Defining Diversity

randyIn an interview with Santa Clara senior Randall Cornelius, a Communication major, he discusses his experience at Santa Clara University and how four years has changed his view on diversity on campus.

Sasha: When you first got to Santa Clara as a freshman, what was your impression of diversity on campus?

Randall: My first impression was that we were “diverse” in the sense that we have a quite large Philippino population, and quite a lot of African American students on campus. I thought our campus was okay in terms of diversity. What I noticed was that a lot of these students come from wealthy backgrounds, but as a freshman I never saw the diversity of like, “Oh I’m from South San Jose, and I’m the first in my family to go to college.” I never saw people like that, but I saw people who were diverse because of their ethnicity but not socio-economically diverse.

SS: Why is diversity important?

RC: Diversity on campus is very important to the well rounding of our school and education. It’s important that you’re in a classroom with people who are not the same as you, because that allows for you to learn, and to see other perspectives and other cultures that you would not have normally learned about.

SS: Does being gay on campus make you feel differently towards diversity?

RC: We try to advertise our school as being diverse, when it’s really not as diverse as I thought it was, especially in regards to sexual orientation. I transferred from a school in Seattle before coming here that was diverse in terms in socioeconomic status, and diverse in terms of sexual orientation. I was one of many there. And now I’m one of very very few. I’m a fish out of water in this place.

SS: Do you regret coming to school here?

RC: I just wish I spent more time researching it before I came here. As a freshman at Seattle I just kinda wanted to get out of there so badly that I didn’t really care where I went. And I just wish I spent more time researching more stuff. I think for me, I ended up transferring here for professional development reasons, not for the social aspect. I only considred the rankings of the school, like, “It’s gonna get me a great job, I’m gonna come out with a great education behind me,” but I didn’t think about, “Oh, you’re gonna have four years of being single.”

Sasha Sommer

(Photo by Michael Anthony Erkleans)

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