Not So “Fast” – A Case Against Campus-Wide Meatless Fridays

NickDefaultNick Wallace ’14

The Lenten season is now upon us. As a non-Catholic, I was only reminded of this when I tried to order a Bacon, Egg, and Cheese from the on-campus Dunkin Donuts this past Wednesday (Ash Wednesday) before being told by the cashier, “I am sorry sir. We are not serving meat today.” Sure enough, when I walked into Ray Hall later that evening, signs read, “Just a reminder: Providence College is a Catholic School and will not be serving meat on Ash Wednesday and all Friday’s during Lent.” While my personal biases may be to blame, I simply think it is preposterous for the school to refuse to serve meat on Fridays. The way I see it, it is one of the ways PC enforces their religious preferences on the student body. I have tried to convey this idea to multiple people. Friends, family, and acquaintances alike have given me numerous explanations for the school’s policy, proclaiming I would just have to suck it up. In my attempt to explain my point of view, I refute a number of their pronouncements below:

“Providence College is a Catholic School, and therefore has a right to uphold Catholic traditions like not serving meat on Fridays during Lent.”

This is probably the most common response I receive when I argue my point of view. However, it is also the response I find to be the most flawed. Would the same logic be appropriate if PC decided to tell their LGBT students or faculty to rethink their sexual orientation? While the Catholic Church has officially argued homosexuals should not be discriminated against, their position against marriage equality shows that they certainly do not condone the lifestyle. PC would never be able to get away with attempting to convince its LGBT members to reconsider their sexual orientation, not engage in homosexual acts, or to understand how homosexuality violates biblical teaching. It would cause national controversy.

If you think I am taking the whole “Catholic School” issue out of context, let me use a couple of examples that are much closer to the issue at hand. My understanding is that on Ash Wednesday, Catholics are supposed to both receive ashes and fast until a certain time. Following the logic that Providence College is a Catholic School and has the right to enforce Catholic doctrine, PC should also be allowed to force students to receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. More, PC should be allowed to close all dining halls until dinnertime, being that according to AmericanCatholic.org, “All Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.” My guess is that not many students here at PC would be keen to the idea of the school forcing them to receive ashes or refuse to open to dining halls to enforce fasting.

PC doesn’t require these things; they know that they cannot get away with them. It would cause uproar amongst the student body. But if you argue that PC has a right to uphold the doctrine of the Catholic Church, realize that you must also agree that PC should be allowed to enforce ALL of Catholic doctrine. Gays convinced to change their lifestyles, no eating until dinnertime on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and no meat on Fridays during Lent. These three are one in the same. If you are willing to grant the college the right to do one, (based on the fact that PC is a Catholic School) you are granting the right for the college to do all three.

Furthermore, providing meat on Friday’s does not force Catholics to eat it. Some people refute this by saying, “If I see meat, I will be tempted to eat it.” Isn’t Lent supposed to be all about temptation? You give something up that is important to you in order to realize the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice for you. It is supposed to be hard, and you are supposed to think about it often. Having no meat available to students just makes it easier for them to abide by Roman Catholic law. Is it really a sacrifice if you have no access to it? A “good” Catholic will resist the temptation to eat meat whether it is readily available or not.

“Providence isn’t the only school that does it. Other Catholic School’s have the same policies.”

Not so fast. After hearing this affirmation, I did some quick research on the dining hall websites of schools that PC likes to compare itself to. (I specifically looked at Villanova, BC, Holy Cross, Notre Dame, and Fairfield) After examining the policies of serving meat in Fridays during Lent of these other schools, only Fairfield had a policy similar to PC. That’s right; every other school mentioned above had meat on the menu this past Friday, February 15th. While some Catholic schools choose not to serve meat on Fridays, some, believe it or not, actually do.

“If it bothers you so much, go off campus to eat on Fridays.”

Don’t worry, I do. Big Tony’s can count on my roommates and I ordering Gangster Wraps every Friday from now until Easter. However, what about those students who have the unlimited meal plan? Although many students here tend to order out on the weekends anyway, presumably, an unlimited meal plan means that every single meal can be eaten at Ray Hall. If that’s the case, the school should do more to accommodate people with different dietary needs. For example, what about a student who is trying to lose weight? Grilled chicken, along with other lean meats, is a great low-calorie source of protein. Salmon and tuna are too, of course. But what if I don’t like fish? What if I am allergic to fish? How many times can I eat fried cod at Ray without going insane? The school should be providing healthy options for students with all types of dietary needs. By refusing to serve meat on Fridays during Lent, PC is not accomplishing this goal.

