By Gabriela Flores
Reporting assistance by Radwan Farraj
Brooklyn College has ranked first for the most ethnically diverse campus in the north region by the U.S. News & World Report. This marks BC’s fifth straight year earning the accolade that considers the total proportion of minority students, not including international students, that formed part of the college’s fall 2021 undergraduate student body. The recognition comes as no surprise to students and faculty, but many opine that it is important for the administration to further support its ethnic diversity.
“We are very much grateful for the diversity, and we’re grateful for the people we’ve encountered,” said Ariscelys Turay, Women of Color’s president. “We’re not saying that we’re not. We’re saying there’s still other stuff that has to be done.”
CUNY’s Baruch, Hunter, Queens, John Jay, and College of Staten Island also followed suit in ranking high for ethnic diversity. With students hailing from 142 countries and speaking over 94 languages, Brooklyn College’s student population has become a hub for ethnic diversity. For some, campus diversity is expected for a public institution that stands in New York City.
“I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I attend this school because a big part of that is a sense of lots of different types of people, lots of different experiences that make me feel stronger and more empowered to go about my day,” said Christopher Arias, the president of Puerto Rican Alliance. “But it leads out to the larger community at large, beyond the campus.”
Though several student leaders embrace the diversity of their peers, some are actively demanding Brooklyn College administrators to provide more funding for ethnic studies and student organizations. Last Monday, Sept. 12, PRA rallied against the ongoing tenured and tenure track understaffing of the Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Department. Organizers demanded PRLS to be properly funded for students’ education and representation.
“I think we’re at a point where we can move past accolades,” said Lexington Rivera, PRA’s club connector. “Oh great, you’re the most diverse campus – what the hell are you doing for the kids?”
For many of the ethnic and cultural organizations that are located in the West End Building, advocating for each other is an important component of who they are on and off campus.
“What we do, in general, all of us being student leaders extends beyond that – it goes to school with us, it goes to work with us, and in the way we live our lives,” said Rivera, noting that the student body’s ethnic diversity has impacted her. “It’s really important for people to have these spaces, and we’ll like to continue to have these spaces.”
Despite the college being recognized for being the most ethnically diverse in the north region for five consecutive years, its diversity has existed for decades and continues to be celebrated by different members of the campus community.
“I first came to Brooklyn College in 1989 and since back then, diversity has been one of its more important pillars of its educational experience and richness,” Jesús Pérez, the director of the Immigrant Student Success Office, wrote to the Vanguard. “The most important factor to keep in mind is how this diversity is celebrated and respected. At ISSO we provide all our resources and programming with respect and dignity to ALL. We value the contributions our students make to our Brooklyn College community and we know that this is an invaluable part of the Brooklyn College educational experience.”