Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, June 22, 2024

No one can sit out diversity discussion

Last week, the university provoked another series of racial tensions across campus. Following an e-mail sent to several UW-Madison minority student organizations from the office of the Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Climate, many students were incensed at the administration's lack of tact.

The e-mail, which enticed members of these student organizations to come to a promotional photo shoot with an offer of bagels and coffee, was stupid and insensitive. And, the outcry following the e-mail exposed the university's problems with diversity on a larger-scale. It was the culmination of several years of racial issues at UW-Madison, and it is the responsibility of not just the administration but everybody at this university to work to fix these current problems.

As far as the administration is concerned, they need to take on a leadership role. The e-mail itself, along with much of the administration's interaction with minorities, is not rooted in malice, but stems from the ill-advised belief that an image of diversity is an acceptable alternative to actual diversity. They need to expand efforts to educate high schoolers about financial aid opportunities available, as far too many students see the UW-Madison's in-state $9,000 price tag and deem the university unattainable. In addition, more effort must be made to take advantage of the Wisconsin Idea to reduce racial prejudice and economic disparity throughout the state, as diversity at UW-Madison begins with Wisconsin.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Daily Cardinal delivered to your inbox

This hardly means that white students are removed from responsibility, however. On the contrary, majority students need to take a much greater responsibility than they have in the past. White students need to make an effort equal to that made by members of MEChA, Multicultural Student Coalition and other advocacy groups. It is not good enough for diversity forums to feature just one or two token white faces. This is a conversation that everyone needs to participate in and that means more effort from all student groups—including The Daily Cardinal. Further action is required from ASM as representatives of the student body, particularly when it comes to networking with minority groups and attending diversity events. Passively waiting for others to solve this campus' diversity issues will only lead to stagnation.

At the same time, it is important for minority advocacy groups to shape an argument that welcomes students who want to work with them, instead of taking an adversarial approach that treats the administration and white students like the enemy. A sign that says ""Biddy = racist"" does not help the cause of diversity, nor do a wealth of combative Internet comments. A better approach would be efforts such as MEChA member Dakota Alcantara-Camacho's letter to the editor of The Badger Herald, which clearly and effectively laid out his particular concerns with the state of race relations on campus while bringing significant attention to the issue.

Diversity requires all corners of the university coming together, such as at events like FaReal Talk Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Student Activity Center. The alternative is keeping the status quo—and that choice is beneficial to no one.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Daily Cardinal has been covering the University and Madison community since 1892. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Daily Cardinal