Martin Luther King Day may have come and gone, but as Fairfield today celebrates the life of a true American hero, we are not only reminded of how far we have come as a society in dealing with issues of prejudice, but also how far we have to go as a university community in terms of diversity.

Nestled comfortably in the “Gold Coast” region surrounded by one of the wealthiest areas in the entire country, maybe it’s no surprise that Fairfield is known for having about as much diversity as a Southern country club. And as disappointing as that is, maybe it’s not so shocking that Fairfield has made the news more than once in the past decade for the appearance of graffitied racial and ethnic slurs on campus.

While it is important to note that this institution was founded by Jesuits in 1942, the great majority of whom were white males, it appears that not that much has changed in the past 60 years in terms of the demographics of this university’s administration. While half of the eight university deans and two of three assistant vice presidents are female, the upper tier of administrators remains almost entirely male. Currently, all five university vice presidents and all but one associate vice president are males. This being so despite Fairfield having nearly 400 more female undergraduate students than males, according to U.S. News and World Report.

That publication has also recently concluded that 90 percent of Fairfield students are white, while Hispanics are the most represented minority on campus with only a four-percent share of the student body. Black and Asian-American students accumulated only two percent apiece. Many students continue to carry the attitude that most minorities attending this university are only here to participate in sports.

The Mirror applauds Fairfield University on its attempts to increase diversity in the university community through the work of people such as Director of Multicultural Relations Larri Mazon and programs designed to increase the visibility of minority leaders such as the campus-wide celebration of Martin Luther King Day. But it is important to remember that while Dr. King may have seen the Promised Land from the top of the mountain, Fairfield University is only beginning to make its way up.

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