Letter to the Editor: Student invites writer to ‘expand views on diversity’

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By Letter to the Editor

This is in response to Jared Mondschien’s article that appeared in the October 21 issue of the Concordiensis.

I am appalled that he had the audacity to write such an offensive piece about diversity on campus. I have never felt so disrespected and unwelcome at a place before, especially by a person who has only been present on campus for eight weeks.

As a “minority” or an “underrepresented” student that has been at Union College for three years, I feel as though he did not have enough information and data to believe that his facts were accurate enough to be a voice of reason when it comes to such a sensitive issue.

I must admit that I agree with you when you say there is a lack of diversity on campus. It is something I saw before I attended and  is an issue Union does not try to hide. However, the manner in which you approached it was inappropriate; it essentially did more harm than good.

Secondly, your whole deal about refusing to use the term “African-American” represents a lack of knowledge. To numerous people who fall under the category of Black /African-American, there is a distinction between the two.

African-American, under simple terms, refers to a person who has origins or roots in Africa. Black, on the other hand, refers to those from the African diaspora (the Caribbean, Brazil, the Middle East, etc.) who have skin colors that fall in between light brown and black, for lack of a better description. Realize that African-American does not necessarily mean black and black does not necessarily mean African-American.

Thirdly, Union is too expensive, no matter what one’s race is. That is the consequence of attending a prestigious, liberal arts school. I assure you that there are Caucasian students, or shall I say “European-Americans,” who cannot afford to attend due to the $52,329 price tag. It is not a race issue but simply an economic issue. I don’t know about your family, but the majority of American families have been severely hit by the recession.

In addition, you stated that they were flocking in larger numbers to lower institutions (in name and cost) such as SUNY Albany. Yes, these institutions have higher percentages of minorities. But did you ever stop to think that their percentages are higher than ours due to the fact that they have more people? Though, by making this point, you inadvertently stated that minorities can only strive to attend lesser known or less prestigious institutions. How is that promoting diversity?

Fourthly, what evidence supports your assertion that there exists a belief that Union is too good of a school for minorities? People like you are what cause them not to attend our institution.

I will let it be known that when I graduated high school in 2008, I had a 3.75 GPA and was number 25 out of my graduating class of 380 students. So is Union still too good for me?! You are putting yourself on a pedestal and looking down upon minorities who decided not to attend this school.

Lastly, you talk about sports. Not every minority intends to go to college based on a sports scholarship! And have you taken a look at our football team lately? I see a good amount of minorities there and they do not have sports scholarships.

We should not attribute the lack of minorities on campus to their “attraction” to D1 sports because they are more exciting to watch. They may seem more exciting because more people attend the games, which is heavily due to school population and school spirit.

You make the “majority” appear as though they cannot excel or perform well in sports in comparison to the minority population. Do you not see how this fell into stereotypes that minorities on this campus are working so ever hard to eradicate?

Now I know our school is not diverse. I see it everyday. But all we need is our intelligence and determination to attend Union and remain here. However, I just have to ask, when was the last time you attended a Black Student Union (BSU), Circulo Estudiantil Latino Americano (CELA), Black Law Student Association (BLSA), Spanish Club, UNITAS, Asian Student Association (ASU), or Shakti event or meeting?

There was so much time spent on researching our lack of representation through statistics on the Union website, that you failed to look at the Cultural Clubs and Organization page.

You also failed to ask or interview other students, faculty and staff to assess their opinions on the issue at hand.  As a member of three of the clubs aforementioned, I would love to extend an invitation to any of our events. Maybe when you see these organizations in action you will think twice about the way you approach the issue at hand.

And since this is an opinion article, my opinion of your statements is that they are limited of information and lack understanding.  Please take the next four years as an opportunity to expand your views on diversity and to realize the negative impact you have caused by writing this article.

Naika JosephClass of 2012

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