Campus Commentary

Pride and Privileges: Diversity at UCBA

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This poster makes a call to action, to defend equality.

Privilege. Inequality. These are some words which seem wrought with offense and politics, yet affect our everyday lives. If you are reading this article, you have some kind of privilege that many do not have, simply by being able to access the internet to read this article. Privilege ranges from the nitty gritty, like having the technology to come to The Activist, to being male, being white, being able-bodied, being straight, or having money.

Saying someone has privilege is not saying that they do not struggle, or are not a part of a minority group. This is merely saying that every person has some sort of privilege that someone else does not have. Acknowledging this is what allows us to move forward as a group, and help fight inequality where we see it. We need to fight inequality everywhere, even here, at the University of Cincinnati, things are not equal.

First, some basic demographics. We need to know just how unequal things are at UC in order to change anything. In Cincinnati, 50.4% of the population is white, 42.9% is African American, 3.6% is Hispanic or Latino, and 2% is Asian. Yet, on the Clifton campus, only 17% of the student population is “of color.” Total minority groups at Clifton equals 21.1%.

We can see already how much of a problem this is: Almost half of Cincinnati’s population is of color, but our people of color are represented by a mere fifth at our University.

Luckily, UCBA is slightly more diverse than Clifton, with 29% of our students being of color, not even mentioning other minority groups. The diversity here is growing every semester, as well as the student body of UCBA.

This wave of inclusion is in part due to the UCBA Diversity Plan– a three year plan that started in Fall of 2016 with six goals to help provide inclusion and retention of students. Each goal also has plans and strategies to help it’s success, and has so far done just that.

So what can we do to help bring equality and representation to our college as students? Molly Scruta from the UC Office of Multicultural Affairs explained: “Students at UCBA can begin to implement change by hearing—really hearing—each other and acknowledging the validity of each others’ experiences. It’s possible to have those meaningful, challenging, respectful conversations, both in class and around campus. Respect the journeys that others have made, and respect the humanity in each other. If a word that you say offends someone and they say something about it, really try to hear them and understand why they find it offensive.”

With Molly’s advice, we can begin to move forward as a university. We can start to move towards equality, using our individual privileges to hear each other and create an inclusive environment everywhere around us.

Listen to one another. Respect one another. Love one another. Challenge one another. Support one another. We’re all on this journey together, and when one of us rises, we all rise.

About Cassidy Kempthorne

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