Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Campus Climate Survey on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This survey used a random sample survey of its student population. The purpose of the study was to assess the current campus climate regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The survey was self-administered online; students were randomly selected, and all students had an opportunity to be chosen as a participant. Survey questions focused on demographics, feelings of safety, experiences at the UM related to DEI, and individual experiences perceived as discriminatory, overall campus climate, and interactions with faculty, staff, and graduate/teaching assistants. To be included in the secondary data analysis study, respondents had to be enrolled in an undergraduate program (n=1,091). In addition, respondents had to identify as African American/Black (n=286) and be born in the United States (n=1,380). Finally, respondents must respond that neither parent/guardian had attended college (n=204). Using the select cases process in SPSS, eligibility criteria were analyzed. After noting for all specific demographic variable, the SPSS analysis yielded 18 respondents who met the secondary data analysis participant eligibility.
Findings: Using a Likert scale, the survey examined the campus climate. The data analysis analyzed questions using the frequencies of the student perceptions of the campus, experiences of racism/discrimination, having a sense of belonging, and the overall campus climate. Findings reflect respondents identified the institutional structure in negative terms as individualistic (49.9%), racist (72.2%), hostile (44.4%), and homogenous (72.2%). Additionally, 72.2% of respondents noted they had experienced racism/discrimination and eighty-three percent described having at least one experience of racism/discrimination while on campus. A sense of belonging can also impact retention as 38.9% considered leaving the institution due to isolation and not feeling welcomed. Seventy-two percent of respondents found a community where they felt they belonged on the campus. Although, many Black FGCS respondents noted a sense of belonging within communities and groups, many (72.8%) do not feel an overall sense of belonging on the campus.
Conclusion/Implications: Study results have led to identifying a continued need to battle inequities in higher education by supporting Black FGCS. Working in conjunction with faculty and students, the School of Social Work is identifying opportunities to amplify voices of Black FGCS and programming to connect with mentors and build relationships that can support retention.