Last week in his blog, Provost Robert Groves tackled the issue of diversity, pledging to work on bringing more diversity and unity to Georgetown’s campus. He mentioned the release of the Student Commission for Unity report in 2009 which launched President John J. DeGioia’s Initiative on Diversity and Inclusiveness.
Noting progress in areas such as hiring more diverse faculty, larger and more diverse applicant pools, and the creation of a Diversity Fellows program, Groves applauded Georgetown’s previous efforts in the area.
However, he stated that more could still be done and said at the end of his post: “a great university’s work is never done in this domain. We must work together and continually renew and recommit ourselves to these efforts.”
The Provost’s blog is just one way in which Groves hopes to have student input during his time at the university. Last week students received an email from the Provost’s office inviting them to apply to the Provost’s Student Advisory Committee, where students will meet with the Provost once every month or so to discuss issues facing the university.
Many students in their comments on the blog have commended this choice, and from the responses on the blog, it appears that the Provost will have many students interested in discussing issues such as diversity with him.
While commenters on the post were in favor of bringing more diversity to campus, they pointed out that the progress that the Provost mentioned was not actually very successful.
As student Antony López commented, “The recommendations from the SCU reports are far from being accomplished, much less initiated.”
Zenen Jaimes (SFS ’13) agreed, saying that he remembered when the SCU report came out and that the response was not adequate. “There is a real feeling by many students that the university is not as engaged with issues of diversity as it can be and only reacts when there is a problem such as attacks against LGBT students, racist publications by The Hoya, or the defacing of posters put up by cultural groups.”
Other students mentioned that in addition to the lackluster university initiatives, a culture on campus also persists in which people mainly socialize with others of their same ethnicity.
“I am a senior – and a white male – and am only now realizing the extent to which I have limited my growth and my experience here by failing to actively seek out, learn from, and build loving relationships with those whose backgrounds and identities are different from my own,” wrote Joe Donovan (SFS ’13). “I believe that this self-segregation means that we as a whole are cheating ourselves out of the most beautiful and worthwhile parts of what Georgetown could and should be.”
Most commenters commended the Provost on his commitment to diversity but also made sure to emphasize that they hoped to see true progress as far as hiring more diverse faculty and creating cultural studies departments within the university. As of now, many students have applied to be on the advisory committee. This is the first Provost in Georgetown’s history who has created such a forum for student-provost interaction.