Denver is a very ethnically, and culturally diverse city. Yet, its own the University of Denver is far from it. College Factual reports that DU ranks 913 amongst universities on a national scale, both lacking strong faculty and student ethnic diversity.
Pointing to the importance of multicultural excellence, on the University of Denver’s website, Chancellor Rebecca Chopp writes, “In an organization so reliant on its people, creating a diverse and inclusive community isn’t only the right thing to do; it’s critical to the successful implementation of our mission.” The issue to include more diversity on Denver’s campus, therefore, is a group effort between faculty, staff, administration, and students based off of the school’s mission. So where do the mission’s deficiencies come from?
To begin with, an often-overlooked aspect facing the campus is the general perception the public has of the school in terms of its diversity. The apparent homogeneousness of DU can overwhelm different groups.
For example, when asking fellow DU International Studies student and half Filipino, Dylan Fair, what his expectations of diversity were before attending the school, he said “my outlooks on Denver, from reading reviews online and from taking the campus tour, were that it is a college campus full of privileged white people and prep school kids, and that definitely intimidated me before coming here.”
Evidently, the perception of the school’s lack of multicultural and intersectional diversity can make groups feel out of place, causing them to steer away from the University.
A possible way to make these groups feel more welcomed is to demonstrate how students of different intersectional backgrounds have integrated with each other on campus. Yet, students reportedly see that group segregation is a commonality at the school.
By example, Christopher Joyce, a student in the Daniel’s College of Business said, “There are definitely exceptions, but ethnic groups seem to hang out amongst themselves at DU.” He later added, “for example, at the campus gym, Chinese students always hold down their own section of the basketball courts, while other students have their area.” Making prospective students feel welcome might start with the small things like integrating these separate basketball games into a more inclusive atmosphere.
With these overwhelming outlooks on school diversity, there are also technicalities that need to be addressed, most specifically financial aid. The university’s tuition, at a staggering $36,936 per year according to College Prowler, is one of the most expensive rates in the country, and the room and board is no bargain either at $6,738
Students reportedly find that, while financial aid exists, it is very difficult to cover enough scholarship money because the tuition and expenses are so high.
Economics student, Samson Oneil, for instance, said “I have a Hispanic buddy from my high school back home in New York that couldn’t come to DU because the need-based scholarships didn’t award him with enough money. He lives with his mom, and she doesn’t have the income to put him through school here.” It appears that DU, additionally, needs to continue fighting to reward the less privileged, accomplished students with a way to attend the University.
The students seem to agree that the University of Denver faces problems of inclusive excellence due to aspects like school segregation, and outlooks of campus diversity. Indubitably, the university must continue to work, as a group, to answer these problems of inclusive excellence. After all, incorporating a rich atmosphere of diversity is vital to a student’s education and communication skills.
Leaving with a glimmer of hope, all individuals interviewed agreed that if there were a better way to assimilate with other groups, they would be encouraged to do so at the university.