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Much Discussion, Not Much Change: Perceptions of Campus Climate Continue to Differ Along Racial Lines: Opportunities for Diversity and Inclusion

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Abstract

In this chapter, Telles and Mitchell provide a brief historical overview of campus climate issues beginning with the 1980s, provide information about the 2017 Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey, and present racial campus climate data. The issue of negative campus climates for students of color in higher education institutions across the United States has been well documented and many resources have been dedicated to programming and initiatives to address these negative environments. As the SERU data used for this descriptive article show, however, perceptions of and experiences with a negative campus climate continue to be an issue. The authors discuss the disconnection between programming meant to change campus climate and the actual outcome of this type of programming, as well as other possibilities that may begin to truly address campus climate issues for students of color in higher education.

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... Black college students may demonstrate academic resilience or success in school despite navigating a challenging racial campus climate (Lee, 2016) or an adverse sense of belonging (Hargrove, 2014) that can make it challenging for them to excel academically. Campus climates may present risks to Black students, and contribute to academic and social disparities, inequities, or injustices if they do not support access to diverse curricula, and access for and inclusion of diverse, students, staff, and faculty (Lewis & Shah, 2019;Telles & Mitchell, 2018). Among Black college students, negative perceptions of campus climate have been associated with lower motivation , persistence (Cabrera et al., 1999;Strayhorn, 2013), achievement (Fischer, 2010;Martin et al., 2017), and graduation rates Fischer, 2010). ...
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... For example, BIPOC students' experiences in higher education differ significantly from white students, particularly at predominantly white institutions. Significant bodies of research point to vastly different experiences that affect BIPOC student success, including: campus climate [22][23][24], sense of belonging [25][26][27][28], and microaggressions [29,30], resulting in racial battle fatigue [31], and requiring students to adopt a variety of strategies for survival on campus [32][33][34][35]. Yet, other research provides hopeful pathways forward: BIPOC students at historically black colleges and universities show significantly fewer challenges with respect to these issues than BIPOC students at predominantly white institutions [36], as do those students who share a common background with faculty, staff, and peers [5,33]. ...
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