As the class of 2017 entered the doors of Colorado College, they took on the title as the most diverse class in the institution’s history—so far, that is.
Digging through the Catalyst files, I ran across an article stating that the record for an incoming class identifying as American ethnic minorities was at a record high of 27 percent in 2012. In hopes of seeing these numbers rise, I went out on a hunt to see just how diversity has changed over the past year and a half.
According to Jill Tiefenthaler, President of Colorado College, “You can see our student of color numbers going from 15 percent in the incoming class of 2009 to the current year being almost 29 percent.”
The growth does not stop here, however, seeing as our number of international students is also at an all-time high of eight percent.
Colorado College’s admissions team is branching out and recruiting students from not only new high schools all across America, but is even going as far as traveling to countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, in order to engage new audiences,
Tiefenthaler will be traveling to China next week in order to spread the word about Colorado College as well as inform students across the nation. As stated in the 2012 article, she aimed to make increases in a diverse student body a priority coming in to the position.
By branching out to these new places, both nationally and internationally, Tiefenthaler said that, “ [Colorado College] had a 123 percent increase in applicants of students of color for the class that will enter next fall and a 15 percent increase in international applicants.”
These numbers provide hope for expanding the college’s diversity and raising numerical statistics for the years to come.
All numbers put aside, there seems to be a gap that Colorado College is not filling, according to Kadesha Caradine, co-chair of the college’s Black Student Union.
“Even though CC does well at selecting students from around the country as well as around the world, I don’t believe they do a good job at selecting students from similar neighborhoods,” said Caradine. “Many of the students here seem to be from very wealthy areas of their state which, in return, can create a large divide between those from wealthy, middle class, and poor neighborhoods. With that being said, you can look around CC and very obviously see that there is very little diversity when it comes to anything. People even dress the same.”
Student groups such as Black Student Union and Native American Student Union are created not only to inform individuals all throughout the college, but also to comfortably discuss topics not typically addressed in a day-to-day setting.
As for the Office of Minority and International Students, built to engage and integrate students into different activities, Joel Begay, member of NASU, said, “It is very vulnerable and is at its weakest point, which is unfortunate considering the large influx in American Ethnic Minority students.”
“Given the instability and high turnover rate of staff in the OMIS Dept., many student organizations and their student leaders do not have the proper support,” said Begay.
Hopefully, in the years to come, the college can tackle this issue. President Tiefenthaler claims that OMIS is being re-energized, allowing room for much improvement as next year’s class is welcomed.