Saturday , 6 February 2016
The number of majors in the ethnic studies department is on the rise, but professors and students in the department point out a lack of diversity at CU.

Thoughts on diversity

Administration, faculty and students weigh in

The number of majors in the ethnic studies department is on the rise, but professors and students in the department point out a lack of diversity at CU.

“I walk around and look for brown faces here,” said Linda Hogan, scholar in residence and faculty retiree of the Ethnic Studies department, in a recent interview.

Others outside of the Ethnic Studies department have viewed the issue similarly, while also taking into account positive goals and intentions that CU strives to achieve.

“The university clearly works to respect and expand its diversity on all levels; students, faculty, and staff,” said Professor Keith Maskus, associate dean for social sciences. “We have made significant investments in diversity programs.”

This especially means recruiting students of varying backgrounds to add to the prospective CU melting pot,” Maskus said. However, he said he believes, so far, CU’s effort has come up short.

“(Diversity) isn’t as great as we’d like to see it,” he said.

Assistant Professor Jordan Stein, of the English department, said he believes wanting diversity is a separate issue from the efforts implemented in trying to promote it.

“The desire for diversity does not obviously translate into policy,” Stein said.

Stein also said diversity includes an array of different things. It isn’t effective to put a blanket over the problem and address diversity as a collective whole, he said. Since diversity comes in a variety of forms, it’s important to recognize and treat it accordingly.

“Diversity in terms of demographics, intellectual or political view points, among faculty, staff, students and administrators, are all desirable but not necessarily identical,” Stein said.

Others, when asked, find diversity difficult to define and mention the long list of categories attached to it.

“More people talk about diversity than there actually is diversity,” said Keith Batter, a sophomore English major. “It’s a word that’s actually heavier than the diversity that exists here.”

But regardless of the loose ends, many people express a positive view of how diversity is dealt with on campus.

“I haven’t really run into any problems,” said Torrence White, a sophomore accounting major. “I feel pretty comfortable around campus.”

Additionally, Stein mentions that in his experience, CU stays open-minded, always considering “how the campus relates to the world.”

On the other hand, regardless of positive examples, discrimination on campus and a lack of diversity are considered problematic by some. Administrators such as Maskus keep working to combat the problem.

“We’ll continue making investments,” he said. “We have a considerable distance to go.”

Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Spencer Everett at spencer.everett@colorado.edu

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