President Larry Penley and ASCSU are pushing diversity as the next big thing.
We agree. But we believe most people have forgotten what diversity means.
Most seem to mistake it for simple race, sex, religion or sexual orientation. If 3,000 Latinos were to enroll tomorrow, would that make us diverse? Of course it would, according to numbers the state would release.
But let’s pretend these 3,000 fictional Latinos were all from the same country, shared the same customs and experienced the same socioeconomic conditions. Numbers wouldn’t take that into account.
Diversity is something that cannot be measured. It’s an education of its own, for which there really isn’t a suitable test. It’s how you feel when you walk into a room full of people who are different from you.
And it’s how you react to the one different person who walks into a room full of your friends.
Requiring cultural sensitivity classes and playing the numbers game might be a good place to start, for sure. It sets the stage for learning. But ultimately, it’s up to students to take a leap and feel uncomfortable for a while for learning’s sake.
So keep an eye on those numbers. They might give some indication as to the university’s growing cultural mix over the next few years. But the more elusive measurement is the acceptance of our graduates.