CSU needs more diversity

Jul 292003
Authors: Christopher J. Ortiz

If talk about race and affirmative action was a trading stock, that stock would be climbing, especially after the Supreme Court University of Michigan ruling and especially after Gov. Bill Owens publicly announced he would support a bill that would eliminate race from college admission consideration.

When it comes to admissions, CSU takes into account different factors; when the school does look at race, it is long after the student meets the index scores he or she needs to be admitted into CSU.

After talking to some at the office of admissions, I learned that the office considers extracurricular activities, sport participation, interest in the arts, rural or urban background among other considerations but every student attending CSU should feel confident they got into this school on merit and not because of race. To my understanding, race is not going to determine admission to CSU and it should not at any college campus, but colleges should be encouraged to diversify their campuses – the way to do that is to start early and start preparing K-12 students earlier and increasing the number of underrepresented students in the application pool.

If white Colorado politicians want to eliminate race from consideration, that is fine. I am not opposed to the idea, but it seems to me they are not interested in making sure only qualified students are accepted at state colleges, but politicians like Sen. Jim Dyer, who filed a request for the bill, put forth these kinds of legislation because of white pride.

What positive consequences will this bill have for young Coloradoans applying to college? How will the bill benefit anyone?

I’m sure future supporters of the proposed bill will claim it will level the playing field for all students. Does the playing field need to be any more level when the 11.2 percent minorities at CSU do not represent the more than 20 percent of minorities living in Colorado?

This bill is simply a statement coming from white politicians that feel they are losing their share of the pie to minorities unless these same politicians come up with a program or system that will help underrepresented students get on state college campuses. And I’m not just talking about students of color but rural students, students coming from poor families and first-generation students.

I am not convinced passing a bill eliminating college admissions from considering race is going to solving anything let alone the negative consequences white politicians claim come from affirmative action.

And unlike my colleagues who feel we need to be colorblind (“Our View,” July 23), I feel as a society we need to look at a person’s skin color and background or we are stripping that person of his or her identity.

For a lot of people, their race is a big part of their identity and to try to look past only sets up opportunity for discrimination and prejudice.

Prejudice and discrimination comes from na/ve thinking and not understanding different cultural backgrounds and trying to implicate this colorblind legislative would only further prejudice and discrimination because it removes opportunity for underrepresented students and does not allow institutions to recognize students coming from different background.

The only way this bill will benefit anyone is when Colorado politicians realize they represent not only white Coloradoans but also all Coloradoans and start proposing legislation that will benefit everyone. This bill is fine but it needs to be followed by a proposal that will diversify our campus more than it is now.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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