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Pushing for more diversity

Take a look around campus, and you’ll see a plethora of identities. People of different genders, ethnicities and races come to VSU to get an education, and as a result there is an adequate amount of diversity.

But take a look at members of the faculty and administration, and you’ll realize they are not a reflection of the students.

According to the VSU 2013-2014 profile, 39 percent of students are male, and 61 percent are female; however, the 2012-2013 VSU Fact Book states that 63.6 percent of executive administrators are male, and 36.4 percent of executive administrators are female.

How could it be that the male-to-female ratio of students contrasts so much when compared to the male-to-female ratio of administrators?

As an institution, one of the most important things to pay attention to is who is representing it. The “face” of the school determines students’ attitudes toward it and how others perceive it. If students don’t see people who look like them with administrative roles, how can they feel comfortable voicing their concerns and leaving their trust in the hands of these administrators?

As much as people “don’t see color,” race will always be acknowledged, whether it is consciously or unconsciously. It’s a part of our identities and isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, there were 1,202 white VSU employees but only 229 black employees. This is not diverse enough.

Of course, quality trumps quantity, so it would be illogical to hire someone simply because of his or her race. We want qualified, skilled people to be the decision-makers of VSU. But at the same time, it would be a step in the right direction if there were a more diverse group of administrators.

Last week, the SGA unanimously passed a resolution recommending the Office of Social Equity “be separated and restructured” this summer to handle the lack of diversity in VSU’s faculty and staff.

The OSE, whose mission is “to promote and sustain an environment of diversity, equity, respect and inclusiveness for all members of the University community,” currently employs only five people.

The resolution also said the OSE “has neglected to ‘achieve excellence through diversity’ efficiently.”

If the OSE “encourages the development of policies which improve the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body and faculty,” and members of the VSU community don’t think there is enough diversity in the faculty, can we truly say the OSE is doing its job?

It seems as though the OSE may need to be revamped, and the goal of a more diverse campus needs to be put forth proactively if we want to see change.

It would be great to find out administrators’ views on this subject and hear their suggestions for increasing diversity among authority figures at VSU.

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