Diversity week misses the point

Leaders at the University of Minnesota hosted what they dubbed the campus’s first “diversity week” last Monday through Friday.

The week aimed to celebrate what campus leaders are already doing to diversify the campus and think of new ways to make the University more welcoming for all students.

While these are worthwhile conversations, they seem to be missing one of the main facets of creating a diverse campus: recruiting a wider variety of students.

Discussions of campus diversity focus on the fact that the student body is 67 percent white and how that statistic affects the University. But by focusing on how we can change things in the short term, we neglect to make larger changes for the future.

If the University truly wants to make its student body more diverse, it must begin to do so at the recruiting level — particularly by targeting undergraduates.

One way to diversify could be to focus more resources on recruiting students from north Minneapolis, rather than targeting the most promising students across the country.

The General College’s shuttering in 2005 and the upcoming closure of the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning aren’t positive signals that the University is taking steps to increase diversity among its undergraduate population — both of these institutions were popular access points for low-income students and students of color.

We encourage the University to put more resources into recruitment of diverse students and to provide opportunities for them to get into this increasingly selective school. If more students are sufficiently represented on campus, that will mean a more welcoming environment for all.