DEMOGRAPHIC Is there anything else you would like to discuss regarding diversity?

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1 DEMOGRAPHIC Is there anything else you would like to discuss regarding diversity? A lot of things I don't have an opinion on because I just don't notice--i have no idea what the religion, sexual orientation, family status, etc. of most of the people in my classes so I have no idea how truly diverse (or not) the GSLIS community is. As a younger student, I often feel that older students are suspicious of me. Diversity is in the eyes of the beholder. Is it getting along with each other, or adding darker skins to the GSLIS community, or saying it is safe to be different? Diversity to me is studying with people of all ages and backgrounds as equals, and learning from faculty with the same varied histories. I think the GSLIS administration is really making this happen, now more than ever. To me, a bigger need is community building, since so many us are part timers who know almost no-one. Events are not structured around getting to know where folks come from as they engage in this LIS/Archives phase of their lives. Perforce, for better or for worse, accents, skin color, and other visible traits are the only diversity recognized and acknowledge. Does it have to be that limited? I have to believe that promoting and acknowledging otherness as well as diversity would greatly enhance everyone's experience. Having more ethnic/cultural activities is a good idea, but most of us work full time and it is hard enough just to get to campus for class, so scheduling stuff during the day is pointless. I've been put off, or at least disappointed, that almost all the scholarship opportunities that have been publicized at GSLIS are for minority students. I'm sure it's intended to recruit minorities, but I wish there were some scholarships for us Caucasians, too. I am a white female, so I feel that my own ethnic background is not undermined...however, it is rarely an explicit topic of conversation and looking around, I definitely notice a paucity of students of color. I wonder how the few students of color and international students feel, I hope they feel welcome but it never seems to come up as we are all working away at our classes. I'd like to open that conversation. I hope this survey does that. 1

2 I appreciate that this discussion has framed diversity in a larger context than just race/ethnicity. There are a lot of different kinds of diversity, and I think that as librarians, it's critical that we attempt to emulate the variety of folks that need the skills we're learning here. I want to be able to help people with all kinds of different needs, and sometimes I get scared that the homogeneity of Simmons GSLIS is going to leave me ill-prepared to do so. We definitely have a problem. I don't experience the concept of a GSLIS community in general. I have never witnessed or experienced any tensions related to the type diversity this survey is referring to. If there is any divide within the GSLIS 'community', it is between day students and night students. I don't think the night students have much interaction with a GSLIS community. I don't know what you mean by 'ethnic/cultural activities,' in question above. In the 6 courses in the program that I have taken so far, there have been only 5 or 6 male students total, and 2 black students total. I did not get to know the black students. I had an experience in a GSLIS class in which an instructor made reference to web sites used by men seeking same-sex relationships. I felt the instructor made unnecessary remarks about the sites. I stopped short of addressing the instructor because I did not want to accuse the person of prejudice. I think it was a case of ignorance or discomfort with the topic. I do feel it's important for faculty to remember that many types of diversity are 'hidden.' When referring to information sources in class, it's important not to dwell on content, or create an atmosphere where some people in class might feel marginalized due to their own choices. For example the instructor made a statement like: 'a lot of gays apparently look at this stuff. Not that I would know about that!' Although certain information sources might seem foreign to some, as information professionals we should never insert our own judgments into what others use I think that's a big part of bringing diversity alive in the classroom. I know of some students with learning disabilities who report feeling slighted by faculty when they seek out extra help; others who feel that a course is too heavily weighted against their disability, and they don't seem to know where to go to address it. One thing that has changed at the college since I started at GSLIS is that the Disabilities Office no longer offers assessments or academic services to graduate students if they don't have a diagnosed learning disability. The program may need to think about how to direct students to receive this help in that absence. Also -- in regards to political affiliation, I have heard from one or two moderately conservative students that they have felt singled out in classes, and I have observed some intolerance for opposition to standard ALA views on children's access to adult materials, the Patriot's Act, and even some less-central current events issues (like the war in Iraq). While I happen to agree with the ALA 'party line' on these issues, I am more ambivalent about whether there should be a party line, and I don't feel that it is the job of any staff, students, or listserv participants to shut down reasonable debate on the issues. I personally believe there is only one race, human. To that end, I have tried to ignore the questions specifying race, and instead answered the ones regarding ethnicity. I do know that people come from different ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds, as well as different countries, but I don't see people as being from differing races. 2

3 I really think that recruiting more ethnic persons would be to the benefit of the school. I think that diversity is something that is wonderful and natural, to try to force it to happen would be unnatural and awkward. I think when diversity happens at GSLIS it is by chance and not as a result of some kind of administrative initiative. I think you are there with diversity. I understand that Simmons is concerned with increasing diversity on campus, but still most students are white. I would love to see more races, ethnicities, and nationalities around campus, and it would go a long way toward increasing diversity, I think, if this school wasn t so expensive! Just my 2 cents. I would like Simmons to find a way to promote diversity without compromising academic standards or invading individuals' privacy. Thanks I would love to hear the faculty and staff's views on this - maybe in an open forum? If we are really serious about diversity then we have to deal with racism and prejudice and effects it has on everyone and we have to actively seek to change it and this has to be on going. 3

