Racial diversity is becoming a common practice in the workforce–it is also becoming a trend among college campuses around the nation–and recently historically black colleges and universities.
According to Diversity Web, a site created by the Association of American Colleges and Universities to establish diversity in all spectrums of higher education, a racially diverse student body contributes to academic performance and cultural awareness, “socializing with someone of a different racial group or discussing racial issues contributes to the students academic development, satisfaction with college, level of cultural awareness, and commitment to promoting racial understanding.”
Tennessee State University has one of the most racially diverse HBCU campuses with white students making up 38 percent of the student body. Sixty percent of the TSU student body is black and Asian/Pacific Islanders make up two percent of the student population.
FAMU’s student population doesn’t have quite a diverse population.
According to the Fall 2002 student enrollment, out of 12,452 students 94 percent of the student body is black, four percent is white, Hispanics make up one percent, .7 percent are Asian/ Pacific Islanders and .06 percent represent the eight American Indians that attend FAMU.
Some faculty and students feel diversity is necessary even on HBCU campuses.
“Diversity provides an opportunity for students to be exposed to various lifestyles and cultures,” said Barbara Cox, director of admissions.
LaToya Stallworth agrees.
“The purpose of college is not only to obtain a degree,” said Stallworth, 20, a junior chemical engineering student from Pensacola.
“The real world is diverse and college campuses should reflect that.”
Some students feel differently.
“Students of other racial backgrounds don’t make it less of an HBCU because FAMU will always be a historical black university,” said Ayinde Madzimoyo, 20, a junior psychology student from Atlanta. “However, they do hinder and take away from the traditional HBCU experience. They change the climate and the spirit of the campus.”
“Without the exposure of racial diversity students will be in a box,” Cox said.
“You won’t be limited to African American students. I don’t think it would take away from the feeling a student might feel when they attend an HBCU.”