How diverse is Eastern?

Karyne Allen, Reporter

Inclusion of all types of people in different programs and ways to make them feel included has been a topic at Eastern Illinois University. It is just one place that claims to be “committed to diversity and inclusion” but do those who are part of the community agree to this statement?

Sergio Castro, a junior kinesiology, sport and recreation major, thinks Eastern is “diverse enough in some specific areas.”

Castro said, “I definitely see some more diverse faces, but it in other aspects I also do see the same individuals hanging around so it’s diverse enough in some areas but most of the time, not, as you can see from the statistics online.”

The statistics that Castro is referring to is those of Eastern’s student population which shows how many students go to EIU, what race they are, and what gender is most at the university

Jay Gatrell the future president of EIU has a few ideas to how to improve the diversity.

Gatrell said, “EIU has made and will continue to make strategic investments in resources like the new tutoring center at the GTC, Booth’s Center for Student Innovation, and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences new academic hubs to support Latinx, African American and Asian American & Pacific Islander student communities.”

Gatrell also hopes to make changes to the campus when he is president.

“[I] plan to focus on improving social connectedness and belonging,” he said.

Emerson Gausmann, a music performance major, says they feel as if, “This college tries to appear more diverse than it is, and I would say it’s a very heavily white campus.”

They also acknowledge that this is just “one side of things,” Gausmann said.

They think that EIU is, “trying but sometimes their efforts don’t come up with any results.”

Some students are pointing out that there needs to be improvements made to campus to help with the diversity in the population of students and staff. Connor Mellott, executive vice president of student government said, “I think it’s very diverse, but I do think we could have much more diversity. We’ve been lacking a DEI, [Chief Diversity Officer] for a while that could help things.”

The DEI handles the diversity on campus.

This points out a question to be asked: if there is no DEI officer how are they implementing diversity?

Mellott said, “They try to incorporate DEI into the university through hiring more diverse faculty, getting more students of underprivileged or marginalized groups to come to campus,”

Deonte Williams administrative support to the Civil Rights and Diversity office said, “What I will say in terms of just all diversity, I don’t see many Hispanic people and the only Asian people I see are transfer students, so I wouldn’t mind more diversity… Some of the faculty are people of color, I think that will kind of naturally shoehorn more staff to be diverse and will trickle down to the students.”

The mission that EIU is aiming for is “The University community is committed to diversity and inclusion and fosters opportunities for student-faculty scholarship and applied learning experiences within a student-centered campus culture.”

The question to ask next is how EIU can achieve diversity and what is the best way to do it.


Karyne Allen can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].