College Students’ Perception of Race and Racial Discrimination: A Study at a Private Liberal Arts College in Massachusetts

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management


This paper reports the results of an exploratory study of the perception of race and racial discrimination at a four-year, private, liberal arts college in the northeast of the United States. I conducted a survey online through Survey Monkey to ensure privacy and used a convenience sampling to collect the data for this report. The research was conducted between September 2006 and May 2007. The primary focus of the research was to study and determine whether 1) students at a four-year college in the Northeast believed that racism existed on their campus, and 2) if they believed that racial discrimination existed on their campus. Participants were gathered through a convenience sampling and asked to complete the online survey. Seventy-nine participants completed the survey out of eighty-three.

The evidence and data gathered suggests that there is need to conduct additional research on the perception of race and racial discrimination at the college. The majority of students describe the institution as welcoming to people of color. Nevertheless, there are large disparities between how students who self-identified as White/European and students who self-identified as Hispanic/Latino and Black/African perceive racial discrimination.

Not all of the data gathered in this study is presented here. There were 100 questions in the survey and the length of this paper would not suffice for a detailed analysis of each question. The results of this study, along with full access of every question – filtered through multiple combinations of race, age, and gender, amongst others – have been provided to the college’s office of institutional research.


Race and Ethnicity

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