More than half of the UMKC employees who responded to a campus climate survey said that low salaries, limited career opportunities and too much work prompted them to consider leaving the university last year.
Students who responded to the survey and reported relationship violence more frequently said they experienced an incident during their first few weeks of freshman year.
And at least 700 people — 17 percent of faculty, staff and students — reported hostile and offensive behavior from others that made them feel excluded among the school community, often because of their ethnicity.
While data collected by a consulting group for UMKC indicates that 80 percent of students, faculty and staff feel comfortable on campus, results of the survey, released on Monday, highlighted shortcomings in how the university promotes inclusion and equity.
The 120-question campus-wide survey was available to faculty, students and staff online and on paper. It was conducted from Oct. 4 to Nov. 4, 2016.
The survey received 4,650 responses, a roughly 25 percent response rate. Among the respondents were 25 percent of the white, students, faculty and staff on the UMKC campus, 23 percent of the black population and 17 percent of the Hispanic population, 33 percent of the Asian population.
Education officials from the University of Missouri System and UMKC said the survey will help officials improve the school environment in the wake of cuts to higher education, protests at the University of Missouri, and calls for university administrators to be more transparent.
UMKC interim Chancellor and Provost Barbara Bichelmeyer said “equity and inclusion should frame all of what we do.” She said the university will use focus groups, review policies and continue to enforce new initiatives such as a recently developed faculty code of conduct to improve weaknesses in campus culture.
“It’s you who has to help us answer these questions in totality,” Bichelmeyer told the members of the UMKC campus community who participated Monday in the university’s town hall style release of the survey results.
The last time UMKC accessed the social climate on the Kansas City campus was in 2006 when a consultant from The Pennsylvania State University held small groups with students, faculty, staff and administrators and concluded then that the classroom was the most racist place on the campus.
The most recent assessment looks much deeper at problems with campus climate.
Consultants who’ve given similar surveys at colleges and universities said the results at UMKC are in line with what they have seen elsewhere.
Surveys were also done at the three other campuses in the UM System. Those results will be released later this week.
System President Mun Choi, who attended the UMKC results announcement, said that “some of the findings will be positive, some indicate we have work to do.”
A report on the social climate of the overall system is set to be released on Monday.
“This wasn’t a diversity study — that’s not to say diversity is not important,” said Emil Cunningham, a consultant with Rankin & Associates, which analyzed the survey results.
“This is really about equity and inclusion.”