Editorial: Keep the diversity, inclusivity evolution going on campus

We’ve seen significant strides in the past few years toward a more diverse and inclusive campus. Initiatives such as Diversity 360, the Menstrual Health Task Force and the creation of the Undergraduate Diversity Collaborative (UDC) are all noteworthy steps in the right direction.

Recently, Case Western Reserve University won the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from the magazine, “INSIGHT Into Diversity.” (Check out our recent news report on the HEED Award.)

If we as a campus want to continue on that trajectory, we must view this award as more than just a pat on the back. It is a reminder that the CWRU community has not gotten where it is today by complacency; student organizations have done an excellent job of working with the university to create a framework for a more inclusive environment.

As the administration keeps improving its diversity efforts, it is still up to us, the students, to work actively within our community to fill out this framework.

We should note that diversity itself is contextually based. There are 26 different cultural and diversity organizations under the UDC. That is at least 26 distinct groups of individuals who represent minority and/or underprivileged populations on CWRU’s campus. Consider that there are even more sub-populations, or even just individuals, who are not represented by these groups, and the true extent of diversity at CWRU becomes even more apparent.

Each and every one of these groups and individuals has their own specific social, emotional and academic needs that may differ from those of the majority. To become a more culturally aware university, we must recognize these needs and work to meet them. With so many different groups, it is clear that there is still work to be done, and there will be for a while.

With diversity and inclusion, the ultimate goal is not to satisfy some metric. The ultimate goal is to create and maintain a community of caring, well-informed and culturally mindful individuals who are able to recognize and vocalize concerns, and work together to solve problems.

There is still room for improvement in areas such as providing resources for students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, making sure that our campus is a safe space for students regardless of their immigration status or gender identity and ensuring that all buildings on campus are accessible to students with disabilities.

The Trump administration’s work does affect those at CWRU. Consider our campus’ reaction to his recent order to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. (Read more about the rally against his decision in our news coverage.)

UDC and the Undergraduate Student Government must work with the university to keep diversity awareness as one of CWRU’s top priorities. There may be a long road ahead, with many more potential problems posed by Trump’s policies.

Let’s keep moving in the right direction.