Campus not as culturally diverse as it proclaims

Enough about America. What about the rest of the world?

If someone were to peruse UM’s main brochure, one of the first sentences they would encounter says, “The influx of different ethnic traditions, languages and experiences at the University of Miami gives our students the rare opportunity to gain a truly global experience.”

It is true that many international students attend UM, but is the culture felt on campus as diverse as the promotions claim? Students, whatever their heritage, seem to think that it is not.

Yes, various clubs exist for assorted cultures. They range from the African Students Union to the Yansin Qigong Club, but these clubs don’t transfer into a pervasive feel of the international atmosphere.

According to more than one international student, the school is steeped in Americana. Our focus on the September 11 attacks was primarily on the American citizens killed in the towers, and murals on campus depicted New York City. That’s all respectable and commendable, but I didn’t hear about the 170 international people who were killed.

Our classes, at least on a freshman 100-level, are called things like “Mass Communication in Society.” American society. This makes sense considering we are in America, but I still feel that international students aren’t being as recognized as the University claims.

International students aren’t the only ones who agree. So how can we attempt to mollify this division? First, maybe the school could sponsor a gigantic cultural fair. It is true that this randomly occurs, but it’s usually just one club at a time.

If a huge culture fair occurred, attendance rates would be high (food could be the centerpiece) and international students could take pride in their traditions. We’ve also heard things like “Gay101” and “Race101,” so why not have a “Culture101,” where people from various origins could talk? The school may consist of students from all over the globe, but I think it would be positive to focus on them, instead of America, a little more.

Dara Solomon is a freshman majoring in print journalism.

October 1, 2002


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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