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University of Michigan survey shows mixed views on campus climate

Nov 3, 2017

Almost three-fourths of the University of Michigan community is satisfied that the campus climate allows them to thrive and to feel like they belong. But not all groups see it that way.

That's according to surveys, released this week by the U of M, of 8,500 students, faculty and staff at the Ann Arbor campus.  

The surveys show that women and under-represented minorities are less satisfied with their experiences on campus than traditionally majority groups. That's also true of people with disabilities, members of the LGBT communities, and first generation students.

Findings included that African-American students were five times more likely than white students to report having experienced discrimination on campus in the previous 12 months.

"It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the quality of the Michigan experience differs among people with differing individual and group identities," said U of M President Mark Schlissel.

"Although we know that many in our community recognize our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, this survey provides information that is critical in helping us to better serve members of the U of M family who have experienced our community negatively," Schlissel said.

Schlissel said U of M cannot be excellent without being broadly diverse.

"When any member of our community is made to feel they don't belong, we are failing to live up to the University of Michigan's values, and are diminished as a place for advanced learning and research," said Schlissel.

The climate surveys are part of the U of M's Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion that was introduced last year.

According to Robert Sellers, vice provost for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, some of the U of M's DEI efforts already underway include initiatives to further diversify the student body and the faculty, improving accessibility of campus facilities, strengthening bias response resources, and making DEI efforts part of annual performance reviews for faculty and staff.

The surveys will provide a benchmark to measure change over time.

Reports of the results of the climate surveys are available here.