Finals Tab: Moving forward with a new definition of diversity

Alli Kolick

There has been a lot happening on campus this last semester when it comes to diversity. The annual ISCORE conference was held, the diversity statement for the university has been revised, and there is a constant discussion going on about how to make this campus more diverse.

During multiple interviews with faculty, staff, and students, pride was never an issue when it came to dealing with matters of diversity. Obviously Iowa State University’s system isn’t perfect however there was never a matter where someone didn’t see a solution or room for growth and progress.

This year, in April, a new diversity statement was approved and will be in effect for the upcoming fall semester. Compared to the previous statement, the new one expands more on how diversity impacts the campus

Our institutional definition of diversity was approved by President Geoffroy in 2006:

ISU defines diversity as that quality of its physical, social, cultural and intellectual environment which embraces the rich difference within the multiplicity of human expression and characteristics including: Age, Cultural, Ethnicity, Gender Identification and Presentation, Language and Linguistic Ability, Physical Ability and Quality, Race, Religion, Sexual Orientation, and Socioeconomic Status.

Approved in April, 2011 by President Geoffroy:

Iowa State University is a diverse community of people of all genders, ages, cultures, races, religions, sexual orientations, socio-economic backgrounds, and abilities.

Iowa State celebrates and advances diversity by creating a safe place in which people can express themselves freely and share their unique talents. This diversity of talents enriches our campus by fueling creativity, innovation, and success.

Diversity encompasses acceptance and respect by fostering an environment of inclusion that moves beyond simple tolerance to recognizing the richness in individual identities of people.

Diversity, therefore, is an active process that requires our continuous dedication to promote the success of present and future generations of students, faculty, and staff.

In comparison, the new diversity statement is more articulate in what diversity is as well as its purpose at Iowa State University.

However not all schools in Iowa appear to view diversity at the same level of importance as ISU does, based solely on appearance of information on their websites as well as their diversity statements.

Grinnell College, for example, has a lengthy statement on diversity and the role it plays in their campus environment. While they recognize that they are currently lacking the diversity levels that they wish to have, as they hope a more multicultural campus would improve their academic lives, they do not clearly define what diversity means and in which ways diversity is a positive asset to their college.

The current statement at University of Northern Iowa, is similar to the one approved for ISU by President Geoffroy in 2006. It lists the different categories of diversity, a common trend with universities.

Throughout Iowa, both in the private and public universities, diversity plays a role in the many different ways of campus life. At Iowa State, diversity rates are constantly climbing and many of the student, faculty, and staff felt that it was time for a change.