Attempts to diversify a widely homogenous campus have put Colorado-Boulder in the news.
According to the university’s Web site, only 14.4 percent of students enrolled in 2006 are considered minorities.
The CU Ski and Snowboard Club tried to diversify its membership in what club members say was intended to be an innocent advertising ploy to bring people to the club. The group advertised a “gangsta”-themed meeting by putting up posters featuring black rappers and faux bullet holes.
Students and faculty of color at CU said despite the club members’ goals, they still crossed the line.
“We are taking care of the situation as best we can,” said Chris Garcin, the president of the Ski and Snowboard Club.
Because of the incident, Garcin is trying to pass a diversity bill at CU requiring diversity training for all student leaders in student organizations.
Blane Harding, director of advising, recruitment and retention for the College of Liberal Arts at CSU, noted that most black students couldn’t relate to the content of the fliers.
“The average black student is not a gang member,” said Harding, also a professor of African American studies.
Statistics from the Office of Budgets and Institutional Analysis show that there is only a 12.2 percent minority population enrolled at CSU this fall. Despite this fact, members of Snowriders, the ski and snowboard club at CSU, haven’t intentionally excluded or recruited members of any ethnic group.
“If people want to come up (to the mountains), they can come along,” said Jeff Holt, a junior history major and head of marketing for the Snowriders. “We reach out to everyone.”
Holt had no comment about his CU counterparts.
Other students said that the CU club went too far.
“They went about it all wrong.it is wrong to think that all people of color can identify with the theme,” said Serena Gill, a senior biology major.
Others agreed that the stereotyping was inappropriate.
“It is sad that we have to apply attributes to people of color,” Martin Swanty, a senior criminal justice major said. “I am sure (the club) didn’t have any ulterior motives.”
Some students said anything the club would have done to diversify its members could have been perceived as culturally insensitive.
“Sometimes people are overly touchy about that kind of stuff,” said Ashley Tolbert, a sophomore biology major.
Staff writer Anica Wong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.