Eric Bagg

Over the years, college campuses have become very diverse. More and more races are starting to make up a majority of the community. Here at St. Norbert, we have a relatively diverse campus. At other schools around the country that is a different story. Racial discrimination has been an ongoing problem across the country and it has resulted in protests and other violent acts that is sending our country back into a segregated community. St. Norbert should serve as a model to other schools to help break racial tension and bolster their community.

College campuses across the nation have been dealing with racial differences and they have resulted in many violent acts. Over the past few months, some college campuses have dealt with this issue. One of the schools being the University of Missouri. In an article from CNN, it said that, “The current unrest at the University of Missouri, whose president and chancellor resigned Monday (November 9th) amid protests over the school’s handling of racism on campus, is just the latest and most high-profile in a recent string of racially charged incidents”  The problems on these college campuses are getting too out of control. Before the chancellor resigned from the school he implemented a mandatory sensitivity training for faculty and students. This program was short lived because some African American students said, “the gestures were insufficient and called for school officials to implement broader cultural sensitivity training”(Griggs).  It is essential to educate students with racial differences so that is eases the tension. This chancelor tried to improve it but it obviously did not work.

If other schools model after St. Norbert, then they would have a stronger sense of community and would relieve racial tensions. At St. Norbert, we have a strong sense of community. We strive towards building our community as much as possible and put ourselves in front of others. Since the time that I have been on campus, I have noticed that a majority of our students are caucasian. I am not being decimate against any race or ethnicity, it is just what I have noticed. For the students that are of a minority race, some take part in a program called S.T.A.R. STAR is an acronym for Students Taking Academic Responsibility and was introduced for multicultural students here at St. Norbert. This program has helped lessen racial tension on campus and it brings all races together to talk about the issues they face. It also provides services to first and second year foreign students that are having trouble adjusting. This program builds relationships with people from every race and it supports them and makes them feel welcome. They meet often, sometimes just for a lunch or dinner, or meet to discuss their diversity on campus. They discuss racial issues that have come up when on campus and have worked in ways to fix them.

In order to solve the problem of racial discrimination on campuses, more schools should model after St. Norbert as a way to build their community. Some ways of doing this are constructing programs like STAR so that they can build mutual connections. It might be harder because St. Norbert is a much smaller campus than Missouri or other large schools but it is just a start to lay down a foundation for an equally diverse campus. Our campus seems to function well under it and it has been recognized. Students need to be educated about diverse cultures. Some campuses are beginning to do that with mandatory training so that they can prevent any racial discrimination. Slater, of the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, is not convinced this is good enough. “A strict no-tolerance policy is probably the best strategy,” he said. “If students know they are going to be expelled, suspended or have their financial aid cut if they participate in racist behavior, it is likely students would think twice before acting in an offensive manner”(Griggs).  This is a good way of really standing up and putting an end to racism. The best way to get rid of it in this case is to kick out students that are racists towards other students and even faculty of the school.

Safety is the number one priority for college campuses and when a student does not feel safe, they cannot learn the same. Some college campuses, like Missouri, are making their students feel unsafe and are diverting them from their studies. St. Norbert College is perfect role model when formulating a solution. College campuses need to construct a strong community in order to function properly and make their students feel safe. Without this, our country is falling back into a segregated community. We have come a long way since the era of Civil Rights and now that all this racial discrimination is happening, it seems like our country is going back towards it. Student’s need to be in a safe environment in order to learn. They can’t learn when protesters are yelling and screaming outside of their classroom. They would just get diverted too easily. There shouldn’t be more police presence, but student unity and cooperation between everyone.

College campuses are getting more diverse every year. Over the years, racial tensions have broken out and have resulted with on campus protests. Campuses like these need assistance with racial profiling and strengthening their community. St. Norbert College should act as a support system to help show these schools how to have an equally diverse campus. Community can’t be spelled without unity, and these students and faculty members need to understand that.

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