Diversity Equals Segregation? Sure, Columbia University…Why Not
Diversity and inclusivity are supposed to go hand in hand.
When colleges and universities focus on diversity, it is to ensure that people from various backgrounds, genders, cultures, sexual orientations and more are coming together. Itâs to celebrate the differences while showing that everyone can come together and get along.
Columbia University, however, has chosen to throw the âinclusivityâ aspect out the window.
Theyâve decided that segregation is the best way to celebrate diversity â and theyâre not even bothering to hide it.
As the Class of 2021 prepares to graduate, Columbia University has decided that theyâre going to host six separate graduation ceremonies.
At quick glance, youâd think that the six ceremonies are to ensure that thereâs plenty of social distancing. After all, we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
Nope, thatâs not it at all. Instead, theyâre breaking up the ceremonies based on such things as race, sexual orientation, and income level.
The schoolâs website has identified that there are six ceremonies, though âall students are invited to participate in these celebrations.â
The graduations are as follows: Latinx, Black, Native, Asian, Lavender (LGBTQIA+), and FLI (first-generation and/or low-income).
Columbia has chosen to segregate because they feel that itâs a more intimate setting for the students to celebrate. Their âMulticultural Graduation Celebrationsâ have set the country back a few centuries in terms of progress, though.
Diversity and inclusivity should be about letting the Black population mingle with the Asian population. Allow the FLI to spend time with the LGBTQIA+ community. After four years on the same campus, shouldnât there be some tolerance to the diversity? Shouldnât there be friendships formed across the different communities?
Students who want to register for a graduation ceremony must force themselves to conform. They have to choose which celebration they want to be included in. And if you fall into two or more of those categories, youâre out of luck.
This is why segregation doesnât work. Too many students fall into more than one category â and itâs not fair to force them to choose. Yet, Columbia University gets to say that theyâre doing this for the student body.
All of the universityâs graduation ceremonies will be virtual due to COVID-19. However, thereâs going to come a time when they wonât be virtual anymore. What the university does now sets a precedent. The class of 2022 and beyond may be in-person graduations â and what happens when a person has to choose which ceremony they wish to be a part of?
Columbia University isnât the only one choosing to diversify â and segregate in the process. Virginia Tech hosted 10 separate ceremonies in 2019.
Oh, but this is neo-segregation. Itâs different.
No, not really. Call it what you will, but itâs still segregation.
A study by the National Association of Scholars in 2019 showed that 75% of American colleges have been hosting black-only graduation ceremonies. Since it is voluntary racial segregation, it is deemed acceptable. The ceremonies are âracially inclusive.â
Itâs only a matter of time before the colleges take things too far.
What next? Will housing be segregated? Classes? Quad space?
College is supposed to be a melting pot. Itâs supposed to be a time where students are taught to embrace differences and learn how to be culturally diverse. Any international business course will teach students about how to be culturally tolerant.
However, why bother with diversity? Why bother learning about the different cultures? If the universities are only going to throw up dividers at graduation, the whole point is moot.
This is not the direction the country should be going. Columbia University may think that this is a good idea now when itâs all virtual, but itâs only a matter of time before this all backfires in their direction. Segregation was destroyed in the 1960s, yet hereâs a prestigious New York University trying to bring it back as the latest trend.