The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
According to Miami’s Office of Institutional Research, the undergraduate population reached 16,387 students during the Fall 2015 semester. Broken down by race and origin, there are 12,503 white students, 1,875 international, 628 Latino/Hispanic, 519 multiracial, 483 black, and 344 Asian.
Each of the 50 states is represented at Miami — even Washington D.C. Additionally, the 1875 international students come from 87 different countries. That’s the domestic picture, but, according to the university’s website, “approximately 42 percent of Miami students study abroad before they graduate” — a number that earns Miami the 19th rank in universities nationwide for studying abroad.
From a social standpoint, there are over 400 student organizations registered. Organizations like SPECTRUM and the Asian American Association, Stage Left and F-Word, College Republicans and College Democrats, African Student Union and Black Women Empowered, Korean American Student Association, Association of Latin American Students and so on.
Measuring the above data, Miami checks out as a relatively diverse campus with students that bring global and unique perspectives to our supposedly humdrum Midwest town. So if the question at hand were: Are we diverse? Well, sure. But a much more complex question to be considered is: What do we do with that diversity? Is our campus an integrated diverse mix? Or does a prospective student come to campus and immediately pick up on the racial isolation in Armstrong Student Center? On the swarms of the backwards hat, Vineyard Vines shirt and boat shoes outfits moving about campus? On the seperated groups of Chinese students? Is that a diversity to be proud of?
If it were, President Hodge wouldn’t have sent an email to the student body addressing our lack of an inclusive community. The representatives from EducationCounsel, he wrote, will have a report ready by the summer. It is then the hope that incoming President Crawford will act on the findings of this study. We await these actions with alacrity for a better Miami in the future.
As for our part, we can only look inwards and suggest some adjustments within the university. On an individual level, it is understood that comfort zones are yearned for on a daily basis, especially now with another dose of the mentally numbing finals underway. It’s easy to see why, according to JS Bragg of the Office of Student Activities, each year sees the founding of 40-60 student organizations. Students wish to stick to what they know and agree with friends with the same opinions.
But this everlasting growth of organizations lends itself to furthering an already segregated student body. To stymie any additional branching off, students must begin to realize that all organizations, regardless of their majority members, are open to each and every student. A white male can join Black Women Empowered and a lesbian female can join both SPECTRUM and the Colege Republicans. What better way to integrate within our Miami community than interacting within unique groups with diverse ideas and members?
Well, perhaps one way — not necessarily better, just easier — would be to enroll in a course that is offered only to a small group. IDS 151, titled Diversity Seminar, is “designed to enable students to take part in discussions involving difference.” However, the 6-week sprint course is limited to those in the Global Connections LLC, which is made up approximately of 50 percent international students and 50 percent domestic students.
Similar to a public speaking course, a seminar concerning diversity is necessary to a student’s growth and understanding in that they will, at some point, need it. Moreover, if Miami wants to stick with its liberal arts agenda — one that encourages immersion in myriad subjects — enrolling in this course would fit quite well. It’s a step towards slowly but surely exiting our comfort zones and begin the much-needed process of integration in the Miami community.