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UCLA releases discrimination in higher education survey

Our college institutions carry a significant burden in educating the next generation. That responsibility is stressful enough for faculty members without fearing discrimination because of age, gender, race or sexual orientation. Yet, this is a reality university faculty deal with on a regular basis.

A new survey from UCLA of higher education STEM faculty revealed that concerns over workplace discrimination are commonplace in our universities.

Women, minority faculty members feel most impacted by discrimination

Sixty percent of Latin, black and multiracial women felt that discrimination was a moderate or extensive source of stress. Native American women polled similarly at 56 percent.

Latin, black and multiracial men similarly reported the highest levels of stress among men. By comparison, white men were least likely to report discrimination with 10.3 points separating them from the next closest group (Asian men).

Are universities doing enough to promote diversity?

Only 34.6 percent of Native American faculty members felt that universities were doing enough to promote a racially and ethnically diverse workplace. Fifty-three percent of Native Americans also reported feeling that universities treat faculty of color equally, the lowest of any group.

Latin and black groups who reported feeling most impacted by discrimination were the next lowest-polling groups in this category. Conversely, males and white men felt that both faculty of color were treated fairly, and universities were doing enough to promote diversity.

Faculty of color feel like they need to work harder to prove themselves

The survey asked respondents if they felt the need to work harder than others for their colleagues to view them as a legitimate scholar. Women of every group unanimously affirmed this statement, with 97 percent of Native American women leading the way. Over 80 percent of Black and Latin women also reported feeling they had to do more than their colleagues to prove themselves.

Among the lowest groups reporting were white men and women. Overall, multiracial and “other” groups were the next lowest groups.

Discrimination can happen to anyone

Discrimination events don’t exclude any demographic. Instances of discrimination don’t always occur with minority groups and still happen among white faculty too. There can be groups that experience discrimination more frequently, but no one is impervious to it.

Diversity is something that enriches our lives and expands our worldview. Having diverse workplace is especially important in academic settings as it allows for the teaching of broader perspectives. Discrimination not only prevents this but unfairly prevents others from reaching a status or salary they’re qualified for.

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