Collaboration for diversity needed

Talk of campus diversity has come to the forefront at the University of Minnesota in recent weeks following a line of criticism regarding how the school recruits and retains people of color.

The Minnesota Daily recently reported that the student group Whose Diversity? wrote to University President Eric Kaler, requesting to meet and discuss how to make the campus more inclusive. Kaler agreed to do so and said it seems like he’s “on the same side” as Whose Diversity?

However, it’s worth noting the adversarial tone Whose Diversity? used in its letter and other public communications in which it has been critical of how the University recruits, retains and increases the number of people from diverse backgrounds.

The group threatened to “take action” if Kaler didn’t respond, though it’s unclear what that action would’ve been. Whose Diversity? also labels its goals and wishes as “demands.”

At the same time, it’s clear that the University has a diversity problem and that the issues Whose Diversity? is raising are valid.

It’s a positive step that Whose Diversity? is meeting with Kaler. However, compromise from the two apparent “sides” will be crucial if any changes are to happen.

Preserving the status quo — in which the University’s efforts to improve diversity and inclusivity on campus are met mostly by criticism — accomplishes nothing. All players involved in the debate need to find common ground and look only toward making positive changes for the future.