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Perceptions and experiences of fairness amongst Muslim post-secondary students in Canada



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The purpose of this study is to examine perceptions and experiences of fairness amongst Muslim post-secondary students in order to gain insights for internationalization policy making in post-secondary education. This study is a mixed methods study. A triangulation design was employed to collect data. The participants, 189 Muslim students, were reached via student organizations, national and local Muslim organizations, and Muslim student groups organized on Facebook. Following use of these initial contact points, snowball sampling was also utilized. The quantitative and qualitative data were gathered simultaneously by using a web survey. The survey included 12 open-ended and 19 closed questions. The quantitative data were analyzed by using descriptive and inferential statistical analysis techniques. The qualitative data were analyzed by employing thematic analysis. Selected results from the study are as follows: When interpolated from perceptions of Muslim students, their collective definition of fairness is: using one standard for everybody in the same context. For Muslim students, their university is the most fair setting, followed by Canada, and the country that Muslim students culturally identified with. The World is perceived as the most unfair setting for responding Muslims. Except the country Muslim students culturally identified with, all settings are perceived to be more fair for non-Muslims than for Muslims. The majority of Muslim students reported that they had encountered, observed, or experienced unfairness at least once in their university during the previous academic year and that they had been impacted by that unfairness. The most commonly reported type of unfairness was interactional unfairness, followed by distributive unfairness. The most frequently reported violated rules causing to interactional unfairness were those related to respect, propriety, and consistency. For distributive unfairness the most frequently reported violated rules were those associated with equity, equality, and need. Participants generally blame violators for unfairness; criticizing them for being biased, ignorant, and intolerant to differences. More than 90 percent of participants reported that they experienced negative feelings because of the unfairness they had experienced. Participants’ most commonly reported reactions to the unfairness involved passive behaviours, followed by assertive behaviours. Gender, age, the amount of time Muslim students spent in Canada, legal status, the country where Muslim students had spent the majority of their life, nationality, the country Muslim students culturally identified with, and religious commitment level indicated difference in some dependent variables which reflect the participants’ fairness perceptions or experiences.



Muslim students, Fairness perception, Internationalization, Campus fairness



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Educational Administration


Educational Administration


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