The University of Prince Edward Island often touts diversity as a selling feature to bring students to UPEI but underneath the faÃ§ade how diverse is UPEI really?
The students on campus represent a variety of faculties, ethnicities, cultural backgrounds, genders, and sexual orientations; and while racism, discrimination and homophobia are present it is, for the most part, a safe place for students to be.
On paper UPEI seems pretty diverse but is it inclusive?
We spend millions of dollars on new buildings, amalgamating departments that were separated years ago as new â€œschools ofâ€, and yet when it comes to International students, which albeit has funding from the university for the International Relations Office, we charge students more to attend, much like other universities, but then require them to take English language courses that they have to pay for but do not receive credit.
We claim GLBT diversity but then donâ€™t have gender neutral washrooms, which would benefit all students, in accessible places (such as the library).
We claim to Honour the First Nation land that weâ€™re on, but then donâ€™t fund the Mawi’omi Centre.
We claim inclusion for students with disabilities, but donâ€™t have enough space for them to write exams.
We claim Diversity, but donâ€™t have direct funding for the Student Diversity Office.
We brush aside the fact there are students on campus who canâ€™t afford to eat.
We celebrate â€œMental Health Diversityâ€, by telling the good stories, the success stories, the â€œyou can make a differenceâ€ stories, which are important, but we seem to brush aside the stories of people who are not doing okay, who are struggling, who donâ€™t know if theyâ€™re going to make it.
Diversity isnâ€™t just about having students from different countries, with different skin tones, different sexual orientations, different needs.Â Diversity is about having an inclusive space for students, a place that acknowledges and supports the actual diversity of students.
Iâ€™m just saying, if youâ€™re going to claim and throw around the term â€œdiversityâ€, you should be able to back up that word and in my opinion UPEI canâ€™t.