A Mizzou survey about campus mood says roughly 40% of freshmen and sophomores have seriously considered leaving the university. The leading reasons are a lack of belonging and an unwelcoming environment.
The analysis also finds that about one-third of Mizzou students, faculty and staff are uncomfortable on campus. Roughly 19% have reported experiencing hostility on campus. Sue Rankin of Rankin & Associates, which conducted the survey, says that figure is slightly worse than the national average of 20% to 30%
“In our focus groups when we have other institutions and talk about this nationally is that students of color or other marginalized or underserved students, veterans, international students, African-Americans, Hispanics, LGBT, they all say they are barely surviving the experience,” says Rankin.
Chancellor Alexander Cartwright says the challenges must be addressed immediately.
“We need to make sure that we address that and have everybody understand that we want you here, we want to make sure you’re successful,” says Cartwright.
Last year, Mizzou’s return rate for first-year students was 87%. Rankin says about 30% of all college students nationwide have highly considered leaving their school.
“The interesting part is that most of them don’t leave,” says Rankin. “They’re staying because they might be the first in their family to go to college. They could be that international student that said ‘I have so much pressure to be successful. I can’t go home. I have to stay and finish.’”
Colleges and universities nationwide suffer from a revolving door of faculty members, including at Mizzou. About 52% of Mizzou staff and 60% of faculty say they have also seriously pondered whether to make an exit. Chief among the reasons include feelings of inadequate salary, lacking possible job advancement and believing some workers were valued more than others.
Rankin says the Mizzou findings are also similar to that of national figures.
“People come and they can’t cut it and so they go,” she says.
Rankin says the figure is especially true of faculty of color and women in science, technology, engineering and math fields.