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Minorities want representation and increased diversity at UW

The University of Washington Student Newspaper Friday, October 25, 1996

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Minorities want representation and increased diversity at UW Nova Reeves Daily Staff

UW President Richard McCormick spoke to the Student Advisory Board at the Ethnic Cultural Center Wednesday afternoon.The Student Advisory Board is a group of students representing campus minorities and economically disadvantaged students.At the meeting, student representatives talked to McCormick about the underrepresentation of minority students on campus."We are the speck of dust on a fly, on a pie," said Lisa Nault, a senior in anthropology.McCormick responded to Nault. He said, "I think I agree with your description of the way things are right now. It doesn't have to be that way forever."Nault said more had to be done toward increasing campus diversity. "It's wonderful to espouse diversity, but the bottom line is to back it up with money," she said.Students said creating partnerships among campus groups is a way to work for better minority representation. However, this is often difficult due to the large amount of work that needs to be done and the lack of time in which to do it.Casey Lopez, political science senior, said students she knows are busy mentoring and recruiting minority students in middle and high schools. "I'm trying to get Latinos to come to college," she said.Luis Ramirez, director of the Ethnic Cultural Center and Theater Complex, said access to student government is not as ideal as it may seem. DeAnna Picinich, chair of the board, said, "It's been really hard for us to get representation in ASUW."Ramirez said, "If we just get the same students making decisions, we're not representing the entire campus community." The board also expressed concern over how the technology fee will be spent, and talked about the need to improve computing facilities at the cultural center and for minority students in general. Dan Espinoza, Hispanic student representative to the board, said if the cultural center does not receive new computing resources, it will be difficult to attract new students."We need more students for more computers, but if we don't have computers we can't bring the students," Espinoza said.The ASUW is now deciding how funds collected from the technology fee will be used. Payment of the quarterly $40-per-student fee began this fall. McCormick said students should take their suggestions about the fee directly to the ASUW. He said students should decided how the money is used.Andrina Abada, representative for the American Indian Student Commission, said minority students need to get involved if they want to see change. "Until you build that village, you won't get [change]. You build that village wherever you go," she said.When asked if the struggle for equality and diversity has reached its climax at the UW and if any further expansion of minority programs and services would anger other students, McCormick said both political and court challenges are making change controversial."This is a time not to relax, but to step forward," he said. "The challenge is to beat back those who don't understand the reason behind [the changes]."McCormick said diversity enhances the quality of education for all students. "[Students'] education is better ... and more useful to society."

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