Despite experiencing discrimination, a majority of students still feel a sense of belonging at their institution.
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- Sixty-two percent of currently enrolled students say their institution’s leaders make diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority on campus.
- Yet, 31% of students report experiencing discrimination at school.
- Less than half of students feel free to voice their opinion on controversial topics without fear of repercussions.
- This data mirrors earlier findings about current students’ on-campus experiences.
Discrimination is continuing to impact college students despite schools’ increased efforts at inclusion, a new report reveals.
Qualtrics and College Pulse surveyed more than 2,700 current undergraduate and graduate students, and found that nearly 1 in 3 (31%) have felt discriminated against at their institution.
Feelings of discrimination were highest among students of color, according to the report, and the most common types of discrimination felt by all students were racial (11%) and political (10%).
Despite these sentiments from students, a majority agree that their institution’s leaders make diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority on campus (62%).
Further, most students (64%) say they feel a sense of belonging at their school, especially those who feel connected to their peers (87%).
Still, less than half of students (47%) feel free to voice their opinion on controversial topics without fear of repercussions.
This isn’t the first time current students say they have been discriminated against or expressed concerns about being judged for their opinions.
In a fall 2022 survey from Gallup, more than 1 in 5 Black college students reported experiencing discrimination on their campus.
Heterodox Academy surveyed current students during the same academic term and found that nearly 3 in 5 were reluctant to discuss controversial topics for fear of retribution.
Experts explain that although many institutional leaders are working to increase DEI on their campuses, a lack of understanding among students about how to properly engage with diverse viewpoints and a politically charged climate are leading many students to self-censor out of fear.
This holds true even among students who say they are open to diverse communities and perspectives, and further report that they would not react to opposing viewpoints from peers with criticism or contempt.
Qualtrics found that, overall, students who agree that their institutions listen, understand, and act on their feedback are most likely to be satisfied with their experience at school.
But currently, less than half of students believe their feedback can inform decision-making on campus (48%) and even fewer feel their institution understands what is important to them (42%).
College and university leaders will need to continue setting the tone for inclusion and further listening to what their students value in order to enhance positive experiences among their student bodies.