UC System Releases Campus Climate Report

UC System Releases Campus Climate Report

The results of a survey, conducted on all nine University of California campuses finds Jewish, Muslim students report feeling the most uncomfortable at UCSD.

The results of UCSD’s Campus Climate Survey were released on March 19, 2014 and indicate, among other things, that Jewish and Muslim students feel the most uncomfortable on campus of religious groups.

According to ASUCSD VP External Vanessa Garcia, former UC President Mark Yudof commissioned a systemwide campus survey for the first time in 2012, based on recommendations from the President’s Advisory Council on Campus Climate, Culture and Inclusion.

“The Campus Climate survey was made in regards to a series of disturbing and offensive events at several UC campuses,” Garcia said. “UCSD’s 2010 Compton Cookout was a huge catalyst to the systemwide creation of the survey. This event showed a clear need to survey all members of the UC community, and access how campus environment can affect a person’s ability to work and learn.”

Concluding on March 29, 2013, the survey covered a wide range of issues, including how “comfortable” students of several religious groups felt around campus. Jewish respondents had the lowest percentage of people that were comfortable or very comfortable overall, although more Jewish students were comfortable in class and work units specifically than were others.

Garcia believes that the survey is a good first step to improving campus inclusion but she also questions the reliability of the results since only 27 percent of the UC system’s total community participated in the survey — and only 24 percent responded at UCSD itself.

Sam Hauss, the president of UCSD’s Union of Jewish Students, points out that the survey took place in the midst of the heated Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel debate and that the high tensions at the time generally do not reflect those of the school.

“UJS tends to stay out of political debates,” Hauss said. “For the most part, we have good working relationships with different student groups on campus.”

After the largely unpopular Fall Quarter 2014 schedule changes to accommodate the Jewish High Holidays, Hauss coauthored a resolution, which A.S passed, that condemned the decision and the administration’s failure to consider student input. He cited the alienation many Jewish students felt following the announcement and seeks to reform the UC’s religious accommodation policies. The resolution passed unanimously on Feb. 5.

UCSD’s Muslim Student Association also responded to the climate survey results, which state that Muslim students were more likely to be “very comfortable” overall, although less so in specific departments and classes.

“The Muslim Student Association stands in solidarity with all oppressed people of the world,” it said. “We’re for inclusive practices and for the end to bigotry. We have also advocated for sensitivity training for faculty and staff in order to improve relationships between students and faculty to foster a better learning environment.”

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