In the past two years, the university has created two task forces that address issues involving the LGBT community and the hiring of more black faculty.
These task forces are linked in their efforts to promote the diversity at the University of Miami. The campus has ranked in the top 10 lists for its variety of cultures and perspectives and was even named the most diverse school by The Princeton Review in 2010.
These task forces will ultimately be successful if students continue to be at the heart of every decision and initiative.
For example, the LGBT task force surveyed students in spring 2014 and found surprising results about their experiences. It is shocking that about 30 percent of self-identified LGBT students do not feel safe at UM – a place that prides itself on being diverse. Another 35 percent of self-identified LGBT students have experienced negative or insulting comments because of their sexual orientation.
Others say they have never had a class taught by a black professor throughout their undergraduate careers. While the low number of black faculty is not exclusive to UM, the creation of a task force could not have come at a more opportune time.
Diversity should be a two-way street – an exchange of ideas and perspectives different from one’s own background, whether that falls along racial, religious or cultural lines.
An administration and staff that represents many backgrounds can best offer additional insight for the students who relate to them.
A collection of diverse voices drives a university experience more than any philosophy or engineering class.
Concerted efforts to increase diversity should not stop at arbitrary rankings. Diversity must be applied so that students are better equipped to work in a globalized society.
We are lucky to be a part of a campus where people come from all over the United States and abroad. Given the opportunities for intercultural interaction that surrounds us, we are as much to blame for any intolerance that undermines the goals of a well-rounded undergraduate education.
It’s up to students to maintain an open-minded attitude. Although it can seem overwhelming, organization tables at the UC breezeway make themselves seen and heard. Try talking to unfamiliar organizations and learn as much as you can from them.
As President Donna E. Shalala steps down after this semester, her successor will be charged with perpetuating the work of highlighting UM’s best and most complicated asset.
Let’s show the next president that diversity does not stop at The Princeton Review list. Diversity is defined by our interactions and experiences.
Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.