Chico State claims diversity, improvements still needed


Liz Coffee

Chico State yields banners that state “We Are Chico State” and has made claims in the past to value diversity. While this effort hasn’t gone unnoticed, it’s important to continue practicing diversity instead of just claiming it.

The campus has made changes to its student population. As of fall 2016, the student population is comprised of 30.1 percent Latino students and Chico State qualifies as a Hispanic Serving Institution, according to the university.

It has already used this designation to help the campus. Chico State was awarded a $4.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support students in the Colleges of Agriculture, Natural Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management, according to a press release from October 2016.

While in some ways, the campus is making progress; it appears to be stalling in others. Only 2.4 percent of the student population is black/African American, according to the university. Meanwhile, 44 percent of the student population on campus is white. On the faculty side, 77.3 percent of the population is white. One percent is black/African American and 4 percent are Latino. The campus may be serving Hispanics but it doesn’t appear to be taught by them.

How are students supposed to feel welcome, when many members of authority on campus do not look like them? The Human Resources Service Center offers training on bias during hiring but current students still have many professors that don’t represent diversity.

The Cross Cultural Leadership Center made some progress during Wildcat Vibe on Aug. 31. Multicultural sororities and fraternities were represented and the edge of campus appeared to be more of a welcoming block party than an entrance to a university. Chico State claims to accept everybody and focuses on a Wildcat Welcome, but they should take note of how the CCLC handles inclusion in the future.

Chico State is on the right track but has a long way to go before the campus really feels all-inclusive and diverse. The Orion addressed this issue in 2014. It’s fair to say that change takes time but too much remains the same three years later. Chico State needs to hire more faculty and administration of color. It should also make a bigger effort to admit more students of color. Hopefully Chico State remembers that actions speak louder than words. It wants to care about diversity but the campus still falls short on this claim.

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