Photo illustration by Andoni Flores and Peter Caty

Photo illustration by Andoni Flores and Peter Caty

Take a look around campus at the different types of people you interact with on a daily basis.  Would you classify them as diverse or not a part of the 85 percent Caucasian population here at Fairfield? Whether you consider this to be important or not, diversity is a serious topic that Fairfield has been trying to improve for quite some time.

Though it may not reflect Fairfield’s goal, trying to improve and further diversify the school, the Princeton Review Web site’s latest poll ranked Fairfield as the number one college in the United States with the least amount of race and class interaction, beating out similar schools such as Trinity College in Hartford at number two and Providence at number five.

It shows that we are not the only college trying to deal with this and although we are ranked number one, it is not an accurate representation of what  the campus is actually like.

“I certainly do not think this is an accurate reflection of our campus,” said William Johnson, the assistant dean of students and director of the student diversity program here at Fairfield. “To those who are quite familiar with our school, the tremendous strides that we have taken to diversify our student body is well known.”

“We have gone from a school that was 8 to 9 percent students of color to one that is now 15 percent. We have more first generation students enrolled at our University than probably since very early in Fairfield’s existence,” he added.

It’s obvious that we’re trying to improve this issue, and Johnson sums it up perfectly when he says, “The race, class, and economic differences that are present on our campus, or any campus, did not just happen to land here and have been part of our society for generations. Getting students from diverse backgrounds to enroll is one thing, mostly because it is a subjective decision. Getting students from different backgrounds to interact with one another is an entirely different challenge.”

When informed of the poll’s results, students weren’t shocked that Fairfield made the list, but were surprised to hear that it is actually ranked number one.

“I wouldn’t expect Fairfield to be ranked that high, let alone be the number one school with the least amount of diversity,” said sophomore diversity program member Jaclyn Lionetta.
Whether you agree or disagree, being known as the school with the least amount of diversity is definitely not a compliment. Students come from all different backgrounds and feelings on levels of diversity vary from person to person.

“I feel it is more diverse than my high school and the freshman class is the most diverse group of students ever at Fairfield,” added Lionetta.

Whatever your take on this issue is, you can bet Fairfield will be doing all it can to make its campus have the diversity of a city and not a sea of clones.

Let’s face it: this issue is not going to disappear overnight. Fairfield has made great improvements in diversifying the campus, and the diversity will only continue to improve.

As Johnson puts it, “Making this a reality requires a collective effort from all units across campus.”

Maybe someday Fairfield will be the number one school with the most diversity, but for now Fairfield will continue to do all it can in keeping the campus diversified.

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