Western Washington University Asks How to Be Less White

The institution of higher learning reportedly sent out a schoolwide questionnaire asking how it can ensure that in the future, it’s “not as white” as it is today.

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Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard

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Western Washington University of Bellingham, Wash., is taking its goal for greater diversity to the next level, reportedly sending out a community questionnaire asking students, “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today?’” Campus Reform reports.

According to the campus-news site, the WWU communications-and-marketing department’s daily news letter posed the question, seemingly in reference to the WWU president’s previous descriptions of the school’s “failure” to become less white.

“Every year, from this stage and at this time, you have heard me say that if, in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as [a] university,” President Bruce Shepard said in a 2012 speech, according to the site.

Even more recently, in January, he reiterated his point in a blog post: “I am increasingly concerned about our understanding of the issues ahead, for that understanding must be pervasive in order to enable Western’s critically important capacity to then change,” he wrote. “In the decades ahead, should we be as white as we are today, we will be relentlessly driven toward mediocrity; or, become a sad shadow of our current self.”

“Many do get it. But, too often, I encounter behaviors and communications that suggest to me that folks have not thought through the implications of what is ahead for us or, more perniciously, assume we can continue unchanged,” Shepard added.

According to Campus Reform, the university has already taken several steps to boost diversity and improve its handling of diverse groups, including swapping out standard performance reviews for sensitivity training and conducting workshops on how to help undocumented students.

Read more at Campus Reform.

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