By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor | Graphs by Rene Thompson and Jonathan Baca
Diversity is one of CNM’s most important gifts, giving our students, faculty and staff the opportunity to learn from a wide range of cultures and backgrounds, and to share our own unique views on the world, said Achievement Coach Monika Monje.
The Chronicle gathered data from official CNM sources to give our readers a snapshot of what our student body looked like in 2012, and how it has changed since 2002.
Monje is part of Inclusive Excellence, a group of CNM staff members whose goal is to promote, educate and encourage diversity among students, faculty and staff, she said.
“I think diversity is great because it brings different perspectives, either to the classroom or to any conversation or discussion. It also provides a safe place for students to feel comfortable, I think it is very important and it’s something that should be recognized across CNM,” Monje said.
Monje is not only interested in promoting tolerance and understanding among our diverse student body, she would also like to see more diversity among the faculty as well, she said.
In 2012, 45 percent of the school’s student population declared themselves Hispanic, and 34 percent declared themselves White, according to the CNM fact book statistics.
In comparison, 19 percent of the faculty declared themselves Hispanic, while 70 percent of them were white, according to the CNM fact book.
Monje said that encourage the recruitment of more diverse faculty, which she thinks would better reflect our student body and increase the number of learning opportunities for everyone.
“We want to make sure that students feel more comfortable here, that this is their community. We want them to feel that this is a safe zone…that they can represent any flag, anything that they want to represent for themselves or whatever group they’re in. And I don’t know if that is present right now,” Monje said.
Monje said that the current faculty and staff receive regular training on diversity issues, and are encouraged to promote tolerance and sensitivity among their varied students.
Achievement coaches have been trained on how to better create a safe atmosphere for LGBT students, and have also been schooled on state bill 582, or the DREAM Act, legislation that was passed to promote higher education for undocumented immigrants, and offers many students a path to citizenship through college education, she said.
“We are moving towards having the staff trained across the board on diversity issues so that they are more aware of student issues, proper language, all of that stuff,” Monje said.
Another group that helps immigrant students is MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), which is a national organization that promotes education and tolerance of Chicano and all other ethnic and social groups, local President and Family Psychology major Oriandi De La Rosa said.
MEChA seeks to “open the doors of higher education (for our communities) and strive for a society free of imperialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia,” according to nationalmecha.org.
“For me diversity is about getting involved and sharing where you are from with different people,” De La Rosa said.
Although many of the immigrant students MEChA helps are Hispanic, De La Rosa said that the group works with people of any nationality, providing them with legal information and directing them to other helpful resources.
“Having opportunities is great, but also hearing the opinions of different people can teach you a lot, and also give you a different perspective from where you’re at and where other people are,” De La Rosa said.
As the CNM student body has grown in the last ten years, our diversity has grown as well, with more Hispanics, more students who are 18 years old or younger, and a closer male-to-female ratio since 2002.
Monje said she hopes diversity of all kinds continues to grow, among students, faculty and staff.
“We are already making strides and moving in a positive direction,” Monje said.