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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Staff ed: Effects of the campus climate assessment for us

On Monday at 8 p.m. in the Forum South Lounge Sue Rankin of Rankin & Associates Consulting presented the results of her Campus Climate Assessment to a crowd of about 150 students (see p. 1). Her presentation reiterated many concerns that a number of students on campus have voiced about the level of acceptance on the Grinnell College campus.

Dr. Rankin presented statistics that dispelled myths and enlightened attendees about the actual levels of discrimination that occur on campus. For example, she cited survey data that indicated faculty, staff and students from traditionally marginalized groups reportedly experience harassment and discrimination than those from majority groups. Students, faculty and staff of color, sexual minorities, people with physical and psychological disabilities and people of lower socioeconomic standing are all among the groups that responded through the survey that Rankin and her associates distributed last year.

The results of the survey confirmed that Grinnell is not as much of a warm, protective bubble as it is often claimed to be. As much as we call ourselves a progressive and liberal college oriented towards social justice, that is not an inherent quality. Grinnell cannot be such an institution without consistent hard work on the part of its students, faculty and staff to initiate and have open discussions, no matter how seemingly uncomfortable they may be, about issues regarding class, race, gender and ableism.

With these newly published statistics at hand, we should all be thinking about how we, as individuals, can better foster a more accepting and aware campus environment and how we can initiate these often difficult, but ultimately beneficial conversations. We can’t just rely on groups like AJust and No Limits to do all the leg-work for the entire campus—we should all be active in our everyday interactions, whether that be in class, at lunch or on Mac Field.

It doesn’t take any large changes in our daily routines, but it does take an intentional effort on the part of the greater campus community to challenge instances of oppression as they arise.

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