Campus climate

Healthy and inclusive environments where respect for diversity is the norm

UC has organized a range of ongoing efforts to foster a healthy and inclusive environment  — or campus climate — for all members of the university community.

What is campus climate?

Campus climate is defined as the current attitudes, behaviors and standards of faculty, staff, administrators and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities and potential.[1]

Respect, diversity and inclusion are crucial aspects of campus climate. Respect refers both to the experience of people on a campus as well as the quality of interactions between groups and individuals. According to the UC Regents' Study Group on University Diversity, diversity and inclusion efforts are not complete unless they also address climate, [and] addressing campus climate is an important and necessary component in any comprehensive plan for diversity.

How does campus climate affect students?

Studies have concluded that the way students experience their campus environment influences both learning and developmental outcomes[1] and that discriminatory environments have a negative impact on student learning.[2] Research supports the value of a diverse student body and faculty for enhanced learning outcomes.[3]

How does campus climate affect faculty and staff?

Creating a healthy campus climate is as important for faculty and staff as it is for students. Faculty members, administrators and staff members are significantly affected by campus climate.[4] According to workplace studies, a healthy work environment greatly enhances the personal and professional development of employees; faculty members who consider their campus climate healthy and inclusive are more likely to feel personally and professionally supported. Additionally, research suggests a direct relationship between workplace discrimination and negative job and career attitudes;[5] faculty and staff who have encountered prejudice directly attribute decreased health and well-being to its negative effects.

[1] Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How College Affects Students: A Third Decade of Research. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

[2] Cabrera, A. F., Nora, A., Terenzini, P. T., Pascarella, E., & Hagedorn, L. S. (1999). Campus racial climate and the adjustment of students to college: a comparison between White students and African-American students. The Journal of Higher Education, 70(2), 134–160. doi: 10.2307/2649125

[3] Harper, S. R., & Hurtado, S. (2007). Nine themes in campus racial climates and implications for institutional transformation. New Directions for Student Services(120), 7-24. doi: 10.1002/ss.254 Higher Education Research Institute. Diverse Learning Environments: Assessing and Creating Conditions for Student Success Retrieved August 15, 2010

[4] Settles, I. H., Cortina, L. M., Malley, J., & Stewart, A. J. (2006). The climate for women in academic science: The good, the bad, and the changeable. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 47–58. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2006.00261

[5] See 1) Silverschanz, P., Cortina, L., Konik, J., & Magley, V. (2007). Slurs, snubs, and queer jokes: Incidence and impact of heterosexist harassment in academia. Sex Roles, 58, 179–191. doi: 10.1007/s11199-007-9329-7  Waldo, C. (1999). 2) Out on campus: Sexual orientation and academic climate in a university context. American Journal of Community Psychology, 26, 745–774. doi:10.1023/A:1022110031745. 3) Rankin, S. R. (2003). Campus Climate for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered People: A National Perspective. New York, NY: National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute.


Campus Climate Study

In 2012–13, UC surveyed its faculty and other academic appointees, students, staff, trainees and postdoctoral scholars about their experiences and perceptions of campus and workplace climate.

Read the Campus Climate Study.


Annual Reports of Intolerance

Since 2018–19, UC has reported annually on incidents of noncriminal acts of hate, bias or intolerance.

View the most recent and past years' Reports of Intolerance:


Free speech guides

Jonathan Friedman, a 2019–20 Fellow at UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, has created three comprehensive free speech guides for diversity offices, student affairs and residential life.

Download the free speech guides.


Reporting intolerance

UC strives for campuses free of discrimination, intolerance and hate.

If you experience or observe behavior that is inconsistent with our Principles of Community and Principles Against Intolerance, please report it using UC's systemwide intolerance report form.

UC’s Systemwide Intolerance Report Form