Diversity Survey Results Show There’s Work To Be Done

Carolyn Kroupa
Contributing Writer

The results from the AIM4 Community Excellence Survey were presented on April 17 by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Rona Tamiko Halualani, Ph.D. of Halualani & Associates.

The findings provide insight into the cultural climate at UD. This knowledge will be used to create and implement future diversity initiatives. Three different versions of the survey were created for employees, students and alumni.

85 percent of students responded they felt an overall average plus (average, strong or extremely strong) sense of belonging to UD. “White,” “heterosexual” and “male” identities responded with a stronger sense of belonging than students of color and LGBTQ+ identifying students.

13 percent of the student body responded to the survey.

Evidence of micro-aggressions were discovered in the results. Jokes about one’s group/identity and being asked to speak on behalf of one’s group/identity are more prevalent for students that identify as LGBTQ+, Black and Latinx. When President Eric Spina asked where these micro-aggressions occur, Halualani responded the survey did not have that information.

74 percent of students feel the term “ghetto” referring to the student neighborhood is “just tradition.” In contrast, 26 percent find the term “ghetto” to be offensive.

In addition to the survey, there were six listening session groups consisting of employees and students. These sessions were held with different identity groups with the goal of getting a more in-depth look into the experiences of LGBTQ+, international employees and students, employees and students with a disability, historically underrepresented groups, females and Latinx.

A theme that was consistent in all six groups was feeling unsafe. Themes specific to each group include:

LGBTQ+:

  • Feeling of “on the surface” or superficial attention to diversity from the university

Disability:

  • Lack of awareness from the university about the needs and existence of individuals with disabilities
  • Only the bare minimum is being done to accommodate their disabilities

Historically underrepresented individuals:

  • Feeling of being an “outsider”
  • Need to find coping mechanisms (affinity groups, Office of Multicultural Affairs, etc.)
  • Tired of having to educate peers on racism/oppression

Female:

  • The word “hostile” was used to describe working conditions
  • Climate of inappropriateness and micro-aggressions
  • Lack of accountability on gender bias

Hispanic/Latinx:

  • Range of positive and negative experiences
  • Sense of belonging, but also isolation and micro-aggressions
  • Feelings of needing to “pass” as White
  • Feelings of needing to change and not being able to be culturally true selves

The full results will be shared with the campus community in the form of a slidecast and video recording of the presentation. This report will be used for strategic planning by the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Assessment Task Force.

In March, the university apologized for omitting Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx identities from the demographic section of the survey. Online listening sessions were held to remedy the oversight.