Isolated, Intimidated and Bullied on University Campus: The Students’ Experience and Recommendations

Abstract

Background: Exclusionary behaviors, including offensive and hostile behaviors (such as bullying and harassment), are a common problem in universities worldwide. However, student perspectives regarding their experience with exclusion on campus, the cause and impact of such experience, as well as potential solutions are not well understood. Methods: We collected and analyzed quantitative and qualitative data in a campus-wide student survey at a U.S. predominantly white university to understand student perspectives. Results: Among 2511 survey respondents (response rate: 29%), almost one in five students (19%) experienced isolation, intimidation, or harassment in the recent 12 months. Students of color had more personal experience with exclusion than white students (26% among students of color and 15% among whites, X2=37.8, p<0.01). More LGBTQIA students experienced exclusion than those of mainstream gender identities (47% among LGBTQIA and 18% among male/female, X2=21.4, p<0.01). A range of bases for exclusionary behaviors was identified, including race, political views, physical characteristics, age, and socioeconomic status. Although very few students reported these incidents, they experienced to the campus authorities, such experience had a significant negative impact on the student’s perception of their life on campus and of the campus climate. The student-suggested action areas included policy enforcement, campus governance, diversity recruitment, cultural competence training, multi-cultural activities, as well as continuous assessment and open dialogues. Conclusion: In a 2018 university student survey, we identified a high prevalence (19%) of exclusionary behaviors with some gender and racial differences, the causes and impact, as well as action areas to address the issue.



Author Information
Yulong Gu, Stockton University, United States
Amee Shah, Stockton University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2021
Stream: Higher education

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