The Women’s Center hosted an event on Wednesday for students to address diversity and the social climate on campus.
This event was the first of their “coffee talk” series, with this one properly titled, “Coffee Talk: #blacklivesmatter – Campus Climate at Ramapo.”
In a packed room, the discussion started on the lack of diversity on Ramapo College’s campus, Some students felt that there was not significant improvement and that some of the administrators’ answers to student questions about diversity were not sufficient.
Students mulled over strategies on solving these issues of diversity on campus. Some suggested that related events and discussions should be incorporated into class requirements. Others did not believe that mandatory attendance to events would lead to a solution.
Students also brought up a lack of awareness due to an absence of faculty and administration at events such as the coffee talk, to which director of the Center for Student Involvement, Rick Brown, responded saying that although faculty members tend to leave “right at 4:30 or 5,” personal invitations mean a lot and may be the trick.
Students also brought up that the responsibility for bringing diversity to campus cannot lie solely on the students who already have very limited time to attend events outside of class.
The discussion came to a consensus that more programming is not going to bring institutional change because those changes require time, money and effort that people are often unwilling to invest.
A point was made that there is a social hierarchy in terms of race on campus amongst students, faculty, administration and the Board of Trustees, and therefore action should be taken to gain the ability to dismantle the hierarchy to some extent and create horizontal relationships. An example would be to get allies amongst the administration.
A suggestion was also made to have a regular protest on diversity, instead of holding an event every time an unfortunate racial incident occurs. Students voiced that the student body should not be afraid to push the boundaries, in keeping with Ramapo’s slogan, “Pushing Boundaries.”