On April 6, the VOICE surveyed 58 Mercer students to find out whether they had ever seen or been the victim of what they believed was a hate biased verbal or physical assault based on their gender, race or sexual orientation. The survey also sought to determine how such abuse affected them emotionally, and how safe of an environment they felt Mercer provides.
Of the 58 students who took the survey the follow was true:
Part time Students = 6
Full-time students = 52
Male = 23
Female = 33
Transgender = 1
Other = 1
Homosexual = 7
Heterosexual = 42
Bisexual = 9
Other = 1
African-American = 6
Asian = 3
Hispanic = 3
Caucasian = 35
Native American = 1
Other = 5
15-19 years old = 30
20-25 years old = 24
26-30 years old = 2
31-35 years old = 2
100% of the students surveyed said they had never participated in a hate crime (verbally or physically assaulting another person based on his or her race, gender or sexual orientation.
75% of the 16 surveyed students who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered said they had experienced verbal abuse that appeared to be directly related to their sexual orientation.
25% of the 16 surveyed students who identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered said they had experienced physical abuse that appeared to be directly related to their sexual orientation.
15% of all students surveyed said they have experienced an event at Mercer that, while not actual verbal or physical assault, made them feel uncomfortable because of their race, gender or sexual orientation.
When asked if they felt Mercer is a safe environment in general, 53 of the 58 respondents indicated that they felt Mercer was either totally (30) or somewhat (23) safe.
Of the students who felt they had been abused based on their race, gender or sexual orientation, anger was the most widely reported response with 23 people feeling angry as a result of racial bias, and 13 feeling angry as a result of gender and sexual orientation bias.
Depression followed anger as the next most widely held feeling following a perceived hate crime. Three respondents reported having been suicidal as a result of the hate abuse they had suffered.
Of the 18 minority students surveyed 80 percent said they had been verbally abused and 20 percent said they had been physically abused as a result of their race.
Of the 33 female students surveyed 40 percent said they had been verbally abused and 9 percent said they had been physically abused as a result of their gender.
Several white men felt they had been the victims of hate crimes directed at them based on their race or gender. One wrote, “Most, if not all, of the verbal or physical abuse I have experienced was directed at the Caucasian population (or a single Caucasian person) by a person who considered themselves to be art of minority population.”
Although the data gathered relies on subjective reporting, it is clear that while many students feel safe enough at Mercer, a significant proportion of students feel they have experienced hate bias and it has had a major psychological impact on them.