Editorial: You can defend diversity, but can you show it?

This paper thinks it’s unfortunate that society does not find it acceptable for college students to go trick-or-treating at this age. Everyone knows that nothing is more comforting in the days following midterms than candy. However, this has not stopped students from dressing up. Last year, the now-President of the Undergraduate Student Association Rich Kubiak was spotted on the ice at the grand opening of the HARBORCENTER in a giraffe costume (literally, he was spotted). Others won’t forget the Student Programming Board’s two-day Halloween extravaganza in which they first dressed as the Student Life professional staff and graduate students and, then, for the aforementioned hockey opener, the SPBees.

Halloween’s a good time. Everyone loves a good costume. This year’s staff costumes include Charlie Brown, Professor Plum, Violet Baudelaire of A Series of Unfortunate Events fame, a tiger, and many others. As you may have noticed–judging from the number of orange posters around campus–the USA Diversity Board’s “I’m a Culture, not a Costume” campaign is well underway. It’s certainly an important issue on campus, especially with the dialogue on diversity happening here. With Canisius President and former Griffin editor John J. Hurley signing Buffalo’s Opportunity Pledge last week in conjunction with Mayor Byron Brown, it’s important to consider how this will affect our lives as students at the College. Because the campaign focuses on being aware of stereotypes and not perpetuating cultural stereotypes, this paper applauds the Undergraduate Student Association’s attempts to ensure that all are represented fairly and tactfully.

However, this paper wonders why this commitment to diversity is not reflected in the new advertising campaign. If one looks at the various examples available on the Canisius website (be sure not to click on the now near-defunct Campus Programming and Leadership Development page), there is one African American individual that represents diversity at an undergraduate level. Rather, many of the minorities were seen as being helped by Canisius students on various service trips. This paper does not seek to demean the efforts of those portrayed in the campaign, nor does it wish to diminish the promotion of many of the opportunities to undergraduates at this institution. Yet, it’s important to note that the diversity that this campus offers–while not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination–is not represented in the face we present to the world at large. What does this say about our commitment to diversity?

This paper does not wish to suggest that we sacrifice content just to appear more diverse, but it would like to see a larger range of students represented. As a small college, we are lucky to have so many opportunities offered to so many, and students of all sorts take advantage of these opportunities and do great things. Why isn’t that shown? It’s an inauthentic showing to not have this represented.

So we have “You Can,” why not show who can?


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