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Racist incident at Kansas State brings about diversity question at UB

UB’s diversity policy is good, for now

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Last week, a Kansas State University student posted a Snapchat of herself and a friend in a dark facial mask with the caption, “Feels good to finally be a n****.”

The university expelled the students, which resulted in a massive outcry from the Kansas State Black Student Union. The organization petitioned to have the university implement an anti-racism policy, a multicultural student center, need-based scholarships for multicultural students and a “required cultural competency course.” This brought discussions about racism and diversity to open forums in which the school’s diversity was in question.

This makes us ask – is our campus truly diverse?

UB boasts a 17 percent international student population. There was an 11 percent increase in minority student enrollment this year. What do these numbers mean?

Lee Melvin, vice provost for Enrollment at UB, said UB has a recruitment team specifically responsible for attracting minority students and the team visits high schools to share minority students’ experience.

This statement is extremely vague and we would like to know more specifics on how they attract students, but it does show effort. Unlike Kansas State, UB has a multicultural student center and a new required course on diversity.

The editors at The Spectrum feel that while our campus does have diversity, more can be done to include and engage minority students.

As stated before, UB has its own diversity center – but it’s usually empty.

The diversity center needs to implement more appealing events to attract students to walk into the office. Sometimes they have movie screenings, but it is unlikely students will attend since it isn’t a social or networking opportunity.

It is also rare that students will go to random club meetings or nationality-based SA clubs without a reason, be it free food, a giveaway, or some sort of competition.

As a university, we can do more to not only include minority students, but to get more nonminority students involved in multicultural events.

We do not feel that a specific anti-racism policy is necessary. It is better to handle these situations as they come, the way that the university handled the “White Only” and “Black Only” signs last year. After the incident, the art department created a policy that further defined art and where installations can take place.

Our Black Student Union issued a statement and held an open forum in the wake of the “White Only” and “Black Only” controversy. We worked through it as a school to ensure no one felt uncomfortable.

There is a general anti-discrimination and harassment policy in place right now that includes race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sex, age and maternal status. It is a big umbrella in which race falls under, but is not directed specifically at racism. So far, this policy has proven effective and until we see an incident similar to that at Kansas State, there is no need to change it.

The Kansas Black Student Union has expressed that they feel “misunderstood” on campus. UB has faced situations in which racism takes place – it happens all the time – but the university has been able to handle it.

One student’s ignorance led to not only uproar, but action. If we were to see something similar at UB, our university would be forced to take action to protect its students from not just discrimination, but racism. In the meantime, UB should continue to focus on continuing to increase the campus’ diversity and enhancing minority students’ experiences.

The editorial board can be reached at eic@ubspectrum.com


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