Hogan cites opportunity and budget losses to diversity programs
To Linda Hogan, distinguished scholar in residence in the Ethnic Studies department, the issue of diversity at CU seems bleak.
And that is part of the reason why she will be leaving the university.
“You ask how I view diversity at CU?” Hogan said. “What diversity? I walk around and look for brown faces here.”
Hogan will be leaving CU soon to work with her Native American tribe, the Chickasaw, in Oklahoma. She cites the opportunity to work close to her tribe and a lack of benefits due to budget shortages for minority programs at CU as reasons for leaving.
The second minority woman to become a full professor at CU, Hogan said she looks forward to becoming a writer-in-residence with her tribe, as well as being a consultant for the Clemente Humanities Program, a multi-cultural humanities program started in the Yucatan with Mayan Indians.
Hogan’s other projects will include maintenance of a medicine garden, teaching horseback riding and working with teens at risk.
Hogan said CU needs to establish departments dedicated to specific minority groups, such as a Native Studies department and a Chicano Studies department.
“We need faculty, a graduate program, and most importantly, money from the university to show support,” she said. “Hopefully that will happen.”
Albert Ramirez, Ethnic Studies department chair, said he believes there are several different ways to view diversity.
“We know that in terms of students if you compare the numbers of the (minority) students with the demographic of the student population, that there’s a definite under representation,” Ramirez said. He also cited similar imbalances concerning faculty, staff, and administration at CU.
Ramirez said he thinks it is important to combat the over-representation of minority groups in “less dominant positions” on campus.
“I mean the people that clean the kitchens on the campus, and do the lawns, that work in the general maintenance and clean up the restrooms,” Ramirez said.
This imbalance of diversity on campus, coupled with the skewed representation of minority groups in social positions, is a large cause for concern within the Ethnic Studies department, Ramirez said.
Hogan said she believes the campus would be more diverse if more money was dedicated to funding the Ethnic Studies department, bringing in students, and supporting them.
However, Susan Armstrong, office manager in the Ethnic Studies department, seems optimistic about the future of diversity on campus and success within the department. She said she is proud to note an increase in Ethnic Studies majors, with almost half of the department’s nearly 100 majors joined in just the last two years.
Armstrong said that minority students, upon entering CU, often feel intimidated by the overwhelmingly white population. However, she said that the Ethnic Studies department serves as a place of comfort.
“They say that when they are here they feel like family,” Armstrong said of the students.
Ramirez said he strives to explore new parameters of scholarship on campus, and stresses ever-important diversity of perspective and ideas that are brought on by a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds on campus.
“(It’s important to promote) diversity that goes beyond the mainstream of traditional disciplines on campus,” Ramirez said.
This is the first part of an informal series on diversity in academics at CU from the Campus Press.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Spencer Everett at email@example.com.