Editorial: Is there a race problem within U.S. universities?

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Universities across the country have been, and continue to be, predominately white. Regardless of whether that’s student’s or faculty and staff.

Diversity among university faculty is a growing issue given the fact that the pool of student applicants is steadily becoming more mixed. You might ask why it’s so important to have a diverse faculty, and that in itself is one of the reasons why our faculty are not as diverse as they should be. Having a more diverse faculty enriches a student’s experience in the classroom and helps them acknowledge that people who produce knowledge at the level of a college professor are not always white.

Universities need to take into consideration that providing role models to underrepresented groups encourages those students to branch outside of what is expected of them and aspire to be something they may not have even thought of before. It helps the students of different races, ethnicities, gender, sexual orientation, etc. gain confidence and realize that the university system is inclusive and that there are many voices to be heard and perspectives to see besides those of their white professors.

Having more white professors creates a never ending cycle of white students receiving more opportunities. There’s a tendency for people to hire those more like themselves and if majority of the faculty is white then majority of the students receiving research opportunities, internships and encouragement to go into a university teaching atmosphere will be white as well. If the minority students aren’t receiving the same type of favoritism and encouragement they are less likely to seek higher education levels. Thus, feeding into the vicious cycle of a less diverse university system.

This also targets the monopoly of Asian professors in STEM subjects. How often do you see and African-American teaching a Chemistry or Biology class? Not often and subconsciously students start to think that maybe they won’t get far in those careers because no one who looks like them seem to be thriving.

According to College Factual, Georgia State is ranked #450 nationwide as above average in overall diversity. They are ranked #130 nationwide with ethnic diversity in their student body composition which is well above the national average. Even our female to male ratio is high, meaning that we have an equal amount of each sex on campus.

Our student population is more diverse than others, but even so the link between the races seems nonexistent. Each race seems to huddle within their own ethnic clique in an impenetrable bubble, which defeats the purpose of having a diverse population. The whole idea is to learn from each other which is impossible to do if we never mingle.

Georgia State prides itself on the fact that they have a diverse student body. That is a selling factor to prospective students but there will be no representation of that diverse student body if our faculty isn’t reflecting our students, or what the university is preaching in appeal to diversity. The diverse population needs more role models to represent the underrepresented which needs to be all inclusive of every ethnic, racial and sexual background.

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