Administration: the wrong enemy

Bernard Chen, Sports Editor

Students at universities across the U.S. are protesting through hunger strikes and sit-ins to express frustration over what they see as the marginalization of discrimination on campus. Stemming from racial incidents at the University of Missouri, protests have risen up in Southern California, ranging from the University of California schools, to Claremont McKenna College.

However, students are targeting the wrong subject at fault. It isn’t a matter of the administration doing too little to protect those being discriminated, but rather a problem with the mindset of the society we live in.

Since September, students have been protesting the administration’s slow efforts in addressing the marginalization of minority students on the University of Missouri campus, thus leading to the resignation of two MU administrators. Soon after, efforts to improve treatment of students of color and other minorities spread to colleges like Claremont McKenna, where Dean of Students Mary Spellman was forced to resign. Spellman came under fire after responding to an email, stating that the school would work to serve students who “don’t fit our CMC mold.”
Administrators have essentially become a magnet for protests, but looking at larger issues, college admissions for minorities have grown favorably over past years. According to the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education, black acceptance rates have increased tremendously, more than doubling since 2004 at Columbia University. The trend for other universities follows closely behind Columbia’s, and Berkeley has made efforts to create a more diverse campus, despite a ban on affirmative action.

Because admissions cannot take students’ ethnicity into account, students are viewed more objectively. Some UCs believe this puts black students at more of a disadvantage due to those students often coming from less privileged backgrounds, and UC Berkeley has acted upon this by announcing the African American Initiative, hoping to increase recruitment of underrepresented minorities and increase staff diversity.
However, protests prompting the resignation of many administration staff at colleges have had the effect of putting the blame on the wrong people. Spellman previously counseled hundreds of students, but simply through a badly worded email, she was ousted from her position.

Though it may seem as if staff have been negligent about racial bias on campus, the issue forces the public to address the greater problem of discrimination. Many have failed to realize that it is not the fault of the university administration for racial bias, as efforts have been made to increase diversity and put emphasis on the safety and well-being of students.

It is not possible to create change overnight, which is what many of these protests seem to be expecting, through pushing for the hiring of a more diverse faculty and an increase in minority admissions. It’s not possible for administrators to create a perfect environment for students, but they can put in their best efforts to take care of marginalized students. Discrimination is part of a much larger movement, and faculty at universities have unjustly taken the blame for it.