National Institute on Aging

Northwestern University Report Examines the Black Student Experience on Campus

northwesternA new report issued by the Black Student Experience Taskforce at Northwestern University presents a detailed look at the status of African American students at the university. Blacks make up about 9 percent of the undergraduate students at Northwestern.

The taskforce was established after The Concerned Students of Northwestern University issued a set of demands to the administration in the fall of 2015. Among the demands were increases in Black students and faculty, additional need-based financial aid, and the creation of safe spaces for Black students on campus.

Included in the report are the results of a survey of Black students conducted this past spring. Among the findings are:

  • 39 percent of the Black students come from a low-income family.
  • One in 10 Black students at the university is a student athlete.
  • Only 12 percent of Black seniors reported that the were “very satisfied” with their undergraduate education. This is down from 41 percent in 2010.
  • More than two thirds of Black students said they were dissatisfied by the racial climate on campus and more than 60 percent said they were dissatisfied by the university’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • 55 percent of Black students stated that they had “witnessed or experienced harassment or discriminatory behavior” on campus during the 2015-16 academic year.

The report makes recommendations on what should be done to improve the climate for Black students on campus. The recommendations somewhat mirror the demands Black students made in the fall of 2015.

The full report, The African American/Black Student Experience, may be downloaded by clicking here.


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