The official Brigham Young University Committee on Race, Equity, and Belonging recently released key findings from its national diversity and equity campus climate survey.
An article published by BYU stated that the purpose of the study is to "help the university better understand and address people’s experiences with diversity and belonging, as well as to develop plans to improve the campus experience for all students and employees."
The committee and the study were prompted by the call from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the NAACP in June 2020 that educational institutions "review processes, [policies] and organizational attitudes regarding racism and root them out."
The Church News listed the following as key findings from the 63-page report on the study:
• Overall, the majority of students and employees (80%) reported satisfaction with the overall BYU campus climate, with 9% reporting they were dissatisfied.
- • While a majority of non-white students and employees (71%) also expressed satisfaction with the campus climate, the difference between the two groups, as well as the fact that 13% of the non-white students and employees were dissatisfied with the overall climate, indicates that there is need for more work if all students and employees are to feel fully welcomed in the BYU community.
- • BYU has official discrimination complaint procedures, yet only 37% of all undergraduate students said they knew who to contact if they experienced or observed an act of discrimination or harassment.
- • The survey also found that 16% of respondents said they had experienced discrimination or harassment on the BYU campus, at an off-campus residence, or in a BYU-affiliated off-campus program or event. Of the 16%, the most common form experienced in the last year was derogatory remarks.
In the report, the committee also provided BYU President Kevin J Worthen with 26 recommendations to help root out racism.
"Some of them, such as making curricular changes to general education, religion, and elective courses that educate students on race, unity, and diversity, as well as establishing college-wide statements on race and belonging, are already in process," Worthen told Church News.
Michalyn Steele and Ryan Gabriel, who are both committee members and BYU professors, told Deseret News the goals of the recommendations are to:
- • Bring about a more diverse student body, faculty, and administration.
- • A greater sense of cross-cultural competency among all individuals within BYU.
- • And a greater sense of belonging for minority students and employees.
The full list of recommendations can be found at race.byu.edu.