Editorial: Will a Diversity Plan solve our problems?

Some may argue that one of the main problems with our University is the lack of diversity. But what exactly does diversity mean? Recently, all students received an email about The Bucknell Five-Year 2014-2019 Diversity Plan from University President John Bravman. According to the Diversity Plan, “the concept of diversity means different things to different people and evokes a wide range of responses. For some, 
the word is reflective of the ideal of how things ought to be 
in a pluralistic society. For others, diversity is so broad and general that it seems to have no meaning. Still others believe diversity signals a narrow version of identity politics or political correctness.”

Clearly, saying that our University has a diversity problem could mean one of many things. It could mean diversity based on ethnicity or race, diversity of thought, diversity of backgrounds, or whatever diversity means based on one’s own perspective and definition. It finally seems that our University administrators and faculty have a strong, complete vision for how to enhance the diversity–in all aspects–that already exists here and bring more diversity to our campus community.

The four main goals of the Diversity Plan include improving the diversity of our University faculty, staff, and students through various recruiting practices and outreach plans; developing our campus climate to accept diversity as a core value enacted by all members of the campus community through various educational opportunities and orientations; enhancing all students’ knowledge of diversity and diverse experiences through campaigns and classroom education programs; and establishing a stronger culture of diversity accountability and collaboration through assessment strategies. There is no doubt that this Diversity Plan reads well, is very detailed, and provides various solutions to solving issues about diversity, but will students’ mindsets about diversity change when the Diversity Plan becomes ingrained in the University’s culture? Will some of the ignorance about different backgrounds, ethnicities, and experiences go away when these new plans and programs are implemented?

Hopefully, the answer to all of this is yes. In a world where we should co-exist rather than focus on the color of someone’s skin, the background they come from, or the accent with which they speak, it’s time that our University puts diversity at the forefront. In our vastly shrinking world, the University’s new Diversity Plan is commendable and outlines a strong plan moving forward. It is time for the “Bucknell bubble” to mimic the real world: a world in which everyone, from all different backgrounds, of all ethnicities, and who all have different perspectives and have lived through a spectrum of experiences interact with one another. While many people who attend our University are from similar geographical areas, it is exciting to hear about the prospect of new recruiting practices to attract people from all over the world to our institution. Right now, it’s idealistic to assume that the Diversity Plan will change our campus community’s attitude towards diversity and difference; it is entirely up to students, faculty, and staff to carry out these ideals set in print. Our world is getting smaller, but the bubble that we live in isn’t. The time has come to align with these new plans that will hopefully strengthen acceptance, difference, and diversity … in all forms of the definition.

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