Nationwide survey

Will you help us learn more about diversity at UU?

Illustration: Eveline Schram

The diversity survey is closed now.

The survey is an initiative of the Council of Editors-in-chief of Higher Education Media. Its chair, DUB’s editor-in-chief Ries Agterberg, explains the choice of topic: “Diversity is a hot topic inside and outside Utrecht University. Opinions vary when it comes to the need for certain diversity policies and, if they are necessary, how far they should go. Are universities taking it too far or not far enough? The Dutch Minister of Justice recently stated that “wokism” is threatening academic freedom, for instance. With this survey, we’re aiming to find out what students and staff think about this subject.”

The questions the survey intends to answer include: What should the university prioritise in terms of diversity and inclusion, according to students and staff? What do they think about the policies implemented so far, such as the rainbow bike path, the gender-neutral toilets, decolonising the curriculum, welcoming first-generation students, striving to have more women in the position of professor, and offering courses on unconscious bias, to name but a few examples? Where do students and staff think there is room for improvement?

In 2020, there was a heated debate in the Dutch Parliament concerning a National Plan on Diversity & Inclusion. MPs were divided along two lines: the first one argued that diversity and background shouldn’t matter, all that should matter is how qualified people are; the second one counterargued that sometimes people’s qualifications don’t come to the fore because certain groups are disadvantaged in society. According to the Young Academy, in practice, university’s diversity policies tend to focus on hiring more women. Do students and staff think that’s enough? Should the policies change?

More than collecting opinions, the survey also invites respondents to share their experiences. “Do certain students and employees feel excluded or discriminated against? If so, do they know where to turn to?” says Agterberg.

In addition to the survey, the Council of Editors-in-Chief of Higher Education Media is also conducting its own inquiries into the policies of their institutions. What do their Executive Boards prioritise? The survey will therefore be useful in determining whether there is a discrepancy between what management thinks is important in terms of diversity & inclusion and what the students and staff think about the topic.

The initiative was made possible thanks to the Fund to Stimulate Journalism, an organisation looking to support and improve journalistic production in the Netherlands. The Council of Editors-in-Chief has received 100,000 euros to conduct the study. The questionnaire has been devised by a think tank comprising members of all the outlets involved and put together by the research bureau Newcom. All answers will be anonymous, but respondents may share their contact details with the journalists of their institutions if they are interested in talking more about this question.

The  diversity survey is closed now.

Tags: Diversity