experiences designed to help them develop the skills necessary to contribute to and thrive in a diverse community.
- Efforts to include faculty and staff’s efforts around DEI in their annual performance review process.
Non-commercial, fact based reporting is made possible by your financial support. Make your donation to WEMU today to keep your community NPR station thriving.
— Jorge Avellan is a reporter for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him [email protected]