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* Vice President for Human Relations

April 18, 2007

Diversity survey results show importance to Purdue community

Alysa Rollock
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More than 19,500 people responded to a survey conducted toward the end of fall semester about diversity on the West Lafayette campus, and a Purdue official said results indicate that respondents believe diversity is an important issue.Sixty-five percent of staff completed the survey, while 57 percent of the faculty and 38 percent of the students responded.

"The response rate was phenomenal, indicating that people think diversity is important and that they are prepared to comment on it," said Alysa Christmas Rollock, vice president for human relations.

The survey asked how students, faculty and staff perceive the diversity climate at Purdue. Respondents described the university's overall climate for diversity as "moderately favorable."

"The results of the climate part of the survey show that we're making progress but that diversity continues to be an area that needs work," Rollock said. "The survey results will help Purdue make better decisions about where and how to make improvements."

Faculty, staff and students were asked to complete a version of the survey via the Internet or by calling a toll-free number. Participation was voluntary.

Some additional highlights from the survey findings are as follows:

*  The campus is generally attentive to diversity and is integrating diversity into its mission and practices.

*  Commitment to diversity is generally perceived as positive, yet members of underrepresented groups don't experience the climate for diversity as positively as do members of dominant groups, and they don't see the university as being committed to diversity, or equal access and success to the same extent as members of dominant groups.

*  Approximately 24 percent of staff, 37 percent of faculty and 40 percent of students who responded to the survey reported experiences of being recently harassed or discriminated against, and a larger percentage expressed concern about being discriminated against in the future.

*  People report that they would be comfortable interacting with individuals different from themselves, but there was slightly less comfort interacting with someone different in sexual orientation while, additionally, students report somewhat less comfort interacting with people who have a disability.

The survey results will be used to prioritize future areas of emphasis, such as continued and additional efforts to recruit and retain staff, faculty and students who are members of underrepresented groups and to develop more avenues for building cultural awareness and increased comfort through educational opportunities.

"Obviously we have more that we want to do," Rollock said. "The survey provides a snapshot of diversity at Purdue. Now we want to drill down and get a more complete picture."

Selected reports will be written and then shared to help inform and more involve the campus with diversity on campus and in the community, she said.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432,

Source: Alysa Christmas Rollock, (765) 494-5830,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;


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