The staff editorial is the majority opinion of The Murray State News Editorial Board.
“Include everyone. Treat everyone alike.”
This is the one of the new and improved taglines of Murray State. It’s the foundation of the University’s “Commitment to Diversity.” It applies to every facet of student inclusion on this campus – from on-campus employment to Greek life.
According to Murray State’s website, the guiding principles of this initiative are as follows:
“Recruit students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds;
Develop initiatives that will retain students and increase graduation rates;
Develop and offer an inclusive curriculum; and
Recruit a diverse faculty and staff.”
While these may seem like common sense practices, there’s a reason they had to be spelled out in such a way. They didn’t print out and plaster posters with the aforementioned motto on it “just because.”
While the University has been committed to their “Nondiscrimination Policy” and making students feel safe on campus for years, this is clearly a commitment renewed.
According to Niche.com, our student population is 81 percent white.
The other 19 percent of students need the University to be committed to diversity. Students from the 40 states and 47 foreign countries Murray State boasts as student body statistics on their website need to not only feel included, but to genuinely be included.
This commitment shouldn’t be specifically race-minded, either.
As awesome as it may be, the fact that the Murray State Beta Nu chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha accepted a woman with Down Syndrome shouldn’t be so rare that it garners national attention. It shouldn’t be such a big deal that it becomes something to capitalize on. Alexis Cain shouldn’t be the new face of ASA because she has a genetic disorder.
Headlines like “Meet the Girl Who’s Changing Sorority Life” and “Alpha Sigma Alpha Accepts First Ever Sorority Girl with Down Syndrome” are more unnerving than heartwarming.
Why is this so unheard of? Why, in 2015, are we still making history on the grounds of diverse inclusion?
If accepting one woman with Down Syndrome is what it takes to “change sorority life,” can you imagine if organizations all over the nation weren’t so exclusive? How great would it be if the minority wasn’t too intimidated by the majority to join?
Life would change as we know it – for the better.
How often do we look around in our respective organizations and see a sea of faces that look, for the most part, the same?
This is because of one of two, likely unintentional, reasons: recruitment tactics are targeted toward one particular audience, or certain students don’t feel they would fit in due to current membership stereotypes.
According to Murray State’s website, graduates should leave here prepared to, “function in a culturally diverse, technologically oriented society and increasingly interdependent world. The University is committed to international education as an integral dimension of the University experience.”
We shouldn’t leave here able to “function” in a culturally diverse world. It shouldn’t be something we’re simply able to deal with in order to get by.
We should thrive because of diversity. We should be able to improve our lives and the lives of others because of open-mindedness. Differing viewpoints and global awareness should be the backbone of our decisions and actions.
Diversity should be embraced as the norm instead of celebrated for its rarity.