A new survey shows the University of Saskatchewan has some work to do when it comes to campus relations with Aboriginal students.
The survey shows Indigenous students are more likely to feel less comfortable or safe on campus than non-Aboriginal students.
Vice-provost of teaching and learning Patti McDougall says the survey also shows Aboriginal students are far more likely to have these feelings as a result of negative contact with other students rather than with staff and faculty.
“Our own data tells us that when there are negative instances, when there are negative behaviours, it’s often student to student,” she says. “In fact, it’s almost always student to student and the kinds of negative experiences that are happening are often based on race and ethnicity.”
She says one solution to this problem may be to Indigenize course content.
“One of the counter arguments I hear for that is that it would be more powerful and a stronger educational experience for us to be able to Indigenize and decolonize the curriculum across the board and in many different areas.”
McDougall says the university also needs to reach out to Aboriginal student leaders on campus as way of finding out how to make the university more culturally sensitive.
The survey also says sexual minority students and those with disabilities are more likely to have less positive experiences on campus.
A total of 85 per cent of students who participated feel regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or ability everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed at the U of S.
Eighty-nine per cent of students felt they were treated fairly by professors and 90 per cent felt they were treated fairly by staff.
The survey was conducted in the fall of 2013 and had more than 5,200 students as participants.