is not off-white
HEATHER PARK '01 -
When dealing with the issue of diversity at Bowdoin, it seems to be very
much a black/white issue. I don't want to be misunderstood as saying that
diversity at Bowdoin pertains solely to one minority group. I would merely
like to point out that this college's commitment to ethnic cultivation
and diversity is not evenly distributed. Although there is a significant
Asian constituency in the student body, the Administration does not heed
the economic, academic, and psychological needs of its Asian students.
Perhaps Asians do not provide the "diversity" to raise Bowdoin's standings
in the U.S. News & World Report.
As a Korean-American student and a senior, it has become an
undeniable reality that the Administration does not feel the need to cater
to Asians as a minority group. The primary focus of the College is to
publicly extend opportunities to the African-American population and,
to a lesser extent, the Latino population. Any such attempts for Asian
students, however, are meekly pursued and are, at best, temporary. There
is a severe shortage of Asian professors and mentors on campus, in addition
to extremely limited funding for the development of the Asian Studies
department, an increasingly popular major and demand. Also, the Administration
does not provide an admissions scholarship for Asian prospectives.
There is not a clear-cut reason for this phenomenon. One can
always point blame to the Administration, the executor of academic and
financial decisions. But in all reality, it is much more complex. It is
not the fault of the Administration, because the Administration gets funding
from the Trustees. But there are no Asians sitting on the Board of Trustees,
so it is difficult to have a source of influence. Is this our own fault
for graduating from this institution and not contributing back to it?
Or is it the fault of the institution for failing to provide the nurturing
environment that would encourage its Asian students to give back?
There is no simple answer, for issues are never "black & white."
I do not write to present an answer, but simply to raise some eyebrows
and awareness. If the College is truly committed to diversity, it should
focus on celebrating it, not merely attaining it in numbers and statistics.