Admission brochures are full of “diversity” photos. But until colleges can promise inclusiveness on campus, such representation is unethical, says Ashley Park CM ’25. (Ella Bradley • Student Life)

Sometimes it can feel like the most diverse place on campus is in the piles of brochures and flyers that sit in the admissions buildings, ready to convince prospective students and parents of the awesome diversity academic. And while it’s certainly great to see students of color in academia being recognized and represented rather than treated as if they’re invisible, it’s easy to feel conflicted about representation.

In 2020, Claremont Colleges engaged in various initiatives to promote inclusiveness National outrage after the tragic murder of George Floyd. Still, there is still work to be done when it comes to creating an inclusive environment on campus. Seeing your face plastered on marketing materials for an institution you don’t necessarily feel supported by can be psychologically damaging to students and undermine the inclusivity sought by the 5Cs. To ensure minority students feel the effects of Claremont Colleges initiatives to increase inclusivity, colleges must address and remedy the current trend of intentionally seeking out students of color or “diverse” groups of students. for school photographs.

Minority students spoke out about this unequal representation – often more so than their white peers. A related study found that members of minority groups tended to be significantly less supportive of overrepresentation compared to other types of representation. Meanwhile, the negative effect of minority overrepresentation was not detected among members of the majority group, suggesting that while overrepresentation of minorities may comfort white audiences, it tends to have the effect reverse on minority students whom diversity efforts should serve.

The negative impact of this overrepresentation is not limited to students already on campus, but also extends to prospective students who consult the brochures. For many minority students, diversity is a major criterion in choosing their future college. A report on higher education revealed that the diversity of a college campus and its attitude toward inclusivity has a direct impact on minority student retention rates.

In other words, when a prospective minority student is misled about the on-campus environment for students of color, he is effectively jeopardizing his likelihood of graduating from said college. If Claremont Colleges wants to create an environment where students from all backgrounds can succeed, they must ensure that the air of inclusion on campus matches the image of diversity on the brochure.

Increasing courses, grants, and research regarding racial justice were all incredible initiatives undertaken by the 5Cs in 2020 to foster inclusivity at the institutional level; however, cultural and racial inclusivity is harder to foster on a social level, and the 5Cs still have a long way to go on this front.

The fact that photographers seem to have to explicitly look for students of color at school functions reveals that while campus may be diverse, on-campus events often aren’t. Cultural parties and dances hosted by affinity groups are nice, but there needs to be a more conscious effort to make every party and event inclusive, not just those allocated specifically for the POC. Minority students on campus deserve to feel safe at all campus events.

One solution with long-term impacts that Claremont Colleges can undertake to impact inclusiveness would be to increase accurate representation at the admissions level. Understanding what is at stake when colleges cheat potential students, the 5Cs should ensure that all admissions and marketing teams are staffed with at least one diversity, equity, and diversity professional. inclusion (DEI). Having a DEI agent participate in projects such as brochure graphics can ensure that not only the outcome, but also the process of creating the brochure, is inclusive and respectful of students of color.

The answer to students of color’s call for better representation isn’t building a reputation for diversity — it’s building a deliberate culture of inclusion. And until minority students can say with confidence that they feel their campus is inclusive, then the “diversity paparazzi” must wait their turn.

Ashley Park CM ’25 is from Claremont, CA. She loves the outdoors, watching “Community” and finding the perfect late-night snack.