Zeitgeist results show that roughly 80 percent of students would enroll at Middlebury again if given the choice. On average, students of color are 15 percent less likely to express that sentiment than their peers.
The “Campus Climate Assessment” released last week by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion showed that more than one-third of students disagreed with the statement that the college creates a positive atmosphere that promotes diversity among staff and students.
“There is such an emphasis on quantity, how many people come and get in from this background or the other, without actually looking at quality in terms of financial aid that is provided to students,” said an student anonymously in the report. “There needs to be more serious thought in how to measure the quality of their diversity instead of just the quantity as quantity are just numbers on a website.”
Another potential source of student dissatisfaction is the lack of suicide prevention services and other mental health services provided to students by Parton Center for Health and Wellness. Earlier this year, The Campus received an anonymous message that shed light on the lack of counselors at Parton and the difficulty that exists with getting an appointment. Parton will be addressing this shortage in the coming Fall with the JED program that will restructure the counseling center’s hours to increase student access.
The Commons system proved to be another area of student discontent, with only roughly half of students in the Zeitgeist survey expressing satisfaction. The college’s recent How We Will Live Together project, which aims to reimagine the system, found that this discontent stems from the lack of interclass interaction that creates an isolating environment, especially for Febs, who are often placed into upperclassman housing.
Zeitgeist data also revealed that students lack confidence in the decisions made by college administrators. Along a similar vein, less than half of Middlebury students expressed satisfaction with President Laurie L. Patton. Controversy surrounding guest speakers including Charles Murray and Ryszard Legutko has characterized Patton’s career at Middlebury College, although sentiments from the recent controversy are not factored into the survey results.
Of all categories asked, students appeared to feel the most indifferent towards the SGA. Roughly 35% of students reported neither feeling satisfied nor dissatisfied — the highest proportion of neutral views in the series.
STUDENTS SATISFIED WITH DIVESTMENT, CCI, DINING HALLS
By contrast, students expressed strong levels of satisfaction for the February vote by the board of trustees to divest from fossil fuels and enact the Energy2028 plan — the culmination of years of student advocacy.
This divestment decision was triggered by a student-wide referendum sponsored by the SGA last April, in which 79% of students expressed support for divestment. A faculty resolution in November passed with over 90% support.
More than half of Middlebury students are pleased with the Center for Careers and Internships, which provides resources from resume building to LinkedIn professional headshot events to break trips to Silicon Valley and Wall Street.
Over two-thirds of students expressed satisfaction with dining services, undoubtedly a major factor in student happiness at Middlebury. Dining halls sported the second highest level of satisfaction in the series, trailing closely behind Divestment efforts.
*Editor’s Note: These approval ratings were submitted before the Legutko controversy and reflect students’ opinions before those events.