Diversity not just in ethnicity

Students may be seeing a spike in the number of minority students on campus next semester.The admissions office says the number of applications received from minorities is up to 32.9 percent this year, up from last year’s 29.3 percent.

The university is inching closer to ethnic diversity on campus- – something that has historically troubled it.

The number of minority students has been on the rise for a while. In 2006, 18 percent of freshmen were classified as minorities compared to 15 percent of the student body as a whole.

What this slow influx is doing to help the university, though, is not as easily quantifiable.

It’s hard to argue with the fact that admitting more minorities will ultimately increase diversity on campus.

Ethnicity is not the only factor that contributes to diversity, though, even if it is one of the easiest factors to quantify.

The university has been attacked for years over a perceived lack of ethnic diversity.

There are other kinds of diversity that go unrecognized, however.

Bringing in economically diverse applicants can add to the university’s diversity just the same as ethnic diversity.

The university should also continue to draw on all areas of the country and the world for applicants with different backgrounds.

The fact is that a black student from a Highland Park family just isn’t as likely to contribute as many new ideas to the university as a white student raised in a rough neighborhood.

Differences among students like that are almost impossible to quantify, even though they can make a huge impact on the campus’ diversity.

The admissions office certainly has the desire to analyze such differences, but they must be given the room to do so.

It’s time to back off the easily quantifiable forms of diversity like ethnicity and look for students who have the most potential to add new ideas and bring different experiences to the university.

– News editor Andrew Chavez for the editorial board.