Diversity at Molloy

By: Richard Staple | News Content Editor | MolloyLife Media

America is getting increasingly diverse every year. Recently, the country has been defined by a series of trends that lend to a variety of ethnicities. According to the US Census Bureau, the two fastest growing populations are those in the Asian and mixed-race community. In fact, it is projected that by the year 2043, America will primarily be populated by people of color for the first time in its history, according to projections from the US Census.

Does that trend correspond with college campuses? Molloy College embraces people of all ethnicities, but that does not mean the feeling is mutual. There is an underlying feeling of alienation within some of Molloy College's minority groups.

Senior student Kayla Gill is the president of Molloy's African American Caribbean Organization, and she had staunch feelings in regards to the school's diversity. "I don't believe that Molloy College is very diverse at all. It is pretty obvious when you look into the classrooms and see a predominantly white class, with a few minority students."

Her observations are supported by ethnicity data that ranges over a decade. In 2007, Molloy College's predominant population were white people at 60.7%. In 2017, the number only moved marginally, shifting to 60.4%. In that same time period, the African American population has seen a noticeable decline, from 19.1% to 11.0%. Due to this fact, Kayla has embraced her demographic much more and seeks to stay close with those of her own race.  

"Joining AACO has helped me embrace my diversity so much more. I was always nervous about embracing my diversity because I am amongst the minority at Molloy College. AACO also helps to create a sense of community, that I never felt before I joined the club." Kayla also added that she does not always feel comfortable communicating with those outside her race in fear of saying something that can be perceived the wrong way.

These concerns about diversity does not only apply to those of African American descent. President of the Asian Student Association, Regina Lasca, shared similar concerns about the lack of representation from her demographic.         

"I think that there is not a large enough representation of Asian Americans on campus. Although there is a club for Asian Americans, the Molloy Asian Student Association, and it is gaining traction on campus, there are not a lot of members yet."             

The Asian student population of Molloy College is even smaller than that of African Americans, as they only made up 7.5% of the school's population as of 2017. This has transferred into an increasing appreciation of how important diversity is. "It is important to obtain diversity because it is a way to grow as a person by developing different perspectives of life by interacting with those from different backgrounds and journeys", Regina added.

Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Janine Payton responded to these concerns by stating that Molloy College remains open to people of all ethnicities, in accordance with the school's mission statement. However, she also acknowledged that it is an ongoing process and there are plans to ensure that all minorities feel welcome.

"We plan to incorporate student leadership initiatives and have roundtable conversations with representatives from minority groups to help enhance the student experience. We even plan to have a Muslim Student Association to welcome them as well. Having representation from all backgrounds is what makes Molloy College a unique place."

The world is constantly changing around us, and diversity is an indicator of the constantly evolving world around us. As for the campus of Molloy College, there is certainly progress, providing platforms for people of all ethnicities to be comfortable with each other.

However, those who are members of those minority groups feel there is plenty of work to be done, and the numbers support it. Many wait for the day when a truly diverse background will be embraced.