Diversity at OSU

Recently, the Oregon State University Office of Community & Diversity held a diversity essay contest. 5 essays were chosen and then voted upon by the OSU community. I read all five of the essays. At the time, I felt that only one of the essays expressed a non-propagandized view on diversity at OSU. It turns out that that essay would be the eventual winner. Written by Matthew Holland, an English major, the winning essay focuses on OSU’s Difference, Power, and Discrimination curriculum and how it impacts OSU students. While Matthew’s essay was certainly important in its message, I was moved by an essay by a first-year student. Holland is a fifth year student, presumably in or nearing his senior year, and I would expect a well-written essay given his program of study and exposure to a class like the Ethics of Diversity. However, the essay that I have posted below, was written by a first-year student who directly experiences what a lack of diversity at OSU can mean to a student. I had the privilege of reading Israel Salgado’s essay and asked him if I could post it on my blog. Israel’s essay provides insight into his experience and what can be done to make OSU a more diverse institution.

Diversity at OSUGuest essay by Israel Salgado

The word “diversity” has multiple meanings to different individuals. It can mean: ethnicity, race, culture, sexuality, gender, social class, language and/or, disabilities. Though Oregon State University has made successful choices in trying to diversify its campus and community, it can still move forward in its goal of becoming “a destination of choice for people interested in diversity” by having more diversified staff, intercultural awareness events not only in the cultural centers but in the residence halls, and offering more baccalaureate core courses in this subject.

I come from Woodburn, Oregon a town just an hour away going north on the I-5. It’s a very diverse place with a population of 21,560 people where you just have to walk down the street before you can see individuals from different ethnic backgrounds. However, when I came to Oregon State University back in September to start my college education, I experienced a cultural shock. Though I have done my entire education with Caucasian students, I felt like I went from one country to another in less than an hour. During the first week of fall term, and sometime after that, I felt intimated and out of place here. I believe that every diverse student that comes here has or will feel the same feelings at one point in their life at Oregon State University.

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Arizona State Legislature

The Melting Pot incinerates every culture except for white culture

The state legislature in Arizona seems to be under the control of a white supremacist group. A recent proposal targets race-based groups (note that groups that are all or mostly white are not mentioned) that largely consist of students of color.

Arizona public schools would be barred from any teachings considered counter to democracy or Western civilization under a proposal endorsed Wednesday by a legislative panel.

Additionally, the measure would prohibit students of the state’s universities and community colleges from forming groups based in whole or part on the race of their members, such as the Black Business Students Association at Arizona State University or Native Americans United at Northern Arizona University. Those groups would be forbidden from operating on campus.

via The Arizona Republic

The creator of this racist, Euro-centric measure is Republican Russell Pearce. Pearce who was formally the Maricopa County Deputy Sheriff, sneaked the measure into a state senate bill on homeland security.

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University of Kentucky

University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky has hired its first diversity officer!

Dr. Judy ‘J.J.’ Jackson, set to become the University of Kentucky’s first vice president for institutional diversity, has big plans for developing and implementing a diversity agenda that she says is essential for learning.

Jackson, who starts this summer, will work strategically to craft UK’s diversity agenda, which she says is essential to establishing a strong foundation for learning. She notes that one of the most important goals during her first year at UK will be to conduct a university-wide “gap analysis” to devise various strategies on recruiting a diverse group of students and faculty.

“Often times, people don’t think of diversity and excellence as the same concept … the goal and the mission that the University of Kentucky has embarked upon demands that people think of diversity and excellence as conceptual cohabitants,” says Jackson, whose responsibilities will include advising the university’s president and provost on matters relating to academic, fiscal and administrative policy.

via Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University has apparently been planning to include people of color on its board of trustees since the early 1900’s (note the sarcasm). Unfortunately, the plan had never been implemented. I guess it takes a lot of “planning” for an all white board to include people of color. Perhaps the implementation was delayed due to the overt racism of the board?

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Considering difference

In April I posted some audio from Al Gore’s keynote at the NASPA/ACPA National Conference. This post drew the attention of a certain blogger by the name of Radar. Radar had also attended the NASPA/ACPA conference and he had a few things to say about Al Gore. I love getting comments on my site that differ from my own opinion. This diversity of viewpoints keeps things interesting and forces me to flex my brain cells.

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Racism bothers me too

I’ve been reading a lot of news reports about a racist party in Delaware. On May 5th, several members of the Phi Sigma Pi honors fraternity at the University of Delaware held a racist party in which white students dressed up as stereotypes of Latinos.

The “South of the Border” party held on Cinco de Mayo featured white students with racial epithets on their shirts.

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bell hooks at Lewis & Clark College

bell hooks photo

Here is the audio recording from bell hooks‘ talk at Lewis & Clark College from February 1, 2006 [88 MB MP3].

Racism as treasured tradition

While searching for the identity of a racist, homophobic, pro-chief hate e-mailer, I came across this gem of a statement from the University of Illinois Alumni Association’s President:

Statement from UIAA President Loren R. Taylor

The University of Illinois Alumni Association is supportive of the Board of Trustees in light of its difficult decision concerning the Chief Illiniwek tradition. We recognize the board’s responsibility to act in what it believes to be the best interests of the University as a whole. At the same time, we respect the emotional impact this announcement is having on the alumni and friends who treasure this longtime University tradition. Illinois loyalty has never been constricted to one issue or dependent on any one activity, and, as a community, I believe we will emerge from this period stronger, closer and more committed to our shared fundamental values.

Loren R. Taylor
President and CEO
University of Illinois Alumni Association

Translation: The University of Illinois Alumni Association respects the longtime racist tradition of chief illiniwek at UIUC and is sorry for the emotional turbulence that losing the mascot has caused to the dominant majority at UIUC. Our white privilege, racism, and othering of Native folks will continue to make us closer and more committed to our shared fundamental values.

Gender disparity in web conferences

Jason Kottke has an excellent post about the gender disparity amongst several of the most popular (successful?) web conferences and their featured speakers.

Women make up less than 25% of the featured speakers at the majority of the conferences (TED, PopTech, An Event Apart Boston 2007, Future of Web Apps – San Francisco, etc) that Kottke analyzes.

According to Kottke:

it seems to me that either the above concerns are not getting through to conference organizers or that gender diversity doesn’t matter as much to conference organizers as they publicly say it does. The Future of Web Apps folks seem to have a particularly tin ear when it comes to this issue. For their second conference, they doubled the size of the speaker roster and added only one woman to the bill despite the complaints from last time.

Here is a list of women speakers for conferences

Chief Illiniwek Will No Longer Perform

UIUC has decided to discontinue Chief Illiniwek….

Absent from the official UIUC response is any mention of the ethical reasons for eliminating the “Chief.” Labeling Chief Illiniwek as a positive tradition, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees has done little to address the racism of this “tradition.” Chief Illiniwek may be finished. However, racism, stereotyping, and oppression seem to unfortunately be going strong amongst the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. The board seems more concerned with losing money from alumni and re-gaining access to lucrative post-season collegiate athletics.

This sends a terrible message to all white students at UIUC. The University and its Board have made it clear that listening to people of color and their allies does not matter. I’ve included the full text of the press release from the University of Illinois. Nowhere in the release is it mentioned that the Chief was a racist caricature that stereotyped Native Americans.

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