Students skip out on Race 101

Tim Horneman

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Senior Veronica Leshok was the moderator of the event, which began with senior Quinton Cotton asking the audience to complete a questionairre which asked, for example, what cultural group was identified with hip-hop culture and rap CDs. After audience members completed the questions, Cotton talked about how questions such as these demonstrated stereotypes and prejudices.

“Your beliefs shape who you are and everything around you,” he said.

Provost Madeline Wake then gave a short presentation on Marquette’s attempts to increase diversity on campus. She said she had pushed more for diversity programs after talking with some new students whose roommates had asked for a room change after seeing them for the first time. She listed many of the efforts, which included adding black and Hispanic admissions counselors to the Office of Admissions. Still, she said she was not happy with progress so far, especially with the recent revelations that the percentage of minority students at Marquette had decreased significantly.

“The most important thing is that we are trying (to increase diversity), but we have fallen down,” Wake said.

She also spoke on the attempts to create a more diverse faculty, which had so far not done as well as she hoped.

After Wake finished, a panel of students from diverse backgrounds — from Arab to Filipino — discussed racial issues on campus. Senior Lina Al-Bitar, the president of the Arab Student Association, said now that more people are aware of people of Arab descent, they wanted to ask her more questions.

“But there’s a lot of ignorance on who we are,” she said.

Junior Tyanna Clayton-Mallett, a member of the Black Student Council and the African Student Association, said Marquette has done a good job dealing with racial issues. Still, she said faculty should be more involved in the discussion. She admitted she had thoughts of leaving Marquette, but she did not.

“Because I have a support network (of professors and students), it has made all the difference,” she said.

While participants in the forum considered the evening a success, there was noticeable disappointment in the lack of student attendance at the event.

“I wish that there were more (people here),” Wake said.

Leshok agreed.

“The students need to hear this,” she said. “The people who need to hear this aren’t here, so it’s up to those who are here to build dialogue.”

Cotton also expressed strong disappointment with the attendance.

“If diversity is a priority, more people would be here,” he said. He credited Wake with appearing, saying that her presence showed that “the university takes the issue (of racism) seriously.”

However, he said he was strongly concerned that nothing would come out of the events of the night.

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