“You chose to come to this school. If eating meat on Friday’s was so important to you, you should have gone somewhere else.”

Fair enough. I will concede to this assertion. I understand that when I officially became a student at PC I signed away some of my civil liberties that I would usually receive at a secular school. No one is claiming to be discriminated against under this policy. However, my points listed above should take precedent. More, I did not come to Providence College for religious reasons. Actually, I wasn’t aware that PC did not serve meat on Friday’s during Lent until Ash Wednesday of my freshman year.  It certainly wasn’t mentioned on my tour with the Friars Club. When it came down to deciding which school to attend, PC offered me a prestigious education that was affordable and somewhat close to home. Religion had nothing to do with it.

I realize that it is only a select number of days that I have to deal with PC refusing to serve meat on Fridays. I know it’s not going to kill me. But this policy has much broader implications. It is a clear example of Providence College enforcing the views of the Catholic Church on the students, faculty, and staff. While us non-Catholics suffer, it is important to realize how this topic directly relates to my last Friarside Chat on diversity. As outlined in my last article, the homogeneity of Providence College goes beyond skin color. A majority of students are white, Catholic, and from middle and upper class families. By refusing to serve meat on Fridays, Providence College is simply favoring its majority population. Subsequently, it may be pushing away potential students who feel like the views of the Catholic Church are being imposed on them.

Often, people rant about an issue they find alarming, but never offer a solution to the problem. I understand that my viewpoint may not be in the majority. But here is what I propose to try and appease both sides:

On Friday’s during Lent, Providence College should continue to not serve meat in Raymond Dining Hall, which serves as the main Dining Hall on Campus. In Alumni Cafeteria, Sandellas, and Dunkin Donuts, meat options should remain as they usually do during the week.

As a non-Catholic who wants his meat, I would be very happy with this policy. It is a simple compromise. For those Catholics who are afraid to be “tempted” to eat meat by after seeing it the solution is simple, only eat in Raymond Hall. It provides both meat and non-meat options here on campus during the Lenten season.

In no way, shape, or form am I trying to argue that Providence College needs to become a more secular school. I understand it is trying to maintain its religious integrity. While I find it a bit weird and creepy that Jesus Christ literally stares down at me in every classroom from a crucifix, I have gotten used to it. If a priest leads a prayer before class and during invocation at Student Congress, I remain respectfully quiet but disengaged. While I strongly disagree with the fact that Providence College refuses to provide students with access to contraceptives, I understand they are trying to uphold their Judeo-Christian values. But refusing to serve meat on campus isolates those of us who are not Catholic. It is a clear example of how PC enforces its views on the student body, and this has no place at an institution of higher education. I’m neither in religious or marriage preparatory classes; I am in an academic setting. While PC requires each student to take two theology classes, I am mature enough to know that I am not required to believe it; it is simply an alternative point of view. Moreover, most professors reiterate the fact that I do not have to believe, but instead only comprehend. The no meat on Friday’s policy, however, relates to my personal lifestyle choices and is a direct way of forcing me into a certain behavior.

Tim Morris Writes ‘For Cowl & Country’ From London

-Guest Chat-

Tim Morris ’14

This piece is in response to Hannah Howroyd’s latest Friarside Chat and Fr. Shanley’s campus-wide email regarding Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s scheduled visit and lecture.

As an editor myself, I feel that I speak for The Cowl when I say that this a dilemma we constantly face. It’s all too easy to find one’s own source of local, national, or international news these days – all it takes is a quick Google search. It’s tough for the student-run newspaper of a small, liberal arts college to compete with the Internet (which we ourselves use to supplement our stories) and with long-standing, professionally-run newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. While I was not a part of this decision-making process, I am sure that the placement of the Tinder article had a lot to do with what the editors felt would connect with the Providence College community. It is already a struggle to attract the attention of a crowd that typically digests information in 140-character bursts. In addition, The Cowl shares an intimate bond with PC that no other newspaper can. It’s run by our students, for our students. As trivial as a story might be, it reels the average Friar in because it offers a personal connection. But this is besides the point. Hannah hits the nail on the head when she emphasizes the passion that goes into writing for The Cowl. It is a service that demands a lot of time and effort. Tensions can run high when editors and writers have to balance their coursework with a weekly issue. The satisfaction that we take from seeing a student in Ray – sandwich in one hand and The Cowl in the other – is all we need. No doubt, we’re passionate about what we do, and we’re passionate about the issues that affect PC.

