Give Us Your Culturally Diverse

Despite the cultural mixing pot of students sitting in the seats of our lecture halls, the UC system is worried that there is not enough diversity in the front of the classroom — our instructors.

On the agenda for the recent UC Regents meeting was the concept of online education, but also the familiar issue of diversity — something that the UC Board of Regents had vowed to bring in 2007 with the adoption of the University of California Diversity Statement as policy. Not much has changed since that time, and if anything, things look a bit bleak since budget cuts have driven diversity out of the schools.

It’s an issue that we face as students quarter after quarter: the minorities aren’t represented. There aren’t professors like us here, and those that are increasingly become fewer and farther between.

Although the problem is complex, with the question of how to properly represent people of all cultural and social backgrounds, things can be answered by the UC Regents practicing what they preach — not cutting down on diversity here on campus.

Now we’re not talking about the people, but the majors that have lost their funding. It has become an issue of ignorance that people, those in charge of delegating funds, do not realize the importance of the humanities and the arts.

Fact: We, the UC’s, are research universities.
Fiction: The humanities and arts don’t provide research.

Reading ancient texts and comparing them to modern novels — that’s research. Putting together dances through the inspiration of native cultural traditions — that’s research.

Obviously the campus is driven largely by the accomplishments of the sciences, who discover and publish constantly, but that does not justify minimizing the importance of the humanities and arts. Whole majors and departments are driven into exile — their importance shunned by a university that refuses to support them financially. For example, several language departments were consolidated recently and now remain only as programs under the blanket “European Studies” Department.

We as students need to embrace other cultures and perspectives to fully grow from this experience in college. We need to be guided by our instructors, learning to become Renaissance men and women in the process. But how can we expect to have these lessons in life if the schools allow some of the most important assets to walk out the door? Give us your culturally diverse, your exceptional, your huddled artists!

We need to embrace differences in order to embrace the lessons that we must learn. And it’s the job of our institutions to provide us with the people who can best teach us these lessons.

Rather than eliminating the diversity on campus, and driving humanities & arts into oblivion, our school and our students would benefit more by sharing the spoils — splitting the funds as opposed to cutting programs altogether.

Here’s a call-to-action that the Regents need to hear: quit with the cuts and bring back diversity. Sprinkle some funds here and there, and watch your students and your staff flourish as we bring the UC system into another Renaissance era.

Please send all comments to opinion@newuniversity.org. Include your name, year, and major.