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North Bay / Marin | Education & Student Activism | Racial Justice

Personal Comfort Levels of Students at Sonoma State University
by Jacqueline Sanchez
Tuesday Apr 30th, 2013 11:50 AM
Op Ed Sociology 336 Peter Phillips
During my 2013 spring semester at Sonoma State University, a group of college students and I were able to conduct a research for our Sociology class with Peter Phillips. We were able to research and investigate the diversity, race, and personal comfort here at Sonoma State. About 6 years ago this research had already been conducted, but we wanted to see if the comfort levels had changed within the past years. My group and I conducted a survey that was used in the past with a couple of editing, and asked 50 students to provide us with how comfortable they felt here at Sonoma State being the minority. In the time being of our research and incident having to do with diversity occurred here at Sonoma State. A student decided to write a very racist comment on one of the BSU clubs flier. My group and I sensed that this incident was possibly going to affect a lot of the answers that we were going to have to do with our research, but in the end it didn’t. Even though the students knew about the incident many of them shared there own opinions and feelings about their comfort levels here at Sonoma State.



The group and I were able to see a lot of differences from the answers that there were for the research conducted back in 2007. One specific question that had 5 different answers that ranged from very comfortable to very uncomfortable. The question was, “What is your overall comfort level on campus in terms of your race?" In hopes of seeing a difference we were able too. In 2007 32.4% of students felt very comfortable and now in 2013 37.5% students felt very comfortable on campus. So already there our group was able to see a difference. Students who answered that they were comfortable most of the time were 47% in 2007 and 39.6% in 2013. Mixed comfort levels in 2007 were 17.6% while 16.7% in 2013. Somewhat uncomfortable in 2007 was 3% while 6.25% in 2013 and in 2007 we had 0% of the interviewed students who were very uncomfortable and now inn 2013 it still remains at 0%. This was one of the questions that were able to see the first differences, but we had couple more that we saw changes as well.

Once we determined the rest of our results we went and asked some of the faulty here at Sonoma State what input they had about our results. Mark Fabionar the director of the multicultural center was actually the one who was in charge of the BSU incident and he handled it. He also mentioned that there also has to be more cultural awareness here on campus. Elisa Velazques the Director of Diversity for the campus was pleased to hear that there seemed to be a slight change in students’ feelings, but was able to recognize that it was not much of a difference. Then when we asked Bruce Peterson who is the director of the Educational Opportunity Program just stated that no school should be proud of 37% of students being very comfortable. Finally after gathering all of our results, and asking our faculty here at Sonoma State University. Our survey suggested that the personal comfort levels for students of color have changed, but not so much of a huge change.