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Esther Cepeda: Colleges need to embrace diversity, not exploit it

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Esther Cepeda, a nationally syndicated columnnist for the Washington Post Writers Group, wrote an editorial that has appeared in several newspapers across the country, crediting Dominican University and other Hispanic-Serving Institutions for creating a welcoming environment for Latino students and contrasting this effort with some other schools for which diversity seems to be a marketing tool.

"Schools that have actively worked at being Hispanic-Serving Institutions...have made commitments of time and money in the form of diverse teaching staffs and grassroots outreach to those communiities," she writes.

As a former diversity-scholarship recipient at a prestigious graduate school, Cepeda claims that she felt uncomfortable in the role of "official Latina."

"That is the opposite of how I've felt when observing the warm, nurturing environments of Hispanic-Serving Institutions like Chicago's Dominican University, which is nearly half Latino, about a third white, and 17 percent Asian, black and international.

"On a campus that has made its mission to serve Latinos and other students of color, it's difficult to imagine anyone feeling like they were admitted for the sole purpose of rounding out the life experiences and social interactions of people so rich they've been sheltered from having to get to know people of other races," she writes.