Black History Month is almost over, and I think it’s important to touch on the topic of inclusivity while we’re still in the month of February.
I spoke to Addi Cox, a first-year student here at Monmouth about how our college handles the concept of inclusivity. She had much to say about the topic, writing: “I think Monmouth does a pretty adequate job when it comes to inclusivity on campus. For it being such a small campus with such a diverse amount of students it’s pretty necessary to make attempts to have everyone feel welcome. Some of the better, smaller things I’ve noticed is that Monmouth hosts a lot of events centered around race throughout the year (not just during black history month) and does a really nice job of including work/events hosted by intellectuals of color which I think is super important for minority students to identify with. Overall, I think Monmouth is pretty aware of the fact that a good portion of their students are exchange students/minorities and that it’s important for everyone to feel comfortable on a predominantly white campus.”
But Addi also noted that “not all attempts at inclusivity seem 100% organic or genuine. I think it’s worth recognizing that there are very few minority professors/authority figures which isn’t something that fully detracts from the inclusivity on campus but it is something that nearly every student I’ve talked to, minority or otherwise, has noticed. This obviously could just be a result of the small staff/campus size but it’s at an odd disproportion to the amount of minority students on campus.”
I’m so glad I got to talk to Addi because she brings up several important points on the topic of inclusivity, including representation on campus. I also interviewed Kasha Appleton, who says, “Black students should be highlighted outside of black history month. There are so many minority students doing great things. Monmouth needs to do better at having productive conversations involving race issues and one of the ways I think they can do that is by highlighting minority student voices and not suppressing them with the notion that “we are a family” or we are “all scots” because the truth is there are many people on this campus who don’t feel a part of the Monmouth family and that’s what we need to fix.” Kasha brings up a very good point about supporting students all year, not just for one month. During Black History Month, there is more of a focus on black representation and issues that black students face, but discussion shouldn’t end there and shouldn’t be trivialized.
Last year, there was a meeting surrounding some issues surrounding staff and inclusivity. The meeting was absolutely full of students, but it seems we are still waiting for progress to be made toward confronting the issue of inclusivity from all faculty members and the environment which we cultivate on campus.
Caroline King – Staff Writer