Diversity is needed to achieve a true “communio” atmosphere and engage students and faculty into learning about new cultures at St. Norbert. Through diversity students and staff can learn and build an understanding of different traditions and lifestyles through firsthand experiences. Diversity builds a sense of community throughout the campus and provides trust between the students and staff.
Although, it is fair to think that diversity is not a catholic value which is exemplified in Wolfgang Grassl’s article about conservative Christian beliefs. However, it is part of the St. Norbert college mission statement to include all cultures and practices of each student. Failure to do this results in students having the inability to experience other cultures and practices firsthand, creating less of a communio aspect. Students are not only able to learn through diversity on campus through firsthand experience more in depth, but can build new relationships and trust with one another through understanding where their other peers come from. If diversity isn’t an aspect on St. Norbert campus, then students can’t build these strong relationships and experience the variety of cultures.
The article, “Divorce: Grounds for Dismissal” by Elizabeth Redden exemplifies the hindering effects of conservative thoughts, like Grassl, towards a faculty member. Professor, Kent Gramm, resigned from his passion at Wheaten University because of having chosen not to discuss the details of his recent divorce with his wife. Wheaten University, a catholic school, wishes to keep its religious background through the traditional biblical aspect of “no divorce”. Unless the reason behind the divorce is deemed “reasonable” by administration, faculty staff will receive repercussions for their “immoral” acts. This idea of the university administration holding a high standard in faculty’s personal lives, doesn’t allow to growth within their area of diversity. Through not accepting an employee’s personal decision about an extremely personal matter show to the students that anyone who doesn’t practice “true” Christianity, isn’t going to be accepted and therefore won’t be able to build trust in personal areas between other peers and faculty members.
Not only has a lack of acceptance to diversity affected faculty members at some universities, but students as well. In Sarah Brown’s article she explains that racial inequality exists specifically on college campuses. Brown goes into detail of a situation that happened on the University of Missouri of Columbia campus when a handful of black students reported demeaning racial comments directed towards them from their fellow peers for the second year in a row. Through this experience, the students have taken it upon themselves to speak out and make awareness of the repeating events. Brown also claims that college campuses need to integrate their students through campus life and events. Through the revamping of policies and cultural events students will be able to maintain healthier relationships between students and their peers.
The article, “Diversity is a St. Norbert Value” by Meghan Monahan exemplifies the perspective by other professors and employees of St. Norbert college and their thoughts on diversity throughout the college. Unlike Grassl, Monahan states that St. Norbert college values diversity throughout the campus very highly and take pride in their diversity values. St. Norbert college provides many programs and opportunities for students centered around diversity.
A program on campus that demonstrates the diversity values of St. Norbert College, is the ALIVE program. ALIVE is a student-run group on campus that builds community throughout the residence halls by running weekly programs for students. The ALIVE team coordinates the programs within each of the living halls to provide a safe place for students to have discussion and talk amongst their peers about a wide variety of topics. The programs range from crafts to discussion and allow students to converse topics with their fellow peers. Topics can range from light conversation to controversial issues. These weekly programs allow for the ability of students, with an diverse range of cultures and lifestyles, to come together and discuss current topics and therefore build a sense of community and trust within the halls and fellow participants.
Although Christian values should be available for students, these Christian values should not be enforced in a way that hinders a student’s experience on campus. Students and faculty members should be able to feel safe enough to live and share their lifestyles with others on campus. Diversity values throughout the campus allows for students and staff to be able to express themselves in a way without the worry of not being accepted.
“Communio” is centered around diversity and is needed to truly make campus a safe and trusting place to live. Without diversity values, students can’t build strong relationships with their peers, roommates and professors. Likewise, faculty can’t build trust throughout the campus without diversity values. It is through engaging students and faculty into learning about new cultures at St. Norbert that diversity can thrive on campus through building a sense of community and trust.