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Racial Climate on Campus

The racial climate on campus refers to how favorable the academic and social environments of college campuses are for various racial/ethnic groups. It varies considerably across institutions and by aspect of the campus climate. Campus climate provides important insights into a variety of issues in the sociology of education, including admissions, enrollment, financial aid, graduation, peer relations, and attendance in graduate and professional schools.

Aspects of Campus Climate

Sylvia Hurtado and colleagues identify a range of aspects, including both institutional and external factors, influencing the campus climate. Four elements comprise the following institutional context:

  • The historical legacy of inclusion and exclusion
  • Structural diversity in terms of enrollments of diverse students, faculty, and staff
  • Psychological climate, including perceptions and attitudes
  • Behavior, including diversity in social interactions and classrooms

These elements clearly affect one ...

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