Diversity survey results released
(Sept. 18, 2007)
A survey designed to assess the campus environment at East Carolina University has suggested that while the university faces several challenges in connection with diversity issues, those challenges parallel ones identified in higher education institutions across the nation.
Dr. Virginia Hardy, interim chief diversity officer at the university, said the survey provided valuable insights for developing strategies to enhance the diversity climate and maximize equity at ECU. “The university is unequivocally committed to diversity,” Hardy said. “This survey is another tool in helping us understand what improvements are needed and how we should make them.”
All members of the university community were invited to participate in the survey during the spring semester. Surveys were returned by 3,237 individuals, including students, faculty and staff. Those who participated included 1,747 students, 749 people of color and 2,378 white respondents, 151 people who identified a physical disability, and 247 individuals who identified a psychological condition or learning disability.
Specific findings included:
* Most respondents indicated that they were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” with the overall climate at ECU. There were some disparities based on race. For instance, compared with 75 percent of white people, 61 percent of people of color were comfortable with the overall climate at the university.
* Twenty-one percent of respondents had personally experienced offensive, hostile or intimidating conduct that interfered unreasonably with their ability to work or learn on campus.
* Nine percent of respondents had been subjected to sexual misconduct, such as touching in a sexual manner. Four percent said they had been victims of sexual assault while at ECU.
* Thirty percent of respondents reported that they had observed discriminatory hiring. Twenty-eight percent said they had observed discriminatory promotion practices.
* Forty-nine percent of respondents believe that ECU values their involvement in diversity initiatives on campus. Thirty-four percent said ECU ought to include diversity-related activities as a criterion for hiring.