This research survey is part of a large interdisciplinary research project consisting of UConn faculty, staff, and graduate students from Anthropology, Psychological Studies, Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS), the Academic Center for Exploratory Students (ACES), and Educational Leadership; as well as an undergraduate Economics and Math double major.  It is designed to assess the types, locations, and prevalence of racial microaggression experiences among students of color at the UConn campuses; and the effects that these occurrences have on students’ education and experience at UConn.


This research is inspired by work conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2011-2012, for which they designed and implemented a large-scale study to examine racial microaggressions on their campus.  The research examined the racial experiences of students of color including situations in which a student of color felt uncomfortable, insulted or invalidated because of his or her race, as well as experiences coping with racial microaggressions and feelings of marginalization.


Unfortunately, the truth is that although cultivating campus diversity is a widespread objective among most American universities for the well-demonstrated ways in which it has proven to enhance critical thinking, intellectual engagement, cultural awareness, and democratic sensibilities, it is becoming increasingly clear that many racial minority students feel unwelcome and unsupported by their home institutions due to institutional policies and more subtle events, practices, and interactions experienced on a daily basis.


These subtler forms of racist behavior have been termed racial microaggressions (Sue et al. (2007)) and these are the focus of this research. Microaggressions have been categorized into three subcategories. Micro-insults refer to behaviors/verbal remarks or comments that convey rudeness, insensitivity and demean a person’s racial heritage or identity. Micro-invalidations refer to verbal comments or behaviors that exclude, negate, or nullify the psychological thoughts, feelings, or experiential reality of a person of color. Lastly, micro-assaults are explicit racial derogations characterized primarily by a violent verbal or nonverbal attack meant to hurt the intended victim through name-calling, avoidant behavior or purposeful discriminatory actions.


Our goal with this research is to give students the opportunity to speak for themselves and share their stories.  We want to better understand the experience of students of color in order to help promote change where needed, and to make all UConn campuses more inclusive.


Quick overview of study preparation: MRT – Diversity and Inclusion presentation

Link to survey: