A new report has been cited in an amicus brief signed by 444 professors and filed on behalf of The University of Texas at Austin in the Fisher case before the Supreme Court. The report, published by Higher Education Research Institute at University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), finds that students from minority racial and ethnic groups at colleges where minorities are underrepresented experience more stereotyping, harassment and other forms of discrimination than those on campuses that are more diverse.
Researchers found that 25% of freshmen surveyed believed that racial discrimination is no longer a problem; however recent incidents reported on campuses across the country tell a different story. More than 4,000 students who were described as underrepresented minority (URM) students on 31 campuses took part in a survey designed to assist campuses in evaluating campus climate, institutional practices and outcomes. Thirteen percent of all URM students reported racial incidents to a campus authority. Although such reports are relatively rare, they are significantly more likely to be reported by African American students at low-diversity institutions. Students were also asked about feelings of exclusion from campus events and activities. More than half of the African American students reported exclusion in low-diversity universities. Twenty percent of African American students and 30% of Latino/a students report feeling a level of exclusion on the most diverse campuses.
The research brief, authored by Sylvia Hurtado and Adriana Ruiz, concludes “Previous research has established a link between campus climates and a variety of student outcomes. Continued attention is necessary in order to improve degree attainments and students’ skills for citizenship in a multicultural society.”