Diversity needs to be a top priority

Editor:

I am writing this letter on behalf of the “US” Advisory Committee in response to Melissa Meister’s letter “Committee’s suggestions could be deemed racist” (Nov. 22).

Melissa, you asked what right we have to complain about diversity in education. That is virtually the same as asking what right we have in seeking validation of our experiences, contributions and existence in this country and in the world. You claim we are racist in asking for this validation and you feel we should learn about you. You, as representing Western culture, are all we have learned about for most of our lives. Speaking for myself, and I feel safe to say most others around my age, we have not had any exposure to studies other than Western peoples and cultures until college. So if we are being racist in asking for validation, what can we then say about the decades this country has refused to truly acknowledge the history and experience of all of its own people (people of ethnic backgrounds from all over the world, not just those of Western backgrounds)? And what about the exclusion of the voices and experiences of women from all backgrounds?

As our country stands today, most institutions are Western- and only Western-based. Everyone not only gets more than a fair share of Western-based education, they interact with it in all areas of their lives as well. People of non-Western backgrounds must then make extra efforts to preserve their culture, history and existence. It is not only our right to ask for diversity to be a priority in all institutions of education, it has truly become our responsibility as well; this is for the sake of a true education. And as a person of color, I believe inclusion and validation of our histories and experiences is also for the sake of our survival.

Though I strongly disagree with your perspectives, I want to thank you for being honest. And on behalf of the “US” Advisory Committee, I would like to invite you to our meetings so you can understand who we are, what we do, and why we do it. Our meetings are held on Fridays, from noon to 1 p.m. at Old Main, Room 226. If you would like to call and speak with one of the committee members, we can be contacted through the office of the Dean of Students at 621-7057.

Maricela Trujillo

Creative Writing Senior

“US” Advisory Committee

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