Title

Do I Belong Here? (In)Visibility of Students on Campus

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

The University of Montana has a diverse student body, consisting of individuals from a variety of different religious backgrounds, abilities, ethnic identities, gender identities and sexual orientations. Despite the diverse populations at the University, the value the school has placed on them is questionable. Providing proper support for members of marginalized communities not only helps individuals have access to resources, but it also is beneficial to the university itself. In this research, I evaluate interview data to understand how the university has been both successful and unsuccessful in reflecting a specific stance toward, responsibility for, and engagement with issues of diversity. Continuing research that began in the Fall semester of 2017, I evaluated fifty interviews from students ranging in their personal backgrounds and identities. These interviews were used to better understand the experiences that students have had, by coding for experiences both negative and positive. I found that students who are members of marginalized communities have had negative experiences during their time at the university. These negative experiences that occurred across campus ranged from harassment on campus and in campus housing, tokenism in the classroom, lack of representation in the curriculum in classes, and the feeling that they as a member of a marginalized community did not belong. What all of these occurrences have in common is that they all stem from lack of proper education on diversity, and the limited resources that are available to members of marginalized communities. The experiences that these students are having reflect that diversity is not properly supported at the university. Knowing of this lack of support is essential to understanding the experiences of marginalized students and is key to understanding how our diverse populations can be supported properly.

Category

Social Sciences

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Apr 17th, 2:00 PM Apr 17th, 2:20 PM

Do I Belong Here? (In)Visibility of Students on Campus

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The University of Montana has a diverse student body, consisting of individuals from a variety of different religious backgrounds, abilities, ethnic identities, gender identities and sexual orientations. Despite the diverse populations at the University, the value the school has placed on them is questionable. Providing proper support for members of marginalized communities not only helps individuals have access to resources, but it also is beneficial to the university itself. In this research, I evaluate interview data to understand how the university has been both successful and unsuccessful in reflecting a specific stance toward, responsibility for, and engagement with issues of diversity. Continuing research that began in the Fall semester of 2017, I evaluated fifty interviews from students ranging in their personal backgrounds and identities. These interviews were used to better understand the experiences that students have had, by coding for experiences both negative and positive. I found that students who are members of marginalized communities have had negative experiences during their time at the university. These negative experiences that occurred across campus ranged from harassment on campus and in campus housing, tokenism in the classroom, lack of representation in the curriculum in classes, and the feeling that they as a member of a marginalized community did not belong. What all of these occurrences have in common is that they all stem from lack of proper education on diversity, and the limited resources that are available to members of marginalized communities. The experiences that these students are having reflect that diversity is not properly supported at the university. Knowing of this lack of support is essential to understanding the experiences of marginalized students and is key to understanding how our diverse populations can be supported properly.