Survey of presidents finds overwhelming confidence in race relations
- Following an academic year rife with student protests over racial climates on campus, presidents continue to rate their own institutions as “good” or "excellent” when it comes to race relations, even though only one-quarter of them say other campuses nationwide are the same.
- Inside Higher Ed reports its latest survey of presidents found the portion of campus leaders saying the state of race relations nationwide is good dropped from 42% to 24% from last year to this year, and not a single president this year said they were excellent — even though more presidents rated their own campuses more highly than in the past.
- The survey also found presidents largely oppose the data picture of their campuses presented by Obama’s College Scorecard and grade his higher education record a C overall, but campus leaders are more confident in their prospects for financial sustainability than they were last year.
Inside Higher Ed’s annual survey of college presidents offers an interesting look of changing perspectives over time. It is common for presidents to rate their own schools as doing better on hot-button issues like race relations and campus sexual assault while recognizing a problem nationwide. Some were surprised to see the level of denial stay so strong this year, in particular, given the waves of protests throughout the fall. But perhaps more presidents rated their own campuses as good or excellent after comparing them with other campuses embroiled in conflict.
USA Today reports the Los Angeles Police Department is currently investigating an incident at the University of Southern California in which an Asian student says someone yelled racial and homophobic slurs at him and threw eggs. Campus leaders continue to engage with students across the country as they negotiate over student demands and track progress started in the fall. Considering the backdrop for the survey, the idea that 84% of presidents see race relations on their own campuses as good or excellent is striking.
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