By Valerie Cuellar ’20
Diversity is always a point of reference when having conversations about inclusivity. In HWS, it is all about appearance and image. This institution brings in groups like POSSE, HEOP, and other organizations that bring in that diversity they want to showcase. Once those students are on campus, any discrimination or oppression they face gets pushed onto the back burner because of course, building a bubble with donated money is much more important. Maybe we should have a fund for the oppressed on this campus to be taken much more seriously.
We have offices in place to deal with diversity issues. According to its mission statement, the Office of Inclusion and Diversity “fosters dignity and respect ensuring that all members of the HWS community have an equal opportunity to thrive.” This sounds great, but when I feel like I am not given an equal opportunity as my fellow students or that I am treated with respect, I am not able to talk about it because I’m being too “critical” or too “emotional.” I have trouble trusting the institution with diversity because they claim that they are ensuring that everyone feels included and has the opportunity to thrive, yet still adhering to the coordinate system, for example. A student that is aware of issues that affect minority students told me that, “Approximately 600 students are accepted in each class, at least in the 2020 class, and less than 100 are POC. Tell me how that’s diverse,” says Marissa ’20. Sometimes I don’t even feel part of this small community because I am lighter than many of my POC brothers and sisters.
This campus then exploits the only students of color and the five out queer students to join in on conversations about diversity and inclusivity, but it becomes the same conversation us students have on our own. People who should be there and should listen to the concerns about this campus are never there. Then we, the students who are facing these issues, are forced to stand up for our communities. We not only have to become advocates for our communities, but also slaves to the institution and to its traditions. Having a diverse campus takes more than just having POC students. Having a queer community requires more than just having queer people on campus. Wake up HWS. We are not diverse. We are divided. We are on a campus that silences me when I say, “HWS claims to have a queer community but they don’t.” I am criticized for having views that go against traditions. That is not diversity. But I will remain in my positions. I will remain to be a POSSE scholar that deserves to be here, I will remain as an active member of the LGBTQ+ Communities, and I will remain a person of color that struggles but strives with my own volition. Diversity is a joke on this campus. People of color, Republicans, radicals, white feminists, that is not diversity, we are just a melting pot that is waiting to explode because we are not given the resources to work amongst one another. When that does happen, good luck HWS.