On Campus
May 27, 2008, 11:35AM

Conceptual Activism

Stanford students appeal for more diversity activism, citing the lack of female and minority faculty members at one of America's leading institutions. While we support ending discrimination, we wonder whether "diversity" is really a concrete enough concept to warrant student protests.

"Increased diversity benefits everyone, whether you are a member of a minority group or not. A university is a place for academic and personal growth. For your education to be the most well-rounded, you must constantly challenge your notions about different groups. This is true no matter your background or your position at this University. Inasmuch as this University has a vested interest in producing bright, world-wise, and accepting people, it is Stanford’s responsibility to support diversity efforts on this campus.

As it stands, Stanford is performing miserably in graduate and faculty diversity. Since the 1990s, the graduate population has boomed by over 20 percent while the proportions of female and underrepresented minorities have dropped drastically. Faculty diversity is a major problem, as well. Some departments have zero female faculty members. The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and the Faculty Development & Diversity Office are working hard on this problem, and we commend them for this work, but we still have far to go.

As students, we do not personally choose new graduate students or new faculty, but we do have the ability to create powerful change from the ground up.

That partly means spreading awareness of the problem. We must educate ourselves on the state of diversity on this campus and find events and people who can help us do so. Ask yourself whether you fully understand what diversity means and be open to learning how diversity activists define the term. Oftentimes, when we show people statistics associated with our University, they are shocked.




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