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Sunday, 13 April, 2008 11:44 PM
Wayne State University is Diverse, but are Students Willing to Accept Others?
Photo credit: www.school-one.org
A diverse group of students
DETROIT -- It's easy to see just how diverse Wayne State University is. Just by walking through the halls of its buildings, or around the campus itself, you can see students, alumni and professors from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. It's not a question of whether or not the people within the school are diverse; instead the more appropriate question is if the students themselves are willing to accept the diversity.
The facts speak for themselves. Wayne State, and everyone that makes up the university, is very culturally diverse. According to a key-facts list about WSU provided by their website, "the student body is comprised of people from 44 states and more than 100 countries." Also on the list was the fact that Wayne State has the “most diverse university student body in Michigan.”
WSU also has programs and groups designed to help students deal with such a varied student body and staff.
"WSU Diversity Programs work closely with other campus departments, faculty, and staff to develop a climate in which cultural diversity is valued, appreciated, and accepted,"taken from the mission statement of the school’s Diversity Program.
It's also easy to see that WSU prides itself on being diverse. The university's most recent Student Academic Success Summit was dedicated to the issue and how to make the most of WSU's diversity. Taken from information provided to those in attendance at the convention, "Our theme for this year'’s Summit 'WSU: Making Our Diversity an Educational Asset' highlights the importance of promoting and enhancing our diversity at WSU. The purpose of this year's Summit is to generate a dialogue about how WSU's diversity can be better used to enhance our educational programs."
Even though it is an easily known fact that the school is comprised of a myriad of people from numerous cultures, it is not as easy to say if the students themselves think that the school is as integrated as it would appear at first glance. Instead, is it the case that people still have trouble mixing and socializing with all the various ethnic groups found on campus even though we are immersed in a culturally rich environment?
Many students seem to think that even given the diversity of WSU, groups seem to form based on race or culture, with little variance outside of the particular makeup.
"I think people generally hang out with people who are similar to them. I generally hang out with mostly Albanians on campus and off," said Alban Cota, a freshman studying criminal justice.
Other students agree that this school is very diverse, but it is still not very integrated.
"It's diverse in one sense, but it's also not,"said Raul Ortega, a senior studying computer science. "When I work out, I always see many different races. Also, there are professors and students from many different countries like China and Russia. But the students separate themselves racially. I used to sit at a table in the library with mostly all Hispanics. Hardly any other cultural groups would intermingle."”
Other students hold similar opinions in regards to the visible separation among students, yet at a less severe level.
"There are definitely [cultural] cliques. You can see all the different groups that sit together in the student center. But it's not like it was in high school. In high school there were definite boundaries that you couldn't cross. In fraternities and sororities you get a lot of mixing of different groups,"said Angela Verduce, a senior studying education.
And still others hold similar, but at the same time different opinions on the issue. Some students feel that there are distinct separations, but they are only temporary.
"I feel that in the classroom, initially it seems like cliques form based on race. As the semester goes on people become more comfortable with each other and eventually begin to interact with people who are different from themselves," said Pete Henien.
The consensus of this opinion piece is to show that most people agree with the fact that Wayne State is a very diverse university, yet there still seems to be a problem with accepting this level of diversity. People are still more likely to congregate to those who are similar to them instead of branching out and embracing the differences found within our fellow classmates.
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