Race has become a predominant topic of discussion in the wake of Diversity and Inclusion Week as well as the recent Snapchat incident, in which a Quinnipiac student was depicted wearing a facial mask that mimicked blackface.
Sophomore computer information systems major Naomi Robinson, a student who was present at a group rally on Sept. 24 protesting the Snapchat incident, said she believes that Quinnipiac is not diverse.
“This campus is made up of mostly white people,” Robinson said. “And they all seem to think the same way towards some issues. They have not been exposed to different types of diversity, and they all have their own cliques.”
Over the past four years, the overall student population has increased, according to the fall enrollment statistics provided by University Registrar Joshua Berry. In addition, there was an increase in the number of students of color.
In the fall semester of 2015, there was a total of 9,654 students enrolled. This number includes undergraduates, graduates and both part-time and full-time students.
The largest demographic was white students. Of the 9,654 student population, 7,201 students identified themselves as Caucasian. The second largest population was black or African-American students, with 494 students.
Several other ethnic groups are present at Quinnipiac including students who identified as Asian, Hispanic, American Indian or Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. Overall, in combination with the number of African-American students, students of color made up 21.9 percent of the student population in 2015.
Fall 2014 enrollment contained a student population of 9,035 students with 21.5 percent self-identified as people of color. In 2013, the population experienced another decrease. The student body then was compromised to 8,803 students. People of color made up 19.5 percent of the population.
Dating back to 2012, there was a total of 8,614 students enrolled. In alignment with the 2015 enrollment, the Caucasian demographic made up the majority of the student population with 6,581 students self-identified as white. Following the same pattern, African-American students made up the second largest population with 379 students. In sum, the students of color made up 18.9 percent of the student population.
Robinson believes this trend does not signify an increase in diversity, but rather the presence of colored students has remained stagnant.
“Yes, we see an increase in the percentages [of colored students], but we also see an increase in the amount of people that go here,” Robinson said. “Which means the ratio hasn’t changed much. They make it look as though the percentages have gone up is a good thing, but in reality it is still the same.”
When asked whether or not racial diversity at Quinnipiac was increasing or if the overall population was merely increasing, Associate Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Diane Ariza claimed it was a combination of the two.
“I think the answer is both,” Ariza said. “For example, in 2014, the university experienced a dip in overall undergraduate first-year enrollment, but the percentage of underrepresented students was higher than other years. If you look at 2012, 2013 and 2015, the percentages of UR [underrepresented] students hover around 21-24 percent.”
Noting the distinct Caucasian majority on campus, Ariza claims that this isn’t a trend specific to Quinnipiac, but a reality for many college campuses.
“QU has always been a predominantly white campus like many regional college campuses in the NE [North East],” Ariza said. “This is not a trend. This is a reality of the makeup of universities and colleges. Actually, the trend has been seeing the number of UR students increase every year. That is very different than what the campus experienced 10 [or] 15 years ago.”
When looking at the major disparity between the Caucasian and people of color populations, Ariza stated that there are several reasons for the clear white majority.
According to Ariza, more white students have the financial capability to pay full tuition and room and board when compared to the families of underrepresented students, according to Ariza. In addition, white students were graduating from high school at a higher rate. Ariza also stated that when looking at the disparity between the two groups, students should look at the historical component of the issue.
“For the longest time, there were university policies that did not admit students of diverse backgrounds,” Ariza said. “Today, the demographics of our student graduates has changed significantly. Many more students of color graduating from high schools. Also, universities and colleges such as QU have been more aggressive in their recruitment strategies to increase the student population by offering more scholarships to attend QU. ”