MU leaders eager for feedback after “sobering” campus climate survey

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University of Missouri leaders say the next step is having conversations with students, faculty and staff after the “sobering” results of a 2016 Campus Climate survey. 

The survey found that 30% of students have seriously considered leaving, and only 66% of those surveyed (faculty, staff and students) feel comfortable on campus. 

“When I took this job, I knew there would be challenges,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright told the audience at day two of the campus climate forum. 

The survey also found that 19% said they have experienced exclusionary, hostile or intimidating conduct, and only 12% of those who experienced that conduct reported it. 

However, Rankin & Associates, the group that conducted the survey in October 2016, said it’s important to take the timing into consideration.

“It’s important to acknowledge that this happened a year after everything went down,” Dr. Emil Cunningham with Rankin & Associates said. 

In terms of the overall climate, minority students were less likely to feel comfortable-a finding that’s consistent nationwide. Here’s a breakdown of overall climate comfort at the University of Missouri: 

-undergraduate students more comfortable than graduate students 
-first year students more comfortable than transfer 
-NTT faculty more comfortable than TT faculty 
-masters degree candidates more comfortable than doctoral degree candidates 
-white respondents more comfortable than other racial groups
-heterosexual respondents more comfortable than LGBT respondents
-people with Christian identity more comfortable than other religious groups
-non U.S. citizen respondents more comfortable than citizen respondents
-not low income students more comfortable than low income students
-non employed students more comfortable than employed students 

In the classroom setting, comfort significantly improved: 84% of faculty and students say they feel comfortable in the classroom. Furthermore, 77% of faculty and staff say they feel comfortable in work areas. 

So, what’s next for the university at a time of budget concerns and low morale? 

“I think it’s [the survey] given us enough information that we now know how to have the conversation with the entire community that will then allow us to start seeing solutions to solve some of the challenges we have,” Dr. Cartwright said. 

As ABC 17 News previously reported, the survey also found employee satisfaction to be an area of concern. 

In fact, 38% of all employee respondents say they seriously considered leaving MU. The top reason for doing so was low salary/pay rate. 

The same is true for student respondents: 38% say they seriously considered leaving MU with the top reasons why being a lack of sense of belonging and an unwelcoming climate. 

“I had classmates like that 40 percent felt, didn’t feel connected to campus, which is disheartening to me,” sophomore undergraduate student Zachary Reader said. 

Reader also said he’s encouraged by university leaders’ willingness to listen. 

“I think administrators are eager and really really looking for those opportunities to listen to students now more than ever.” 

The full 700-page report will be posted online Monday. 



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