After more than two years, Ithaca College has released an executive summary of the results of the 2012 Campus Acceptance, Inclusion and Fairness Survey. Along with a number of expected trends, the results showed a clear perception gap between white and African, Latino, Asian and Native American students, faculty and staff when it comes to matters of diversity, inclusion and opportunities for open discussion.
This perception gap is particularly apparent in the portion of the results that focuses on comfort with discussing issues of race, diversity and inclusion. With students, faculty and staff, there is a significant gap between the percentage of white and ALANA respondents who felt comfortable discussing these issues with other members of the campus community.
Though the campus has taken steps to create more inclusion and discussion, most of these efforts to improve the campus climate have been primarily student-driven. In an email, Ithaca College President Tom Rochon specifically mentioned the ongoing microaggression discussions and last semester’s student protests regarding systemic oppression as examples of efforts being made to create a more inclusive campus. Both of these examples were actions taken by students.
Creating discussions about race and diversity would be difficult for the college because conversations about issues like those can’t be forced. However, the college can structurally improve the campus climate by ensuring that students, faculty and staff know who to go to when dealing with concerns about diversity and microaggressions.
Now that the survey results are out in the open, the college needs to address its findings and push to make the campus more inclusive for everyone.