Editorial Note from the Editor-in-Chief:
These submissions are from students and community members who have lived experiences here at Westminster College and beyond. I thank these students for their courage and commitment to sharing their experiences with us and the broader community. Please take time to read these submissions and consider them further. Each piece sheds light on a different topic. If any of these pieces have inspired students, faculty or anyone in the community to write their own Are You Listening submission, we have opened our online collection to include all submissions at any time. Please submit pieces to firstname.lastname@example.org. On an ending note, a more personal note: please be mindful, compassionate and open to learning.
When considering the term “Diversity”, I believe it is important to recognize the difference between ‘diversity’ with a little ‘d’ versus that of ‘Diversity’ with a big ‘D’. Academic diversity, though important should come after Demographic Diversity. If an institution is capable of achieving a more Demographic Diversity among not only students, but also faculty and staff, the academic diversity will begin to come when professors pose courses through various lenses. In the case of Westminster College, John Baworowsky deems academic diversity to be enough to consider the predominately white institution as fulfilling the need for Diversity.
Many students holding various marginalized identities disagree. When it comes to issues of Diversity, many feel as though there is not enough being done by those who hold power to help increase the numbers and representation. Westminster College goes as far as to pride itself on the College Wide Learning Goal of global consciousness, social responsibility, and ethical awareness. When marketing is done to target audiences, they are made promises, backed by policy in terms of their education. One of Westminster’s policies regarding Diversity and Global Learning states a goal of “Increase the Recruitment and Retention of international and historically underrepresented Students, Faculty and Staff.” The administrative statements suggest that this policy is not reflected in the practices of Westminster.
President Morgan stated LDS kids may feel concerns for safety and respect. These concerns plague more than just the LDS community, and Morgan’s statement invalidates students that are not LDS that share the same fears. As part of the student demonstration, one sign was directly calling out the quote only inserting multiple identities that are subject to the same trauma. To suggest that LDS students are experiencing the same type of fatigue and insecurities as a Queer Student, Student of Color, or even a Differently Abled Student is a stretch. Within Utah, Mormonism is the dominant religious practice of the state meaning when looked at as a whole, LDS students are in fact, still within the majority. Even as an LDS student at a Liberal Arts College, the LDS community has still ensured that students of their culture are able to find a safe haven in spaces of worship and institute. Those same resources are not guaranteed to other marginalized groups on college campuses.
If an institution such as Westminster is able to profit off of the enrollment of students of color and other Demographically Diverse students, then at the very least, issues pertaining to them should be addressed. Issues of Race, Class, and Gender should not be swept under the rug or comparable to those that result from privilege when these groups experience the lack thereof. Administration should be very wary of how they structure their thoughts on behalf of an entire institution. The activism of students is a push-back to outwardly display their political anger. These are issues that impact ALL students of Westminster. If administration doesn’t want to address them, that doesn’t automatically make them invisible. These students are here and we demand to be heard