CWU hits historic numbers in diversity

Kejuan Coleman, Staff Reporter

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Thirty-five percent of CWU students are people of color, as of a 2016 survey. The number is increasing alongside the growing amount of incoming students. CWU is on it’s way to changing for a better future for all students and faculty.

The diversity of CWU has been a movement for change; a movement for every minority to have a safe environment and to get an education that will lead them all on a path to a better future, without having to look over their shoulders.

Andre Dickerson, the director of the Center of Leadership & Community Engagement and CWU Alumnus, has been apart of many other organizations, including Brother 2 Brother (B2B). Dickerson attended CWU in 2007 and has been here a combined ten years. Since his time here at CWU,  he’s witnessed and also has been a part of the progressive movement for increasing the diversity throughout the community.

“I’ve seen the campus grow more and more diverse, in terms of the student population of students of color,” Dickerson said . While attending CWU, Dickerson was able to help start some of the organizations and clubs that are currently at CWU.

“As a student I was blessed to be a part of some recruitment efforts with university admissions department and we formed different programs.”

CWU has been increasing its diversity, which has been gaining recognition and awards on both the state level and national level.

“This year CWU was the only Washington State institution to earn the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award.” Dickerson said.

This award recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.  

“We want to make sure that the students coming into CWU, are coming into a school that is promoting and actually putting in practice of equity, inclusion and support,” Dickerson said.

To get more insight on diversity at CWU as a black student, Trevon Noel, a current member of B2B and a family and child development major.

“Going into the current 2017 year feels more welcoming honestly, there are some things that went on last year that pushed me away from the school and certain events but now it’s better environment and vibe.” Noel said.

Noel’s initial impressions didn’t start there. Before coming to his campus, during a summer tour, he talked about how different the time of year affects the mood  on campus.

“When I was first saw the campus on my tour during the summer and didn’t really get to see the full school during my tour guide. This made my first impression not to good especially because I wasn’t able to really see the diversity. Once I came to the school that next fall, I saw something completely different; I saw more diversity which made me feel more comfortable,” Noel said.

Last year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, KKK flyers passed around campus and other places that students lived.

“What I’m appreciative of is that you see the university respond to it in a very direct fashion of ‘we are not going to tolerate it’, we are here to protect our students, we care about the students feeling welcomed on this campus and you also see the community get behind it in large numbers saying we aren’t going for that,”  Dickerson said.

These flyers didn’t just affect CWU, but it also affected students and staff outside of the school on many different levels.

“I felt a certain way about it, being a black man living in Ellensburg Washington for the past ten years. I have to be critical about how I move and how to navigate, I’m mindful of that because when I leave campus I can’t take it with me, I can’t wear some sort of badge saying that hey look I’m a central administrator,” Dickerson said. “I have to wear what I look like, who I really am with the swagger and everything that has to come along with it.”

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CWU hits historic numbers in diversity