HSU President Rollin Richmond and Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert Snyder stopped by the Journal office Monday afternoon to palaver on an array of issues. Here are their thoughts on HSU's diversity efforts.
On the diversity report:
Snyder: We're committed to diversifying the campus -- both students and faculty -- and we're committed to closing the achievement gap between under-represented students and majority students. ... The [purpose of the] report was to develop a set of metrics by which we could judge progress at HSU. I think it's a good starting point. Our student diversity is increasing fairly well. The Latino/Hispanic portion of the student body is increasing well.
Richmond: We've been working hard. One of the things we did a couple years ago is set up a Latino peer mentoring program so that junior and senior students are mentoring younger students. Our retention rate from freshmen to sophomore [years] on average is about 75 percent [campus-wide]. The retention rate for a group of mentored Latino students was 98 percent.
Richmond: This is a beautiful place to live. It's a good university. It's less expensive than living down south. I don't understand why we don't retain a lot more students here than we do. ... The thing I think we need to work harder on is recruiting minority faculty and, to some extent, staff.
Snyder: We've restructured the recruiting process. ... We're going to put some efforts in place, and then we'll measure them and see if they're successful. If not, we'll do something else.
On the hate note incident:
Richmond: I think people were genuinely shocked and saddened that it still could happen on our campus. I was very saddened, and made efforts to see if I could convince the person to reconsider and come back.
On the controversial Lumberjack opinion piece:
Richmond: I was frankly surprised that there are still people around who have [the author's] perspective on minorities. I think we do a real service to students by diversifying our student, staff and faculty populations. The world is now a global marketplace, and if you're not able to appreciate a different culture and perspective then you're not going to do as well as you would otherwise. ... We're working to bring in students from all over the world. It's a big advantage to have them here, and I think we have something really good to offer them.