Diversity at Union: where?

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By Jared Mondschein

I am a freshman; I’m not afraid to admit it. I know I have not been around campus long enough to fully understand everything that goes on, but I feel as if I know a solid majority. I know which fraternities to go to, which ones to avoid, which professors I like, and which ones I do not.

However, one thing that sticks out to me is the severe lack of diversity here at Union. I am not talking about gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, or national origin here; I am talking about race.  To me, there just are not many blacks, Asians, or Hispanics here. (I am not going to call blacks ‘African-Americans’ because no one ever calls me ‘European-American.’ Screw political correctness.)

According to the Union College website, the campus is 3% black, 7% Asian, and 5% Hispanic. That means that the rest of campus, 85% of it, either refuses to identify themselves or is white. So based on the amount of students the school’s website says we have, Union has 66 blacks, 154 Asians, 115 Hispanics, and 1,865 whites/other. Do those numbers really declare diversity?

Those numbers are truly reflected in the classroom and on the fields. My class with the most non-whites is my chemistry class, which has about seven non-whites out of about forty students. My freshman preceptorial and my political science class are 100% white, as well as the men’s rugby team on which I play. At least the girl’s rugby team has some blacks on the roster.

So why aren’t minorities attracted to Union College? Let’s explore some possibilities:

1. It’s too expensive

Full tuition plus room and board at Union College is a whopping $52,329. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, whites earn an average of $845/week, while blacks earn an average of $621/week, and Hispanics earn $569/week. While this might explain why black and Hispanics avoid this school, it does not explain Asians, as they earn an average of $952/week, even more than whites.

In addition, Union College offers more than $32 million in scholarships each year, and more than $40 million in financial aid. However, other schools in the region that start off with much lower tuitions have a higher percent of minorities; SUNY Albany, which has in-state costs of about $17,000 and out-of-state costs of about $26,000, lists 11% black, 11% Hispanic, and 8% Asian.

2. It’s too good of a school

According to the website  www.collegeboard.com, 99% of Union College students were in the top half of their high school class, with 58% graduating in the top tenth. Other schools in the region with the same or higher statistics also have few minorities.

For example, Colgate University’s freshman class has 77% of students that were in the top 10% of their high school graduating class. Not coincidentally, Colgate also has 5% Asians, 6% Hispanics, and 5% blacks.

3. The majority of sports are Division 3

Every single varsity sport at Union College plays in the NCAA Division 3, except for men’s and women’s ice hockey, which is historically a white sport. As a consequence of playing in Division 3, Union is not allowed to offer athletic scholarships to incoming athletes, a lot of whom are minorities. If another school is offering a full ride to play a sport, why should they go here?

In addition to playing the sports, Division 3 sports are not as exciting to watch, nor as competitive, as Division 1.

The reasons listed above are certainly not the only possible causes for the lack of diversity here at Union College, just the ones that I feel have the largest effect on it. I know I sound pretty racist in the comments above, but I have to call it as I see it.

If you have a different opinion on why our school is not as diverse as others or you disagree with me and believe that Union is a diverse institution, then send a letter to my editor. Let me know. Better yet, do something about it. Start a club, a program, or a community outreach center aimed at increasing the amount of minority students here at Union College.

Jared Mondschein ’14

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