Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Nearly 23 percent of UC students, faculty and staff experienced exclusionary, hostile or offensive conduct, according to a new UC campus climate report. Commissioned by former UC President Mark Yudof in 2012, the three-year report is thought to be one of the most comprehensive surveys ever conducted on a systemwide level.

“This survey was unique because of its massive scale,” explained Yolanda Moses, chair of the Campus Climate and Community Committee, which oversaw the survey distribution at UCR. “It gives us a snapshot of what we are doing right and what we can improve on, both at a campus level and system-wide.”

Breaking down campus jobs, religion, citizenship status, sexual identity, disability status and gender identification, 104,208 surveys were completed for an overall response rate of 27 percent. Nearly 4,433 surveys at a response rate of 18 percent were received from UC Riverside. The findings revealed that 60 percent of all post-doctorates; trainee, graduate or professional students; staff and faculty said UCR provided them with resources to pursue professional development opportunities.

Senior Public Information Officer in the Office of Strategic Communications Ross French explained that Moses will be outlining specific actions based on the results of the report by the end of the academic year on ways to improve the university campus climate.

“The findings for UC Riverside are consistent with those found in higher education institutions across the country based on the work of the consultant (Rankin & Associates, 2013),” he said, quoting the campus climate report. “For example, 70 percent to 80 percent of all respondents in similar reports found the campus climate to be ‘comfortable’ or ‘very comfortable.’ Seventy-three percent of all respondents in the UCR survey reported that they were ‘comfortable’ or ‘very comfortable’ with the climate at UC.”

UC Media Specialist Shelly Meron said that the plans will be typically led by a local, campus climate-focused body, which will be given the responsibility of making recommendations to its respective chancellors, while overseeing its implementation.

“What I can tell you is that the data we’ve received as a result of this survey will be further analyzed at every UC location, allowing us to reinforce what is working and address what is not. UC locations are now working on formulation specific plans for moving forward,” said Meron.

According to the UC report, more than twice as many “genderqueer” (52 percent) than men and women respondents experienced discriminatory or hostile behavior on campus. Director of UCR’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center, Nancy Tubbs, said that the university is attempting to educate the UCR community about programs and services available.

“Those students (who identify as gender nonconformist and genderqueer) are experiencing more hostility in the classroom and on campus, especially for the students who are also experiencing microaggressions or hurtful comments from the web or other sources,” said Tubbs.

Students, such as first-year biology major Mark Kappata recommended to “Just be friendly,” as a way to improve the university’s campus climate. “People approach with caution, make judgments and then act based on judgment,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to go out of your way to make friends because nobody has time for that, but I think people should still be friendly. You don’t need to be pissed off and project that onto other people.”

Third-year media and cultural studies major Rhoda Zorilla said the university has provided her with a comfortable environment during her time at UC Riverside. “Maybe if it’s like me walking alone at night (but when it comes to) like, interacting with people, I don’t feel uncomfortable or anything.”