Starting ‘fresh’ : Preaching diversity beginning with freshmen

Steve Nicastro

Last March, the discovery of a racial slur written on the wall outside of a minority student’s dorm caused outrage in our community. This semester, on the morning of Aug. 28, a racial slur was found on another minority student’s dry erase board, and more recently three racial slurs aimed at African American students were found on separate doors in Commons. The incidents have left many students pondering what the administration has done to prevent racism, as students have come up with some ideas of their own.

“The school could have definitely reacted better to the first incident this year,” said Winton Brown, a junior journalism major. “I feel like the administration doesn’t care enough about preventing things like this from happening.”

Brown thinks diversifying the school is a big first step toward a more accepting student body.

“There’s no doubt that we need to diversify the school,” Brown said. “That’s the first step. If we diversify, then the community might be more accepting of minorities and different racial backgrounds.”

Anastacia Tucker, president of the Black Student Union, said the University should require freshmen to take part in classes on race and diversity during orientation. All three incidents in the past year have occurred in freshman dorms.

“I have been pitching an idea to the administration that would require incoming freshmen to participate in a discussion panel with professors and upperclassmen,” Tucker said. “We need to get the message across to everyone that racism is not accepted here.”

“Students come here with their own beliefs and ideologies, and may not know what is acceptable and what is not,” she said.

Senior Gary Chan agreed. “It would show that Quinnipiac does not tolerate any racial bigotry, whatsoever,” he said.

QU 101 is another avenue where some believe students could learn about racial tolerance.

“QU 101 classes could add certain criteria which would teach students about racial tolerance, and what is not accepted,” said Tyrone Black, the director of multicultural affairs.

Black suggested that the class would teach African American history but could also cover a broad range of topics.

“The class could teach the history of African Americans,” Black said. “But it can also be a multicultural experience and expose students to different cultures and beliefs they previously may have not known or cared about.”

Brown agreed with Black’s ideas.

“It would work,” Brown said. “Freshmen would be forced to learn about different cultures and belief systems for their class and they might find the topics interesting.”

When asked what else the school can do, Black agreed with others that diversifying the student body should be one of the school’s main focuses.

“It’s a major step to diversify the school ethnically,” Black said.

One student felt the same, and was not surprised when told that Quinnipiac was recently ranked as the No. 19 most homogenous student body in the country, according to The Princeton Review.

“I’m not surprised. Everyone here is the same,” junior Todd Wolak said. “Diversity is definitely needed.”

Another student shared similar feelings, but also agreed with Tucker’s plans to educate freshmen.

“Diversifying the student body would be a huge step in the right direction,” junior Thomas Hubany said. “However I think since all incidents happened in freshman dorms, freshmen are the ones who should be targeted.”