This year, The Ithacan is revisiting last year’s diversity report. The new diversity report was formulated by the current community outreach manager. We asked for demographic information in an effort to compare last year’s data and monitor changes and improvements. The new survey consisted of 10 questions and some were answered by multiple choice while others were open-ended. Similar to our previous report, all answers are anonymous, and the answers were charted and compared to available Ithaca College student population data. The survey was sent out to all 26 of The Ithacan’s editorial board members and 23 of them answered.
This diversity report serves as a progress report and motivation for our team to develop strategies and devise a plan to attain them. As a paper led by students, we are conscientious of the importance of amplifying marginalized voices. We will continue to work on reflecting that with the representation in our editorial board and our coverage of all communities on campus. That starts with sharing comprehensive data about our demographics.
In the past year, The Ithacan began to implement diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) sessions. We asked board members to attend these sessions and held a debrief meeting at the end of the semester to discuss our approach to DEIB. In future semesters, we hope to open these sessions to all staff and create a time for the staff and editorial board members to have an open dialogue about topics ranging from intersectionality to microaggressions in the workplace. The previous diversity report allowed us to share this year’s data and reflect on our progress and update the steps that need to be taken.
The purpose of this diversity report is to be fully transparent about our makeup as an organization and address gaps in our representation. We are determined to build a more balanced workplace that recognizes that diversity is intersectional, and encouraging an inclusive environment is a step toward equitable and impartial coverage. While this report can track significant progress, we recognize that it will take continued effort to hold ourselves accountable.
Our findings are:
- Our non-binary and trans population has grown significantly.
- While our data shows that the representation of people of color (POC) grew, the numerical gap between the POC and white members also widened.
- In our sexuality section, there was a substantial increase in our representation of LGBTQ+ members, and the data is becoming increasingly balanced between all sexual identities.
- We’ve taken steps to introduce our board to DEIB sessions led by The Center of IDEAS, ranging in topics from intersectionality to implicit bias.
Racial and ethnic background
The findings show that there are still no members that are Alaskan Native or Pacific Islander. Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) on The Ithacan’s board represented 28% of the newsroom; a 5.4% decrease in BIPOC representation compared to 2021. This is 7.3% higher than the BIPOC population at Ithaca College, compared to last year’s 10.1%. Population data for the campus is located under the Office of Analytics and Institutional Research (AIR) on the college’s website. Its data classification is different, as the college includes international populations. However, our survey did not include a question about international student status.
For comparison, Ithaca College’s most recent data from Fall 2021 reports that students are 72.4% white, 4.8% unknown, 2.1% international and 20.7% BIPOC.
The Ithacan board continues to be predominantly composed of cisgender women with cisgender women making up 65.2%, an 8.7% decline compared to last year. Cisgender men make up 21.7% of our board, a 4.3% increase compared to last year. The student body of Ithaca College is reported as being 56.7% women and 43.3% men. Nonbinary representation on the editorial board has grown to 8.7%, a 4.4% increase from last year. Transgender representation is low at 4.3% but is an increase from last year’s 0%. The AIR does not report the number of nonbinary or transgender students at the college.
This survey question was not multiple choice, and each board member wrote their answer in a text box. This means the categories for sexuality data are specific to how the board member completing the form identifies. This year the board is much more balanced with both bisexual and heterosexual sexual identities reported at 30.4%. While 13% identified as lesbian, 8.7% queer, and 4.3% as gay, there are no individuals who identified as pansexual. For this and the following categories, there is no readily available data to compare with the college’s student body. However, the college continues to be ranked as the “Best of the Best” on the Campus Pride index since 2012.
The editorial board is considerably more balanced with the number of sophomores and seniors being the same at 34.8% while the number of juniors on the board decreased from 46.2% to 30.4%. The editorial board for the fall semester was hired during the previous spring semester, so there were no incoming first-year students on campus, and therefore, they are not represented on the editorial board. First-year students are also seldom hired as board members.
According to the college’s website, 15% of the student body is first-generation students. Ithaca College defines First Generation as “Students (and their siblings) who are the first in their family to attend and graduate from a four-year residential college in the U.S. …” The college’s data has not been updated for the 2022 – 23 academic year. Our representation of first-generation students has decreased from 8.7% to a low 4.5%.
Like other categories, there is still no publicly available data to compare the larger student body with The Ithacan’s board. However, our population of disabled members has grown from 4.3% to 8.7%.
Our call to action
We are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive community that amplifies marginalized voices. We are focused on developing activities and scenarios that reflect our progress and the work that still has to be done. We are hoping to expand our resources dedicated to DEIB and continue to search for other resources that promote diversity in the workplace.