Diversity Talks

Posted by on Feb 21, 2013 in Uncategorized | 5 comments

In my last post, I focused on the issue of diversity within college campuses . I brought up the issue of how diversity can be seen differently in various contexts such as the lack of diversity on a campus such as Penn State’s.  Some of the comments on my last post encouraged me to explore the various contexts in which diversity plays out around the country. Through some research I saw exactly what some teaching institutions in this country have to offer in terms of diversity. As I explained in my last post Penn State can be considered a Predominantly White University or PWI. There are also schools called HBCU’s or Historically Black Colleges and Universities that have a predominantly black population. The education at both types of institutions is the same but people may view what exactly you get out of attending these types of schools. Both of these types of universities are considered extremes of the spectrum and the students who attend them have various ideas about the experience one would receive by attending. The debate has raged on for years on which type of education is better. The ideal choice seems to be schools like Rutgers or Stanford that have the highest diversity ratings in the country with a 0.76. For comparison, Penn State has a diversity rating of 0.32. Ultimately I think that one school makes you appreciate the other. It’s like a “the grass is greener on the other side” situation. One isn’t really better than the other, it simply relies on perception.


HBCU Schools




Personally, I was encouraged to attend an HBCU but I decided not to because I know that the world is not only inhabited by black people so my university shouldn’t be like that. However, I also have friends who go here who would rather attend an HBCU simply for the experience of being around people with similar experiences. This brings up the information from Chapter 2 of Gastil’s PCD that people are more comfortable with people more like themselves. This begs the question; can we ever have a truly diverse society if we are fundamentally drawn to others like us? From a scientific standpoint, diversity is seen as a fundamental element between humans and a socio-ecosystem. We attend college to get us ready for the “real world”. It’s important to make diversity an important part of one’s life now before you enter into the workforce with a false sense of society. Diversity in an educational setting will ultimately foster diversity in a real setting.

Does a school’s lack of diversity cause certain problems for the institution? We all remember the heat that girls from the sorority Chi Omega came under for posing with racially insensitive signs and costumes. If the diverse on campus was more prominent, this situation might not have occurred simply for the reason that one is less likely to say something about a certain minority group they are surrounded by.Comment below on what you think!



  1. You bring up a lot of interesting issues here, Natalia. Since so few of us know much about HBCUs, I would have liked to see you spend more time talking about specific benefits of going to an instituion like that. How would it be different? What is there to gain?

    That being said, I really like your connection to the racism displayed by the Penn State sorority Halloween costumes. I think Matt is right that, were there a larger presence of Latino or Hispanic students on campus, they might have thought twice. But, I think Will is right, too, that our larger cultural influences also tend to make things like that seem “okay,” even when they’re not. I wonder if even a really diverse campus can escape the racism that is present in the world around it. What do you think?

  2. I am also writing about diversity in my Civic Issues blog, and race/ethnicity was the obvious topic that I had left out in my blogs. I felt that I didn’t have that strong feelings about the issue, and that I did not have that much to say regarding racial diversity, because so much has been written on the issue. I think this post really brings a new perspective to this issue, and its something that I never considered. For example, I never even considered an HBCU when I was applying to college. In fact, I didn’t even know which colleges were HBCUs until you pointed it out. I think that you are absolutely right about diversity as a solution, especially to issues such as the Chi Omega incident. The girls involved would definitely of thought twice about hosting this party if their was a larger Hispanic presence at Penn State. Lack of diversity, especially at Penn State, is still a problem that needs to be addressed. How we address it is for another Civic Issues blog (and politicians) to solve.

  3. I’ve always felt that diversity has played a major role in my life. I have grown up in a community where it is prominent and I have gotten used to it. So coming to Penn State was a bit of a culture shock for me, but I feel it can be about where you place yourself on campus. For instance, we are both Bunton-Waller Scholars. We have more of an opportunity to interact with diverse students if we wish. It is a matter of us taking the opportunity. I also feel that diversity is much more than race. I feel that there is also a financial diversity at Penn State that most people don’t think about. Yes, I feel that Penn State is pretty affluent overall. But one thing that we all share is that we are broke college students. Racially this University might be on the lower side of diversity, but I do not believe that should discourage people from coming or that it causes certain problems because of a lack of diversity. I think in the situation of the sorority on campus that dressed up on campus for Halloween it would probably have still happened if there more diversity on campus. A lot of people are Mexicans for Halloween and many costume shops sell that costume. What I think another question could be is, Would the punishment have been as severe if there were mexican women in the sorority or if this campus was more diverse? Or would everyone just take as a costume? Their real problem was the signs that they made. That was not okay haha But I dont know whether that stem from they way they grew up or the campus we live on now. What do you think?

  4. I think one of the most interesting things to see around a campus are diverse groups of friends just hanging out. However this is also something that I feel is far too rare. I’ve found out that people tend to hang out with people of the same race even if they were really friendly with people from other races. I have thought (like just in my head, not seriously) what it would be like to attend a historically black university just because it would be so different from what I experience here at Penn State. The social norm is that minorities tend to hang around a lot of white people so coming here isn’t that different, however it would definitely be interesting to see if there is any difference within African American colleges. Very interesting post!

  5. I think that diversity is important among Universities. I am writing my Civic Issues post about this too and have been saying that schools that have a lot of diversity are good because it gives students the opportunity to learn about other cultures and backgrounds. I feel that a school with no diversity is not prepping the students for the real world when they will have to face jobs with people of different races and ethnic backgrounds. They won’t feel as comfortable as students who went to schools with diversity. I am in complete agreement that we should attend schools that have diversity because it is important to have the students open to what is to come in their lives. Great post!

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