College Protests: What Do They Really Want

The ever useful fivethirtyeight, now focused on sports, has not abandoned other of its interests. Working off a list of demands from fifty-one college campuses, the pollsters have created a graph of the thirteen top demands. Allowing for the vageries of the sources and for the uncertainty of who said what and when, the top five demands are for more resources for "people" diversity on campus along with diversity consciousness: more diverse faculty, more diverse student body, more classes on diversity, and more cultural resources for diversity. The way to that diversity is—diverse. For example, on the issue of more diverse faculty, the author Leah Libresco enumerates the following:

Many schools are a long way from meeting these targets. At Mizzou [University of Missouri], where students demanded that 10 percent of professors and staff members be black by 2017-18, the school would need to hire 400 people to meet that goal. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, black professors (full, associate and assistant) were only 5 percent of the faculty at degree-granting postsecondary institutions in 2013. Hispanics were an additional 4 percent of professors, and Asians and Pacific Islanders made up another 10 percent. (According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, 17 percent is Hispanic and 5 percent is Asian.)

As that rundown suggests even what the protestors may mean by "minority" is—diverse.


Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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