What Do Students Think About Diversity At La Roche University?

By Anna Kleinschnitz, Contributing Writer

Seventy-eight percent of La Roche University claims to value diversity, but is that reflected in their survey answers?

La Roche students and faculty took a survey asking their feelings about diversity. This survey defines diversity as the practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds. It also includes people of different genders, sexual orientations, etc.

Out of 1,934 students, faculty, and staff, 100 answered the survey. This number included 32 men, 66 women, and two others. 

Eighty white people, nine black people, four Latinx, one Asian, one Pacific Islander, and five other participated in this survey. The survey asked about race as it pertained to some questions.

Students and faculty filled out the surveys in September.

Participants rated La Roche’s diversity on a scale of one to five; one being “not at all” and five being “extremely.” Fifty-four percent of participants said that La Roche University ranked four out of five on a diversity scale. 

Of the 100 surveyed, 26 percent said La Roche was extremely diverse and 17 percent said that La Roche was moderately diverse. On the other side of this, two percent said that La Roche was slightly diverse and one percent that La Roche was not diverse at all. 

Participants answered how much they value diversity on the same scale; one being “not at all” and five being “extremely.” Seventy-eight out of 100 valued diversity at four or higher. 

According to their answers, a majority of students consider diversity important at La Roche. When asked if they had friends with a different sexuality than their own, 95 percent of participants said yes and five percent said no. 

If they said no to the initial question, they were then asked if they would be friends with someone of a different sexuality. One respondent, a 21-year-old biochemistry major, said, “Yes, because everyone has the right to be with who they want.”

When asked if they had friends with a different race than their own, 97 out of 100 participants said yes and three out of 100 said no.

If participants answered no to the first question, they were then asked if they would be friends with someone of a different race. One of these people was Mark Dawson, accounting professor. He said, “Sure, I just don’t interact with that many people.”

La Roche may not seem particularly diverse, but answers are varied on where the participants come from. Fifty-nine percent of the 100 participants said they grew up in a place they considered diverse and the remaining 41 percent said they did not.

Does growing up in a certain area affect your feelings about diversity? Participants are divided.

Twenty-year-old psychology sophomore Noelle Pina, who grew up in an area she considers diverse, said other things break up the community. 

“I accepted everyone for who they are,” she said, “my high school was judgmental of the place I grew up because they believe everyone there is poor.”

Someone who claimed she did not grow up in a diverse area and was unaffected by this was 18-year-old biology freshman Quinn Hughes.

She said, “No, because social media is extremely diverse.”

La Roche prides itself on being a safe space for people of any creed. Ninety-two percent of participants claimed they were comfortable talking about/embracing their background in their classes at La Roche. 

The remaining eight percent explained why they did not feel safe. Twenty-year-old psychology junior Angel Bennett said, “Out[side] of my specific group of friends, I don’t feel comfortable being out to strangers and talking about being trans.”

Another answer comes from 21-year-old marketing and business administration senior, Alena Matthew. “When I was a freshman, white kids acted like I was a savage because I am from the islands,” she said, “[they said] do you live in huts, can you speak English, [do you] ride iguanas, are you an immigrant, [do you] have electricity?” 

She then said, “This is why I don’t speak in my accent now.” 

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