“Diversity, inclusion and respect are foundational elements within a deeply personal education,” according to the Wake Forest University webpage on diversity.
According to many students on campus, however, Wake Forest is not as diverse as it seems. Find the whole story
“Wake Forest has 27.1% racial and ethnic diversity (Fall 2015),” according to the webpage. There are 20 languages spoken, 19 religious traditions represented, and 46 foreign countries represented. On a campus where the majority is heterosexual Christian white students, it can be difficult to find a place to belong. Diversity is not a group of statistics that fulfill a pie chart.
On Boundaries: Yuyang Liu. Freshman. Female. Chinese. Nonreligious. Heterosexual. “Diversity is people from different backgrounds coming together and getting along without boundaries. The campus is not as diverse as other campuses.”
On Embracing and Understanding: Alyvia Williams. Senior. Female. Black. Agnostic. Heterosexual. “Diversity is inclusion. Not just having a diverse group of students, but embracing and understanding the different groups and cultures you have in a space. It’s different going into class when you’re the only black woman in the class.”
On Quotas & Athletics: Tre’ Mansa. Senior. Male. Black. Atheist. Heterosexual. “Diversity is not a quota. As a black person on campus, there is always the stigma of you being an athlete. Being a student athlete, especially at Wake is not what you want. It’s disrespectful to black students who aren’t athletes because it’s saying you only got here because of your athletics. And if you are an athlete, you don’t have anything to bring to the table.”
On Salad: Rita Venant. Freshman. Female. Haitian. Christian. Heterosexual. “Diversity is a salad bowl. You don’t just have lettuce, and the lettuce is always different colors. Then you have all of your toppings, and you mix it all together. Diversity isn’t just one thing. It’s a mix of different things that work together.”
On Sociology Courses: Alexander Holt. Freshman. Male. Black. Spiritual. Heterosexual. “Diversity is lacking here. Do I think there are offices moving towards diversity? Yes. But Wake as a whole is not diverse. Being one of three colored people in a sociology course was problematic. Specifically when we were talking about race inequality.”
On Naturalness: Jay Buchanan. Senior. Male. White. Atheist. Gay. “Diversity is natural. There is a general tide that ‘I don’t fit in,’ and it has to do with identities, but I run in circles that are okay with who I am. I’ve always found it easy to put myself on a higher plane.”
On Power: Yabsera Bekele. Freshman. Female. Ethiopian. Christian. Heterosexual. “Diversity is power. Feelings of inferiority, or, when it comes to leadership positions on campus, have affected my experiences here at Wake.”
On Brothers: Adriana Cordova. Senior. Female. Latina. Catholic. Heterosexual. “Diversity is the coming together and inclusion of people of all backgrounds and the acceptance of it. My brother has faced adversity in Texas. He has struggled with people insulting him and asking him if he’s illegal, or undocumented, or across the border. They’ve said ‘how did you get here,’ and ‘how do you speak English?'”
On Necessity: Sydni Williams. Senior. Female. Black. Christian. Heterosexual. “Diversity is necessary. There have been moments where I do feel like an outcast, or I feel like this really isn’t the place where I belong. Especially when I’m not in a place like the IC (Intercultural Center). What’s the point in getting an education or living life if you’re not surrounded by people who are different, in every aspect of the word?”
On Interaction: Annette Barile. Sophomore. Female. White and Japanese. Atheist. Heterosexual. “Diversity is not only accepting, but interacting with people who are culturally or ethnically different from yourself. I’m kind of ethnically ambiguous looks-wise. I can fit in anywhere. I think when racial tensions were high on campus, I personally felt like my Asian heritage was attacked.”
On Tour Groups & Roommates: Alicía Colón. Senior. Female. Black, Sicilian, and Puerto Rican. Christian. Heterosexual. “Diversity is nonexistent here at Wake. I feel bad for tour groups with minorities in them. It kind of set the tone for me, but my freshman year, my roommate was just like ‘you know I have a black best friend back home,’ and I was like, ‘are we really gonna go down this road?'”