Recently, after receiving an email from the administration regarding Sen. Whitehouse, I recalled Nick Wallace’s piece on diversity. For a college so concerned about the make-up of its student body, I found the complaints to be ironic. I am not oblivious to the fact that Providence College is a Catholic institution. Still, how can we expect to tackle the problem of racial diversity when we cannot accept diversity of thought? Even if Sen. Whitehouse were speaking on abortion (which he is not), I would still allow him on campus. What is the harm in dialogue? How can Providence College hope to prepare its students for the real world when it is hesitant to open itself up? If our school is as secure in its Catholic identity as it ought to be, there is no threat posed by an alternative opinion. I applaud the administration’s decision to allow Sen. Whitehouse to speak, but its hesitancy suggests a lack of full commitment to the idea of promoting diversity. Let those opposed to Sen. Whitehouse (and other future speakers) express their opinions, but don’t balk over every obstacle that comes in our way.

Tim Morris studies English and Economics, and is an editor for The Cowl. He is currently spending his Junior year abroad at the London School of Economics. We sincerely look forward to his repatriation.

“Tangents & Tirades” … Maybe Just A Tirade

HannahDefaultHannah Howroyd ’13

Maybe it’s due to the age-old collegiate dilemma of procrastination mixed with the availability of a parent’s HBO account (broke undergrad here) but I’ve been watching a lot The Newsroom lately and it has gotten me thinking: is what we are reading holistic, enriching or in anyways untainted?  Aaron Sorkin may be talking nation-wide, even universal, in his call to arms for a return to respectable reporting; however this message can hit as close as Huxley Ave. This special edition of “Tangents & Tirades” has a simple message to on-campus publications: REPORT THE NEWS.

Colleges used to be a hotbed for social change. The preceding collegiate generation of our parents saw active and influential roles in the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam War protests, and general hunger for reform. Now what is newsworthy? Of what is it that the average PC student should be well-read? Look no further than the front page of The Cowl to find a salient article on Tinder (Tinder?! Really, Cowl?! ). In today’s day and age “bursting the PC bubble” is now only capable via a steamy iPhone app.  Students’ exodus from campus and interaction with the world outside PC gates can only be actualized with essentially a “hot or not” game?

I know that there is no journalism degree offered here; and for most of The Cowl’s staff writing is a passion project where—and I can respect this—long uncredited hours are spent. And I’m not expecting any Pulitzer-Prize-in-Journalism ambitions here. But wouldn’t these long hours be better utilized for something other than fluff?

As many of you who follow Friarside Chats are well aware, there has been much controversy and ensuing dialogue surrounding an article from last week’s Cowl publication. Though I believe Nick Wallace got it right as a “swing and a miss,” I can applaud the original piece for at least stepping up to the plate. My tirade here lies not in the fact that the publication started a forum on diversity— a rather pertinent topic at PC nowadays—but in the limited scope of perspectives such vital matters are explored through. When there is a two (or more) sided discussion, it tends to be carried out in a multi-week hostile dialectic in which one side consistently gets to speak first (with larger word limits and graphics for that matter). The opposing view’s arsenal is limited to a letter to the editor.

With such power comes great responsibility. As the body at the helm of campus media, you should encourage discussion, foster a debate, and pose questions that force us PC students to reevaluate our apathy. Don’t reinforce the insularity, insouciance, and torpor that PC currently generates.

-End of rant-

Quote of the Day

mhagandefaultMichael Hagan ’15

Let’s give credit where credit is due- Father Shanley told it how it is with this line in his email to the school community today about US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s upcoming visit to Providence College:

“I do not believe that any reasonable person could argue that the opinion of a sitting senator on the state of Congress is not academically valuable.”

For those who don’t know, Senator Whitehouse will be delivering a lecture entitled “An Effective Congress for the 21st Century” this Friday at 6:30 in the Smith Center Concert Hall. A reception will be held before the lecture in the Bowab Theater at 5:45.

I am relieved that our school will not bend to the misguided calls of some community members to bar the Senator from sharing his valuable perspective simply because some of his views do not align with the teachings of the Church. I wholly respect that Fr. Shanley publicly acknowledges his deep disagreement with Whitehouse on certain matters. While I do not believe a campus-wide email should have been necessary (this should be a non-issue), I applaud Fr. Shanley for hitting the nail on the head. Right on, Shan-Man! Keepin’ it real!

