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What complaints are trending in HE? Part 2

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EN | 1 min

As we noted last week, ombuds play a key role in helping identify trends on campus and across higher education. In addition to COVID19-related complaints, we are observing a trend in students articulating equity-related concerns. Here are just 3 examples:

Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and the student experience:

  • “My interactions with my supervisor are making my graduate experience unbearable. It is so unfair that I have to be the one to explain why microaggressions are unacceptable when they are the ones with the problematic behaviours.”
  • “I’m sure that I wasn’t graded fairly –  my argument was solidly grounded in anti-oppression theory and my instructor is clearly biased or I would have received a higher grade.”
  • “ I am not eligible for X and Y bursaries because I am not a woman – that isn’t fair.”

In addition to bringing forward individual EDI concerns, students are increasingly willing to publicly hold institutions accountable for the commitments that they have made (in particular statements around EDI) and to (loudly) call out what they perceive to be failures of administration to ‘walk the talk’. As noted in an earlier post, the trends we are seeing are consistent with an early 2020 prediction that: “…institutional integrity and accountability and the importance of recognizing the role higher education plays in advancing social equity will be key for postsecondary institutions in the COVID era and post-COVID recovery.”  (Blankenberger & Williams).