Lack of diversity, no lack of concern

By on February 1, 2006

A Caucasian female is walking down Dorm Road. On her left is Kevin Jolley, an African American junior sociology major and two other African American players on the basketball team. She crosses the street apparently to avoid them.

“That girl crossed the street not because she was afraid of us, but because she wasn’t sure what to say, if she should say anything or even what would happen if she did say something,” Jolley said.

Jolley grew up in an inner city neighborhood and feels that it has affected his college


“When first arriving at Quinnipiac, I felt out of place because I was not use to being around people from different backgrounds,” Jolley said. “It took a lot of getting used to.”

Diversity on campus has been an issue for many years. The percentage of student diversity on campus is about 9%, which is an increase from previous years. The university has started taking steps to increase diversity, including hiring Tyrone Black, director of multicultural affairs. Improvements have been seen in recruitment and retention.

Students are divided on this issue. One side feels that diversity is a major issue, while the other does not recognize the problem at all.

“I don’t feel that I am aware of a diversity issue on campus because I did not have a diverse high school experience,” Robert Aliano, a freshman undeclared liberal arts major, said.

Matthew Cariani, a sophomore media production major, has similar feelings.

“I have never really noticed a diversity issue on campus if there is an issue,” Cariani said. “My high school was mostly Caucasians students, just like Quinnipiac.”

Victoria Lucas, a sohpomore criminal justice major of West Indian heritage, knows that diversity on campus could improve. However, she feels she is a strong enough woman to deal with it.

“The issue of diversity was something that I was prepared for when choosing to come to Quinnipiac,” Lucas said.

Lucas grew up in a high school where 33% of the school was African American, so college has been a very different experience for her.

“Being from New York City caused me to have an initial shock when looking at Quinnipiac’s diversity,” Lucas said.

For Elisa Agosto, a Puerto Rican sophomore journalism major, diversity is a major issue. She feels she is not being prepared for the outside world.

“With such little diversity on campus, I feel that we are in a bubble of some sort, which does not prepare us for what we are going to face in the real world,” Agosto said.

Joan Isaac Mohr, vice president and dean of admissions, said, “We do believe it is important to have a student body that is diverse. The university hired [Tyrone] Black as the director of multicultural affairs. Having him here will help us a great deal with the issue of diversity.”

Arriving last September, Black has already made changes.

“I am here as an educator for those who are students of color to teach them their heritage, history, and levels of contribution they have,” Black said. “I am also here to help non-students of color to look at the world in a different scope.”

Black realizes that diversity on campus is very low and he is here to help the university increase it.

“I am not smiling about the percentage of diversity on campus but we can only go up from here,” Black said.

Black feels that diversity is not always looked at as a reality. He said he is here to give that sense of reality to the students and the faculty.

“The intensity about the issue has grown and now we just need to maintain it and awesome things will come in our future,” Black said.


About Alicia Staffa