Generation Golden Rule: Can Taking into Account Someone’s Race Be Justified?

-Guest Chat-

Jenn Giffels ’14

I was raised in the Age of the Golden Rule. I think some people also refer to us as Generation Y, but I feel confident characterizing my upbringing by this one looming decree, this incessant reminder: Treat others the way you want to be treated. This mantra was hung in my classrooms, repeated at the dinner table, and reinforced in literature all throughout my childhood.

My parents never told me before I went off to school, “Jennifer, some kids in your class are going to be different. They’re not going to be white, Catholic, economically stable, and of Irish descent. You still have to be nice to them, though.” My teachers did not warn us, “Now, class, here in a New England suburb we are lucky to have such great schools. Be sympathetic of those you’ll meet who didn’t have this privilege.” Pointing out differences first, then telling us to be nice due to these differences results in a condescending, pitying attitude. I was not taught that I should be nice to others because they are different; I was taught that I should be nice to others because they are the same as me: we are all human. If I did happen to notice something “different” about someone, I was to be nice to him in spite of that difference. After all, I would not want someone to be cruel to me because of my hair color or the way I talk. Thus, the Golden Rule: simply being respectful because you would want to be treated the same way if you were in that person’s shoes.

I was taught that I shouldn’t make judgments about people when I first meet them, and I was never instructed to group people by race, ethnicity, or any other feature evident upon introduction. I learned that discrimination means acting differently towards someone because of a certain characteristic he has or a certain trait he embodies. To this day I maintain the belief that I will not act differently towards anyone because of a superficial quality, but this belief has not gone unchallenged.

Spare me a minute to explain one of these examples. I work as a hostess in a restaurant. On weekends, holidays, and other busy days we open up our private function rooms to use for general seating to allow more room for guests. Some guests love being seated in these rooms and enjoy the quiet atmosphere, while others feel like they are being shunned from the livelier, more chaotic main dining room. As hostesses, our only concern with seating people is making sure we evenly distribute them among the servers. A few Fridays ago, I brought a couple to a table in one of these back rooms; since it was early in the night they were the first guests to sit back here. As do many curious guests, they wondered why they were being sat in the back room, and then asked to be moved. I brought them to another table without an issue and thought nothing of it, until my manager came up to me. “You have to be careful with seating African-Americans in the back rooms, especially when they’re the first guests in there. I know you meant nothing by it, but sometimes they think it’s because we are trying to hide them.”

After I realized my manager was indeed serious, I couldn’t stop thinking about this for the rest of the night. Did these people really think I was being racist? I mean, it’s the twenty-first century! I’m a Global Studies major, I pretend to be fluent in Spanish, and I have plenty of non-Caucasian friends and colleagues. Alas, I was witnessing first-hand the effects of the disgusting discrimination suffered to this day by people in our society. These guests assumed I was being racist because I am a white female working in a fine-dining establishment located in a majority-white suburb, seating them in the back room.

Think about this scenario, and tell me if you don’t find it troubling. By not being discriminatory, racist, or judgmental in any fashion, by not even registering these people’s skin color, I offended them. My manager then asked me to pay attention to race next time and make a decision based on their race. While my actions with these guests were a result of not taking race into consideration, I am being told I should actually factor it in next time. This did not and does not settle well with me.

This is why I at first had my qualms with a diversity policy, with a plan to deliberately target people because of certain characteristics and encourage them to come to PC. I, like many other people in this debate, certainly do not think someone should be accepted, elected, preferred, or prioritized due to race, ethnicity, sexual preference, political belief, religious views, and the list goes on. But by the same token, no one should be denied because of these, or further suffocated by our society because, for example, his race has been historically discriminated against in the workforce and now his parents do not earn sufficient income to afford a school like PC. Before you jump to blaming the diversity initiative for “taking your spot,” though, take a minute to think that your spot just as easily could have been “taken” by someone from a wealthy family, whose parents can afford to pay full tuition for four years. You also probably had a higher high school GPA and better free throw percentage than this well-off individual can claim.

So with the intention of not discriminating at all, PC should not assume characteristics of its student body because this de facto creates an in-group. And because this in-group mentality tempts students and faculty to shelter themselves within a small, “privileged” PC community, I think diversity measures are in order. They are in order so that everyone feels welcome at our school, so that there is no such thing as being “different” or an “outsider,” so there will be a rich, inclusive culture.