4 I'm not sure what ethnic/cultural activities are, but multicultural awareness/service training is a good requirement to add to the core requirements of getting a degree that almost always entails work with the public. In the future- for actually teaching I would like resources for building cultural programs with in the school I will work for. As a volunteer I developed cultural enrichment programs. I would love more resources. It would be nice if there were a group at Simmons for GLBT GSLIS students or grad students in general. Just respect and make it an equal playing field for everyone and diversity will happen. Some outreach in 'minority' majority high schools is needed to get the word out on the field where there is plenty of opportunity, particularly so for minorities. Let s get some diaper changing stations already?! Like I said- GSLIS goes out of its way to try to increase the number of racial minorities in GSLIS and the profession as a whole, but does not address the reality that even those racial minorities in GSLIS are just as upper middle class as most everyone else. The constant stream of announcements from Em Claire informing the entire student body about all of the wonderful scholarships, internships, and job opportunities that are only available to people because of the color of their skin gets to be a bit much. I'm all for promoting diversity, but to be honest, I feel like the entire profession, including Simmons GSLIS, does not want me because of the color of my skin. I've racked up huge debt here, which I would not have needed to rack up, based on the huge number of 'diversity scholarships' promoted, if I had a different skin color. It will be very difficult for me to pay off this debt and still work in the profession, based on the text of job listings, as it seems that institutions do not want me because of the color of my skin. This may not be the case- but it appears to be. It would be great if people from underrepresented racial minorities wanted to join the profession- but if for whatever reason they don't, even after all of the diversity focus in the profession over the past decade, maybe it is time to accept that there are people who want to be librarians and they should not be made to feel like the profession does not want them just because of the color of their skin. 4

5 No No, this covers it. No. Non-Western, non-privileged views on librarianship Nope... Overall, in any organization understanding other cultures is important in helping to express ideas and making it a success. The fact that GSLIS is conducting a survey is proof positive of its commitment to this ideal and for it to be successful. Once again-- I would hope that the push for diversity is matched by a general push for excellence. I have been disappointed by the academic level of the program and so this topic seems somewhat beside the point as far as I am concerned. I feel like Simmons would like to be more diverse. I see flyers for meetings & seminars involving less-well represented groups. But I don't see a lot of results in my classes. I've been in class with about 90 students all total. Less than 10% of them were non-white. I don't really care if white men are not well represented in the classes. They still tend to run most libraries even though they represent a small number of all librarians. 5

6 I have no idea how others in the GSLIS community perceive me. I have been treated with respect, but I don't know how I could know what others' perceptions of me are without discussing that specifically with them, and there has been no occasion to do so. Simmons needs a more collegial atmosphere -- students are too over-burdened and stressed out to become involved with one another and see others as people. And stop reminding us that there is not enough diversity -- people say that around here as if there is some perfect, attainable goal. Thanks for working on this. The community does not embrace older students. The fall 2005 parking ban is VERY unfriendly toward GSLIS students who have family obligations. Some of us who are only taking one daytime class at a time do so because we have children at home and our time is already very tight. Adding more time onto my commute by taking public transportation or by parking offsite is quite daunting. The GSLIS program seems to be 95-99% white females. This is where I see the most diversity problems. The only way to get more racial diversity in librarianship at any level is to increase wages. Minority people who get advanced degrees are not willing or able to work for low wages. This is increasingly true of white women too. Librarians are no longer working just for 'fulfillment', but also to feed their families. There are teachers who resent complying with the ADA and take the requirements out on the student. 6

7 There is an assumption that everyone is a left-wing, anti-government, hate the current administration zealot. When you have smaller discussions with fewer students you realize that this is not true, but due to human nature many people avoid talking about how they really feel about 9/11, the Patriot Act, the President, ACLU, etc. This is also a library problem in general, not just a GSLIS issue. There seems to be little or no effort made to recruit and address students with physical and mental disabilities Yes, I think this is ridiculous that I was asked to fill out this survey that faculty, staff and students will pour over for months and months trying to figure out if every single person is happy and content regardless of their age/gender/etc. What a waste of time and resources. I also know that the fact that I revealed myself to be a Republican will cause 99% of you reading this to cringe/roll your eyes and say, 'That explains it!' But you have to realize that the time and effort being put into this survey can be better applied elsewhere. When it comes down to it, I could care less if I am in a classroom full of African-Americans, transgender or white people. I just want a quality education from qualified professors. Yes, I think this survey is poorly designed. You ask whether I think GSLIS should 'enhance cultural diversity' in a variety of areas. Does that mean do I think should GSLIS promote tolerance? (If so, my answer would be yes.) Or is it asking if I think GSLIS should seek to admit applicants specifically because they meet a category. (My answer is an emphatic NO!) The question is not a valid one because the way it is phrased makes it such that you don't know which question they are answering. And as for diversity at Simmons, I say this. It is evident that being foreign, lesbian, or otherwise diverse is 'cool' at Simmons. Being a white woman living (far) outside the city and raising three children is plainly not valued at Simmons. And that is reflected by Simmons policy itself in the way it schedules classes, doles out parking privileges, fills part time jobs, and handles financial aid. And the saddest part is no one, including Em Claire, is willing to listen to these concerns. These concerns are not 'in' right now. 7

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