Every once in a while, people find themselves caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella. Occasionally, we forget to adequately prepare for a problem before we are caught in a downpour. By creating the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, the University is proactively addressing a non-pressing issue before it escalates into a full-blown crisis.
GW’s campus is host to a wide array of backgrounds. One can walk around campus and expect to hear multiple languages spoken by people of various ethnic groups. But though diversity exists, there is a perception that GW has a long way to go toward being truly inclusive. It is good that the University is tackling this issue preemptively. It seems all too often that progress on diversity only happens in the wake of controversy. Fortunately, this change is happening in the absence of such a storm.
Our fear surrounding the creation of such a council is that it will fall into the model of the Office of Sustainability, an undersized office lacking the influence it needs. In reality, it should be up to the council to fully evaluate the current state of diversity on campus. From there, the University will be able to outline measurable goals with definite deadlines. We understand the outlook of this council is long-term in nature, but it is important to have clear objectives.
Though the state of diversity on campus may not have an overwhelmingly negative reputation, it is important that students remain conscious that not everyone views GW as an inclusive place. Every day, we are presented with the opportunity to change that perception.
Diversity may not be on the top of most people’s list, but the fact that the University is addressing it now is laudable. The rain clouds are distant on the horizon but, nonetheless, the University has invested in an umbrella.
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