WWU's President Bruce Sheppard is under pressure for focusing on a student and faculty population that is representative of our country's changing ethnicity. Recently WWU asked the community, "How do we make sure in the future years, 'we are not as white as we are today'?"
As "non-white" alumna of WWU, I am proud of my school and of my ethnicity. Here is my take on the issue.
Washington state is considered to be one of the whitest states in America. But, this is rapidly changing. Currently, 22 percent of students at WWU are non-white. Current graduates will need to effectively deal with a changing cultural, racial and linguistic population.
I am proud that our "white" president understands this concept. I would like people to understand that the "whiteness of the university as a failure" is not an attack on the "white" students who attend the university.
The message is about the institution and what that institution is doing to advocate, support and be committed to marginalized population.
As President Sheppard shared, "...if 10 years from now, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as a university in our commitment to meet the critical needs of our state..." I graduated from WWU with a degree in education, with an emphasis on reading and English-language learners. As a teacher, I vow to do my part to help these populations succeed. As an educator, I sure do hope that WWU will not be as "white" as it is today.