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Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

Informal Segregation in Campus Housing

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Title: Informal Segregation in Campus Housing
Author(s): Novak, Wade
Subject(s): Diversity Residence Halls Racism Segregation Interaction LLS496 F07
Abstract: My research was an attempt to explore the informal segregation present in undergraduate residence halls at UIUC. Over the course of my research I discovered that this picture is anything but simple. After finding out that self-segregation to some degree exists, I altered my research to explore two avenues: the housing admission process and diversity levels in the dorms. I wanted to a. find out what influences a student’s housing preferences, and b. whether or not diversity existed in residence halls. Through ethnographic data gathered in the form of interviews I attempted to understand student opinions on this informal arrangement.
Issue Date: 2008-02-20
Series/Report: LLS 496: Diversity Research Project: Assessing and Enhancing Campus Climate at UIUC, Prof. Jorge Chapa. The class begins with ethnographic research on the impact of the performances of "N*W*C*" and related events on the University of Illinois campus climate. As we are working on this initial collective effort, students also work on specifying their individual or group project for the semester. Examples include research on "cyberbullying" and "cyberhatred" i.e., internet postings that demean, insult, or threaten groups or individuals at UIUC; the self-segregation of UIUC students in social situations. Students are expected to create ethnographic "research process pages" with links to fieldnotes, interviews, maps, and other critical documents and to present their work at an EIU conference. This Diversity Research Project reviews the literature on actions and programs that comparable campuses have used to improve their campus climate. The goal of the Diversity Research Project will be to produce a report detailing these findings as they may be applied to UIUC. The course syllabus is available at:
Type: Text
Publication Status: unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS: 2008-02-21

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  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.

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