Prejudice at the RUG

Last week, the UKrant asked over 300 international students: how common is prejudice and discrimination at the RUG? 4 out of 10 say, ‘it happens to me’.
By Megan Embry

Internationals face subtle prejudice and discrimination both in personal interactions and in the classroom. But they say those experiences are hard to articulate. ‘People don’t specifically say, “You don’t belong here because you are not Dutch” but there are all these small exclusions and jokes that add up’, says RUG alumnus Paolo Petrocchi.

So the UKrant asked some questions.

Where are you from?

Almost 70 percent of survey respondents are European. People from Asia make up the next largest group, at just over 16 percent. Minority respondents from North America, Central America (or the Caribbean), South America, Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East make up the remaining percentages.

Have you been negatively stereotyped?

A little over 30 percent of respondents say ‘yes’: in the last three months, they have heard or been on the receiving end of prejudiced comments – at least once, but up to five times. 7.5 percent say ‘yes, between five and fifteen times’; almost 5 percent of respondents say ‘yes, more than fifteen times’.

While just over 42 percent of European respondents have been negatively stereotyped, minority groups answer ‘yes’ at a rate of 50 percent or higher (with the exception of Asia and the Middle East). South American respondents experience these comments the most consistently, with 67 percent of them reporting ‘yes’.

How do these comments make you feel?

Around 30 percent of respondents find them annoying or hurtful. Only about 3 percent of respondents say the comments make them feel angry and defensive.

Do you think those making these jokes mean any harm?

Roughly 60 percent of respondents say they don’t think any harm is intended. 30 percent don’t know, and the remaining respondents say ‘yes – they mean harm.’

Have you heard racist comments?

13.6 percent of respondents say ‘yes’.

Stay tuned

This data was gathered for a two part series exploring interpersonal and institutional prejudice. International students and RUG experts weigh in and share their stories.


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