Racism, Sexism Persist on U.S. College Campuses, Study Finds

Article excerpt

COLUMBIA, Mo.

A new study shows large numbers of female and minority faculty experience a particularly challenging and sometimes hostile campus climate, even as universities across the United States seek to create an academic environment free of such hindrances as racism and sexism.

"We found that the lack of accountability and responsibility throughout the university hinders the achievement of an equitable climate for all," says Jennifer Hart, assistant professor of education at the University of Missouri-Columbia, who used the University of Arizona as the focus of the study. "This campus climate is defined as the current perceptions, attitudes and expectations that define the institution and its members."

Hart was a member of a team that interviewed 274 faculty members using an open-ended interview questionnaire, which provided the faculty a chance to express their views in detail. The participants represented all 15 of the university's colleges and professional schools, with 214 women and 59 men.

The researchers found that when faculty were asked how they perceived the treatment of women, more than 90 percent of the male faculty said that women were treated fairly, but only 57 percent of the female faculty believed the same. …