Oct 132011
Authors: Andrew Carrera

Diversity at CSU has skyrocketed while the operating budgets for the university’s diversity offices have been cut, according to Linda Ahuna-Hamill, the executive director of the Student Diversity Programs and Services offices.

The university reported 2,644 total minority students in attendance at CSU during fall 2001. The number grew to 3,631 by fall 2011 –– a 37 percent jump over the past 10 years. But the state government has recently decreased funding to the diversity offices charged with receiving these students.

The Student Diversity Programs and Services office, which manages CSU’s seven offices for minority students, typically figures out how to continue supporting their efforts when state funding is cut.

“But there’s been some necessary cuts just because the amounts have been so great that this division can’t absorb that amount of money,” Ahuna-Hamill said.

To compensate for the lack of financing, directors at the centers have looked to grant money from private donations to continue operations.

“But it’s soft money because it has to be renewed every year,” Ahuna-Hamill said.

The unstable funding situation has led diversity center directors to decrease the number of programs and services offered to the populations they serve.

“When we’re saying programs … we’re talking about celebrating their diversity and celebrating their heritage … It’s to acknowledge their presence here on the CSU campus,” said Shaunte McLachlan, Associated Students of CSU Department of Diversity director. “The lack of funding has taken away their ability to put on these programs.”

Without events that make individuals feel connected to the university, McLachlan fears the attractiveness of CSU to minority students will lessen and that campus diversity will plummet.

“It’s just going to be a world that’s not very open-minded to different cultures and different people in general,” he said. “We go to college to broaden our horizons, to learn about the differences between one another. And I think that’s really what lack of diversity hinders.”

While acknowledging the challenges facing the university in maintaining and growing its minority population, Richard Salas, associate director of CSU’s Hispanic culture center known as El Centro, is confident about the campus’s future.
“I really believe that CSU’s commitment to diversity is genuine and sincere,” he said. “In terms of admin support, we are right there. Nothing but good can happen out of that. We are on the right path.”

Senior Reporter Andrew Carrera can be reached at news@collegian.com.

How much state money do the diversity offices receive?

Resources for Disabled Students

El Centro

Black/African American Cultural Center

Women and Gender Advocacy Center

Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center

Native American Cultural Center

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Resource Center

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