On April 18, Butler University’s Office of Student Affairs released the numbers from its diversity survey.
The data revealed that most Butler students do not believe the school is very diverse.
Specifically, 71 percent of students of color and/or gay and lesbian students thought this.
If students, faculty and staff want to see a more inclusive university, everyone needs to take responsibility and not simply “encourage” diversity.
Students of diverse backgrounds are uniquely positioned to see this in action.
Each member of the community—from administrators to students—must take action to see a more respectful, diverse community at Butler.
Butler’s public relations materials talk about encouraging a worldview that considers other cultures and perspectives equal.
The community should not take these statistics negatively though.
Whether students think so or not, the university is not very diverse.
When respondents see that, the community demonstrates self-awareness.
And that means we have the opportunity to improve.
The university may indeed want to see more diversity.
But when the community stays relatively the same, perhaps inclination is not enough.
Everyone needs to take the commitment to diversity beyond simply tolerating others or wanting more obvious examples of multicultural students.
In other words, Butler and the people who make up the university all need to improve the school with direct action.
That starts with little gestures.
The university should consider converting some of the existing restrooms on campus into gender-neutral ones.
Any sort of deliberate move to include people of differing backgrounds speaks louder than mission statements do.
The university needs to find ways to work with the community and make Butler less of an island.
The bubble should not have such tough boundaries.
But a big part of responsibility falls on every student as well—myself included.
Students answered their surveys by saying that as few as 28 percent participate in diversity events.
This is unacceptable, especially when so many respondents say they want to see more diversity.
All of us, need to get involved.
Attend the events and take advantage of all the programs Butler offers.
Our community demonstrates over and over again that philanthropy and fundraisers are important.
Butler students should channel that energy to improve things close to home as well.
A more inclusive community makes everyone stronger.
And the events themselves help allies and activists unite over their common goals.
Any effort to build community support is better than nothing.
So the students must take advantage of the groups and events on campus.
And the university absolutely must do its part to include people of diverse backgrounds through accessible facilities and programs.