The University administration’s recent careless treatment of matters concerning diversity has courted controversy from all possible directions in the past year. Veterans, disabled fans, student groups and the federal government have all taken digs at the University’s apparent lack of commitment to promoting diversity on campus.
The results have been obvious: An institution that once prided itself in being diverse, welcoming and accepting doesn’t feel the same.
The circumstances have also led to the decreasing credibility of the University’s new diversity initiatives. Not all students trust the administration’s intentions anymore. But our responsibility doesn’t end with simply criticizing the administration.
When we think about it, diversity at the University is every bit students’ responsibility as it is the administration’s. Playing the blame game isn’t enough.
Diversity is not something the University can impose upon its students – student participation is necessary. And it’s simply not happening. The truth is that most of us really don’t care because we think that it doesn’t make a difference to our lives.
As a result, we find ourselves largely ignorant of the backgrounds and cultures of the people around us. This ignorance comes across when students think Mexico City is in the state of New Mexico or think Indian students can speak a certain language called “Indian.” No one expects us to be cultural anthropologists, but in a world where living with people from different countries and cultures has become more of a necessity than a privilege, having a basic understanding of other people is the least we could do.
If you care about diversity at our university, it’s time you made an effort. Talk to different people around you and see how they perceive things – you may be surprised about how much you can learn.
Diversity is not just about numbers, and it’s not just the percentage of black, Asian or Hispanic people on campus. Diversity is how different people come together, share experiences, enlighten each other and make this world a better place to live in.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. put it, “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”
Satyajeet Deshmukh is an LSA freshman and a member of the Daily’s editorial board.