Opinion submission: Dear UP, stop capitalizing off our diversity
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You cannot claim to prioritize diversity until you prove that you prioritize diversity.
I was drawn to UP, like I am sure many other students from families of color were, through the promise of diversity. The surface level of that promise was fulfilled; the website and school president both proudly claim that the class of 2022 is the second most diverse class yet. And we are.
We are made up of students from LatinX, Black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Island, immigrant, LGBTQ+, low income and disabled homes and communities. We have students who are the first to attend college in their families. We have students from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Christian backgrounds. This class is a majority female.
That is important.
It is something to brag about, and I am happy that UP recognizes how brilliant and special this class makes this university. But I am deeply disappointed by how we were accepted into this University arms. As a Diversity Collaborator here on campus, I see every day how funding can make or break a club. Relatively smaller clubs like the Jewish Student Union, Filipino American Student Association and Black Student Union have fewer opportunities than Athletics because they receive a small fraction of their funding.
That isn’t to say that UP Athletics isn’t worthy; they are, but so are we. In fact, Diversity and Inclusion Programming hasn’t received any increase in funding since it was established in 2002; this fact does not support an ever growing community of diversity.
Additionally, UP doesn’t hire enough people who look like us. Men and especially women coming from communities of color are not well-staffed here. Not enough of our guest lecturers are coming from communities of color, the lower class, the LGBTQ+ community, or from alternative faiths.
This means that no matter how hard UP tries, there will always be gaps in our education; the knowledge that could only come from experiences of diversity will not be taught here and our experiences will not always be recognized nor validated.
UP, you have struck gold with the class of 2022. You have diversity in droves that this university has never seen before in its entire history.
I urge you to stop advertising and benefitting from the diversity of our class until you support our cultures from the ground up.
Let’s get to work,
Hazel Stange is a freshman at UP and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.