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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Diversity at Chico State

Diversity at Chico State

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Chico is known as the “city of trees,” with many different types throughout the city, each with their own unique features. However, Jasmine Reynolds, senior business administration major, thinks that the trees may be the only diverse aspect about the campus.

In one of her classes, Reynolds remembers an incident where she had to find a partner for the rest of the semester. Turning to the person sitting next to her she asked if they wanted to be her partner.

“He said he wanted to work alone,” Reynolds said. “Then two minutes later he turned around and asked a white girl if she wanted to be his partner.”

Reynolds does not believe the campus is as diverse as it could be. At Chico State, two percent of the students on campus are black.

The small percentage affected the way that Reynolds felt on campus and she struggled with trying to find people to identify with, she said.

Tired of feeling excluded, Reynolds searched for a place to help her feel safe and be apart of the campus. She stumbled upon the Cross Cultural Leadership Center, a center that provides a safe environment for students to feel respected and included through diversity.

Reynolds is also a part of the Equal Opportunity Program, whose mission is to bring people from different racial backgrounds to the campus.

“My friends and EOP are the two main reasons why I liked Chico State,” Reynolds said.

On January 28th, the center held a forum based on the hash tag #blacklivesmatter. The hash tag has been created through social media to bring awareness to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Through social media there has been controversy over the hash tag because people are stating that all lives matter and to stop making situations of race an issue.

“All lives do matter, but right now it is a message that needs to be heard that black lives matter,” Reynolds said. “People who say it is not a race issue are not realizing what is actually happening.”

According to quick facts, 49 percent of the students at Chico State are white.

While there are mixed reviews about our campus being diverse, the answer may not be in the numbers, but in the individuals who do not feel as represented on campus.

Alfredo Garcia, junior criminal justice major, gives insight into how Chico State can work on becoming more diverse.

“We are on the right path to making Chico State diverse,” Garcia said. “We’re not going to fully be there until we have more of a diverse staff.”

The percentage of black faculty and staff on quick facts are just as stifling to the students. The amount of black instructional faculty on campus is at .8 percent.

“In class I felt like an outsider,” Reynolds said. “Especially when I feel like my professor who is white had sympathy for me based off of statistics on black students test scores.”

Reynolds eventually decided to attend a different university during her junior year. She transferred to a historically black college, Bowie State in Maryland. Towards the end of the semester she decided she made the wrong decision leaving Chico State and that leaving was not the answer, she said.

Her motivation to graduate from college does not only come from herself but also from her younger brother. She does not want to end up like her friends back at home who did not graduate. She wants to be a role model, she said.

“My ethnicity has nothing to do with my education,” Reynolds said. “I came back because I appreciated how the EOP staff and faculty kept up with me.”

Four years ago Reynolds may have told you how much she did not like Chico State and how the school is not diverse at all. While the campus is not as diverse as it should be, it has potential to be, she said.

“I like Chico State because I realize not everyone is the same,” Reynolds said. “Regardless of the lack of diversity I have grown so much as a person being here.”

DJ Morris can be reached at [email protected] or @djthejournalist on Twitter.

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