Allow me to provide another brief example. A friend of mine was sitting in Civ the other day listening to her professor introduce the book they were about to start reading. Paraphrased, his statement went something like this, “The text we’re about to read will seem foreign to you at first, kind of like reading a Buddhist text about the right path to Nirvana.” The professor made an unfair judgment about everyone sitting in that class, and however harmless or funny he meant his statement to be, the fact of the matter is that there was at least one Buddhist sitting in that room, my friend, for whom Buddhist texts are not foreign but actually very close to home. Furthermore, anyone who has taken our school’s World Religions course would also have been familiar with the beliefs of Buddhism. A simple and seemingly innocent situation, yet with far-reaching implications.

I am a believer in diversity, but not at the expense of pointing fingers at the “diverse” and labeling them as people who would “contribute to diversity.” What does that even mean? They are still being categorized and used for a certain purpose. I would like to see our school become more diverse so that everyone feels welcome here and so that we can all become more knowledgeable and aware of the many different traditions, customs, and lifestyles that make up our society.

Diversity extends beyond campus gates as well, and our responsibility continues into the community in which we reside and upon which we have an impact. We cannot truly brag about our “commitment to community service” until we make many more true and meaningful connections with the city of Providence and its neighborhoods. I certainly am not proud when I talk with kids from local Providence high schools who think they have no chance of being accepted to PC. When I bring them to tour campus, I struggle as I watch them wondering whether they would “fit in” with the hoards of white, wealthy students they see in every corner.

Finally, I would like to address the common rebuttal, “Well I happen to be white, but I worked for every single good grade I received and therefore I deserve the spot at this school regardless of my race.” I admittedly was quick to defend this logic for the longest time, until a few select experiences in college showed me a stark reality. Yes, I undeniably put a lot of effort into my work through high school and continuing now in college; I sacrifice sleep on the majority of nights and squander money on cups of coffee… and darn it, I deserve this, right? Well, sure, but it’s not a stand-alone argument. I have to acknowledge and factor in the support, guidance, and tutelage of my teachers and parents, for without a loving family, nutritious dinners, and a warm bed to go home to every night, I would not be in the same position. Without access to newspapers and television at home, textbooks and qualified teachers in the classrooms, the safety of the school playground, and many other fortunate circumstances, there is absolutely no denying I would not have had the same opportunities when it came to choosing a college. The playing field is not level, my friends, and even if someone with a lower GPA “got my spot” at some other school, he very well may have earned better grades than I given the same circumstances.

Diversity, in my eyes, is actually more in line with the core beliefs of Providence College as a Catholic institution than the rather homogenous community that has developed since its founding. One of the most fundamental and humble instructions from the Church is found in the Gospels, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” (from both Matthew 7:12 and Luke 6:31; the exact translation varies depending on which version you reference). I think we may have just found scriptural proof for working to end the secluded, exclusive reputation of Providence College and for encouraging diversity in order to make everyone feel welcome. I just hope that in working to do so we do not inadvertently make our differences more pronounced.

Jenn Giffels is a Junior Global Studies and Spanish double major, and is spending the spring semester abroad in Argentina.

We Don’t Know The First Thing About Diversity

mhagandefaultMichael Hagan ’15

My headline is my thesis- bold claim, right? Providence College is one of many racially and culturally homogenous crossroads of people of privilege in the northeast. Privilege is an enormous spectrum unto itself, and it has various sources. Some privilege is a free gift, and some privilege must be fought for and earned. Privilege is not inherently advantageous. It can be a burden. It can be abused.

The phenomenon known as “white privilege” is, to our country’s shame, a thing. It is true that well over 76% of the Providence College student body has benefitted in varying degrees from it. We white folks tend to attract more friendly waves than suspicious glares from law enforcement and security personnel in public places. We can speak improperly, drive poorly, and receive public assistance; no one attributes these to our “whiteness.” Forty-three white men have served as President of the United States; not one of them has been accused of winning “just because he’s white.” From job interviews to airport security, from customer service to criminal justice – white privilege is real.

As established, privilege is not inherently advantageous. The conveniences that come with white privilege have, do, and will hurt us all no matter our race. Diversity initiatives at Providence College are how we seek to avert further damage from systematic injustices. We all too commonly think that the purpose of such initiatives is to compensate for past mistreatment. It’s not about reciprocity; it’s about the social vitality of this community. Until we realize that our goal must be greater than righting history’s wrongs, we don’t understand “diversity.” Diversity is not a gift from white people to minority populations; it is something that we must achieve together through concerted efforts. The Priory, the Office for Multicultural Activities, BMSA, and the Chief Diversity Officer might understand this, but until the student body does as well, Providence College does not know diversity.

