President: U New Hampshire Will Do More on Diversity

May 15, 2017

Students at the University of New Hampshire have called for the administration to make several major changes to show its commitment to diversity and its intolerance for racism.

The students are asking that the university double its number of students and faculty of color, provide diversity training for all university employees, and change the code of conduct so that any student who promotes “racially insensitive” ideas is expelled from the institution, according to Boston.com. Currently, the student body -- which is made up of about 12,000 undergraduates -- is about 3 percent Latino and 1 percent black.

Students made these demands last week, following a series of events that many considered offensive and racially charged. At a Cinco de Mayo party on May 5, a number of UNH students wore ponchos and sombreros. Danique Montique, a sophomore at the university, posted photos and a video on Facebook of fellow students “who chose to demean and appropriate Mexican culture.”

The Facebook post, published the next day, addresses the university directly. “For an institution that claims it encourages diversity, where were you yesterday when we needed you the most? Why do you encourage us to come here? Yet we're forced to defend our existence every day on this campus,” Montique wrote.

“I walked on campus miserable, as if I didn't belong,” she continued. “As a black woman, I was forced to become the very thing society deemed me to be -- angry. What do we have to do for you to hear us? Are we not loud enough?”

Other students of color have recently come forward to the administration with stories of being spat on or called racial slurs by people on campus. They described a tense atmosphere since the 2016 election.

At a forum last week, President Mark Huddleston admitted he needed to do more to make the campus more inclusive.

“Obviously, there are incidents of bias and racism that are absolutely unacceptable -- that for many of us go beneath the surface. They are clearly not going beneath the surface for all the kids in this room tonight,” Huddleston told the Associated Press. “The point of the forum for me was to make sure that all of my team understands that and we do what we can to make it better.”

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