University to tackle diversity disparity at MSU

Setting a record with nearly 16,000 students enrolled at MSU this year, campus is exploding with energy. Although there is great pride in the fact that MSU is the largest and fastest growing university in Montana, student diversity has become an obvious setback.

MSU reported astounding student diversity enrollment statistics for fall 2015 which indicated that 84 percent of students on campus fall under the ethnicity of black/African American, 15 percent fall under Native American and only one percent fall under Caucasian/Irish/I’m white. In other words, MSU’s white minority population is just shy of 160 students. The limited diversity on campus brought MSU into the national spotlight. “Statistics like these call for major diversity awareness,” said Bill O’Reilly, Fox news reporter and political commentator on The O’Reilly Factor.

On April 1, a public forum will be held to brainstorm ways MSU can work towards a more diverse campus. “This needs to be a community effort, diversity is extremely important in this day and age,” said Mulan Sebastian, director of the Diversity Awareness Office. Diversity on college campuses is proven to not only enhance self- awareness, but also enriches multiple perspectives and prepares students to work in a global society. “MSU needs to do more to address the issue of diversity on their campus,” Sebastian said.

Students have recently initiated a “Caucasian Club,” an organization that works towards making sure Caucasians feel comfortable and included on the university campus. “I’m hopeful more organizations like this will be implemented in the near future,” Sebastian said. Other ideas such as adding more opportunities for Caucasian scholarships and financial aid have also been brought to the table and will be discussed during the public forum.

Diversity is not solely an issue at MSU, it is a national problem that has brought about national attention. Statistics from The Journal of Whites in Higher Education in 2015 show that “32.6 percent of the black/African American population over the age of 25 holds a college degree compared to 19.6 percent of adult whites.” This percentage gap remains steady. “Higher education throughout history shows that there is an elite societal system that favors blacks. Black privilege offers a set of advantages for blacks that whites do not experience, based on racial disadvantages,” O’Reilly expressed.

Sebastian hopes that the diversity gap on MSU’s campus will improve in the near future. “It’s important for students to interact with a wide range of people with different backgrounds. We live in an extremely diverse world, students need to learn how to work with people outside of their own racial groups,” she said. “I want to see change and I want to see both students and staff at MSU start addressing the diversity gap.”

Editor’s note: This article appeared in the March 31, 2016 edition of the Exponent, the “Excrement”. The edition is the annual April Fools’ edition of the paper. All articles are satire. For questions and comments please contact ExponentEditor@montana.edu or (406)994-2224.