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By Ana Lima
Arizona Summer Wildcat
July 30, 1997

Students say campus needs greater level of integration

The percentage of minority students enrolled at the UA is on the rise, but students and administrators have mixed opinions about how those numbers affect the social climate on campus.

Of the 33,504 students enrolled at the UA last year, 69.5 percent were white, 12.7 percent were Hispanic, 5.3 percent were Asian American and 2.1 percent were Native American.

In the past 10 years, the University of Arizona's minority population has nearly doubled. In the fall of 1987, 11.75 percent of students were minorities. By last fall, minority enrollment reached 22.4 percent.

Despite the rising numbers, many students and administrators think the UA is not an integrated campus.

"When people look at our rates they think we're doing real well, but that's not true," said Cecelia Lou, assistant dean of Asian American Student Affairs. "Until we learn to become more sensitive and inclusive, we're not going to have a campus that is integrated."

Although Lou said she did not encounter any major racial problems on campus last year, she said several students came to her with personal problems related to ethnic differences.

On one occasion last year, Lou said an Asian American student asked her for support after another student called her a "banana: yellow on the outside, white on the inside."

Lou said she tries to mediate minor ethnic conflicts, but in more serious, hurtful cases she often recommends counseling.

"It really is a struggle (for minorities). They've grown up here but yet, there is something different about them," Lou said. "Most minority students go through that."

Seung-eui Hong, an Asian American junior majoring in optical engineering, said students of different ethnicities need to develop a better understanding.

"You can't just ignore the other person," Hong said.

Hong said that when he lived at Hopi Lodge his freshman year, he tried to become close with students, but "it was kind of hard."

He said it was easier to develop friendships with other minority students.

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