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  • Student Activism Rare at Career Events

    August 02, 2017 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    Students protest on campus.

    TAGS: trends and predictions, student attitudes, surveys, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals

    While student activism at career events is a real possibility, just 21.2 percent of colleges and universities reported that they have experienced any student activism at career events over the past three years, according to results of NACE’s 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Report for Colleges and Universities.

    Furthermore, although 78.7 percent of responding institutions have not experienced any student activism at career events over the past three years, nearly all that did saw little to moderate activism. (See Figure 1.)

    Ninety percent also reported that the level of student activism at their career events has not increased at all during the past three years. Of the 10 percent that did report an increase in student activism over that period of time, 9.6 percent reported the level of student activism has only moderately increased, with less than 1 percent reporting that it has increased significantly.

    In the cases where student activism has occurred relative to career events, the most common form reported was in physical or written materials, e.g. articles, placards, and posters. (See Figure 2.)

    “Other” forms of student activism ranged from complaints about too many tech or defense companies, demands for diversity and inclusion, and threats of demonstrations at specific career events and the career office.

    Almost 45 percent of respondents indicated that they have policies or guidelines in place to address student activism on campus, and just 12.7 percent do not have any policies or guidelines whatsoever. The remaining 43 percent were unsure if they had policies or guidelines to address student activism on campus.

    Slightly more than 11 percent of participants reported that they have a formal strategy to address student activism at career events; more than two-thirds reported that they do not currently have a formal strategy. The remaining 12 percent were uncertain if they have any type of formal strategy to address student activism at career events at the time of the survey.

    For those respondents that do have a formal strategy in place to address student activism at career events, most reported that the career center staff are the main group involved in implementing the strategy. (See Figure 3.)

    Among the other groups involved in implementing their formal strategy to address student activism at career events are campus police, assistant deans, and various university directors in the following departments: student development, diversity and inclusion, civic engagement office, campus communications, and media relations.

    Data were collected for the 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Survey Report for Colleges and Universities from September 30, 2016, to January 20, 2017, from NACE member institutions; there were 705 respondents, representing 35.3 percent of all eligible respondents. Highlights from the 2016-17 Career Services Benchmark Report for Colleges and Universities are available on NACEWeb. Participating members can access the full report through MyNACE.

    Figure 1: Level of Student Activism at Career Events Over the Past Three Years

    Student Activism Level Percent of Respondents
    No student activism 78.7%
    Little activism 13.7%
    Moderate activism 5.8%
    Heavy activism 1.5%
    Intense activism 0.2%
    Source:Career Services Benchmark Survey 2016-2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 2: Forms of Student Activism Relative to Career Events

    Form of Student Activism Percent of Respondents
    Physical or written materials 37.7%
    Social media campaigns 32.5%
    Demonstrations outside event 19.3%
    Demonstrations within event 13.2%
    Boycotts 7.9%
    Source:Career Services Benchmark Survey 2016-2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers

    Figure 3: Groups Involved in Implementing Student Activism Strategy

    Group Percent of Respondents
    Career center staff 69.4%
    Public safety 56.5%
    Student services staff 51.8%
    Students 20.0%
    Employers 12.9%
    Faculty 9.4%
    Alumni 2.4%
    Source:Career Services Benchmark Survey 2016-2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers