University of Waikato campus climate initial findings: Experiences of gender, sex, and sexuality diverse staff and students
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Brown, J. (2020). University of Waikato campus climate initial findings: Experiences of gender, sex, and sexuality diverse staff and students (Report). Hamilton, NZ: University of Waikato.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13510
Heterosexual and cisgender people have been considered the norm in universities worldwide, and in Aotearoa/New Zealand. In contrast, gender, sex, and sexuality diverse (GSSD) people are often treated as different, or not the norm. Overseas universities have been reviewing their campus 'climates' to understand the experiences of their GSSD students and staff. Research primarily from the U.S.A. shows that GSSD students at university campuses report higher rates of negative experiences (e.g. discrimination, assault) compared to heterosexual and cisgender students. As a result of these campus climate studies, universities have begun implementing initiatives to help make their campus spaces more welcoming for GSSD staff and students. Universities with more support and inclusion have a higher rate of retention, satisfaction, and academic success for GSSD people on campus. There is limited research about campus climates in the Aotearoa/New Zealand context, including at the University of Waikato. As such, I wanted to gain an understanding of GSSD experiences on the University of Waikato campus, and to learn what (if any) initiatives GSSD people would like to see in the campus space. This report presents the initial findings of a campus climate survey that was conducted at the University of Waikato. 343 staff and students participated in the survey between the 3rd of September 2018 and 2nd of November 2018. Staff and students of any gender, sex, and sexuality who were 16 years or over were able to participate in this survey. Overall, GSSD survey participants suggested that there were a number of opportunities for improvement at the University of Waikato. The following quote from a participant highlights a key theme that was evident throughout the survey analysis: "I think that being treated like a person like anyone else would improve my experience."(Student) A number of specific recommendations are given in this report based on survey participant responses, including initiatives that I intend to implement for the next stage of my PhD research.
University of Waikato