NASPA Releases Research on Challenges and Opportunities for Advancing Racial Climate on Campus

Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
September 27, 2023 NASPA

WASHINGTON, DC - September 27, 2023 - College students and campus administrators often share a desire to improve racial climate, but they differ in how they want institutions to spend time and resources to advance those efforts. A new report issued by NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Advancing Racial Justice on Campus: Student & Administrator Perspectives, shares insights about what students and senior administrators identify as drivers of campus racial climate and key factors for advancing change. 

NASPA’s 18-month research project included focus groups with students, a survey of vice presidents of student affairs and senior diversity officers – issued in partnership with the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE) – and a survey of undergraduate students. The report highlights the perspectives of students and senior administrators regarding institutions’ efforts to operationalize commitments to racial justice.

“We have known for decades that students and professionals thrive in college environments that welcome and affirm their identities, perspectives, and contributions. Now is the most critical time to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and this report provides helpful context for us to do so,” said Amelia Parnell, Vice President for Policy Research and Advocacy. 

Both students and administrators agreed on much of what factors can positively influence racial climate. Agreement mostly centered on the need for:

  • racial/ethnic diversity at all levels of the institution;

  • spaces and engagement opportunities that are well supported, welcoming, and accessible;

  • reporting mechanisms for bias incidents and accountability for individuals causing harm;

  • progress being measured, transparently reported, and ongoing.

NASPA’s research reinforces the notion that efforts to positively influence racial climate and advance racial justice should be made in connection with each other—and with the buy-in and support from everyone on campus. This report’s findings can help guide campus planning discussions and offer a field-level perspective about student priorities for campus efforts.

To download a copy of this free report, please visit: 

NASPA is the leading association for the advancement, health, and sustainability of the student affairs profession. Our work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy, and research for 15,000 members in all 50 states, 25 countries, and 8 U.S. territories.

NADOHE serves as the preeminent voice for diversity officers in higher education. Its vision is to lead higher education towards inclusive excellence through institutional transformation.


For media inquiries, please reach out to Jill Dunlap at [email protected]