Office of the President

Qualitative Issues

Finding 15: Insofar as an individual has "acceptable" white features, speaks English with an "acceptable" accent (e.g., a Scandinavian accent), and shares mainstream European-derived values, he/she is likely to find a friendly and supportive environment. The principal difficulties encountered by Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans are often the result of mainstream views about certain accents and acceptability and/or tolerance of cultural differences. For example, so-called "English proficiency" can be real or perceived. It is too often used to unfairly block professional development, such as when it is used in the evaluation of academic and/or professional performance, without any rigorous proof.

Native and Hispanic Americans that have mixed Indian or African ancestry, and have what is perceived as limited English proficiency, are likely to find a higher level of hostility. On this campus, negative feelings seem to occur most frequently against Asian and African Americans (but also towards some Hispanic and Native Americans) who represent visibly distinct ethnic groups and are considered to be "foreign," even if they have native English proficiency, their families may have been in the United States for generations, and they share the values of mainstream America.

Recommendation 15: The University should develop a comprehensive concept of diversity that embraces Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans, as well as African Americans, and incorporate this perspective into its strategic planning. The University must send a tangible and consistent message that discrimination is no longer an acceptable form of behavior.

Finding 16:
The environment for Asian, Hispanic, and Native American students is characterized by the following:

  1. A major concern among Asian, Hispanic, and Native American students about discrimination from various sources. Many of these students indicated that they had personally experienced discrimination. These students may have little faith in the ability or willingness of appropriate units of this campus to take action on these incidents since few incidents are reported to the police.
  2. A significant number of minority students reported difficulties in developing close ties to faculty members, very few of whom are Asian, Hispanic, and Native American.

Recommendation 16: Establish a Multicultural Center for Asian, Hispanic, and Native American faculty, students, and staff.

Finding 17: The quality of life at UMCP for much of the staff is linked to their working environment. There are certain recurring themes that negatively affect the relationships between Asian, Hispanic, and Native American employees and their white colleagues and supervisors. Among them are favoritism in workloads and job assignments, unfair evaluations, insensitivity to cultural and language (accent) differences, and sexual harassment against women.

Recommendation 17: Immediately establish a new body responsible directly to the President and charged with monitoring and enforcing necessary measures to improve the status of all minorities and ensuring the implementation of the recommendations of this report. This body should be representative of the campus community including all of the major minority groups and should include a member of the legal profession familiar with civil rights and EEO legislation.