We put our misunderstanding of diversity on display in our speech, behavior, and every so often in print. The article “Diversity: More than Skin Color” from this past week’s Cowl is such a display. From ignoring white privilege to relying on the outdated term “colored,” the article reflects an ingrained and reinforced misunderstanding. The use of the term “diverse” as though it can be properly applied to individual students (“This would not be outrageous if diverse students earned the scholarships”) reflects this misunderstanding. The student body is not made up of “diverse people” and “un-diverse people” as the author contends. The Providence College community is the subject of “diverse,” and only by a community can diversity be possessed. Diversity is something we must actively participate in to possess; to use a theologically loaded term, it has much in common with “communion” in this sense. We will be reluctant to participate in diversity if we do not understand it; once we understand, we would be foolish not to participate.

In this regard, I agree with the author from the Cowl because she applauds the emphasis on teaching diversity. Teaching diversity will hopefully compel students to shed misinformed beliefs like the ones she expounded last week. Teaching is so critical to diversity initiatives, because presently it is clear that we as a student body don’t know the first thing about diversity.

Cowl Swings and Misses at PC Diversity Plan

NickDefault

Condemnation of Diversity Initiatives Reflects Misunderstanding

Nick Wallace ’14

Diversity is a hot topic here on campus. As described in a commentary article from the latest circulation of The Cowl, Providence College is taking many steps to improve the diversity of the student body. “Diversity” is now one of the five core values of PC’s Strategic Plan, and the school recently hired its first ever Chief Diversity Officer. As the Cowl article proclaims, it is indeed the truth that “diversity is more than skin color.” However, to assert that there is no need for Providence College to have a commission focused on improving diversity is ludicrous.

First, it should be noted that in the landmark Supreme Court Case Bakke v. University of California in 1978 the court ruled that affirmative action was constitutional, but also outlawed the use of all quota systems. Therefore, to suggest that Providence College’s objective to improve diversity may involve a quota system is simply misinformed.

Moreover, the author of the commentary piece explains her disillusionment in the schools affirmative action plan:

In order to assist diverse students, PC currently offers the Multicultural Scholarship Program. This program offers scholarships “designed for ethnic and cultural minorities.” These scholarships are “intended to be four-year scholarships to assist incoming students of color.” This would not be outrageous if diverse students earned the scholarships only because they are intelligent and well-rounded, not because they are colored.  A student should not receive a special award because of his or her skin color. The civil rights movement was started for reasons just like this. Again, imagine if a scholarship was given to someone merely because he or she was white.

This contention would be valid if whites and minorities received the same opportunity to succeed prior to attending college. Sadly, this is simply not the case. While us white folks may be skeptical of affirmative action because we feel credit is due where credit is earned, there is no denying that empirically speaking, minorities tend to have lower incomes and lower levels of education than many in the white majority. It follows that many minorities may not have the money to send their child to a private prep school or pay for an SAT tutor. As a result, a hierarchal social pyramid has developed here in the United States, in which (generally speaking) white people are afforded significantly more advantages than minorities. Therefore, whites are already at an advantage just by being white; they don’t need to be given any special scholarship to prove it. This type of social ordering is disgusting, and to combat these realties, more opportunities need to be given to minorities, hence the reason why scholarships strictly for “people of color” exist.

The author also alleges, “This [the giving of scholarships to students based on race] would not be outrageous if diverse students earned the scholarships only because they are intelligent and well-rounded, not because they are colored. A student should not receive a special award because of his or her skin color.” It is wrong to assume that these students did not earn these scholarships academically. Additionally, Providence College is a private school and can choose to accept students they feel will fit their ideal future model as an educational institution. If Providence College feels diversity is an important aspect (rightfully so), they have the right to accept students for reasons other than academic credentials. Moreover, students can bring other things to a college campus besides high test-scores. Extra-curricular activities, service, and leadership roles are all things that an Admissions Officer looks for in a potential student. This notion is reflected in the fact that many schools, including Providence College, are now SAT optional, showing that indicators other than standardized tests are important to holistically assess an applicant.

Furthermore, the author states, “The intentions behind these objectives are good, however, diversity should not have to be a conscious effort. In a perfect world, diversity would just happen naturally.” In reality, this is not a perfect world. Better yet, this is certainly not a perfect country. The truth is that minorities are disgracefully underrepresented in Congress, the very institution that is responsible for passing legislation designed to protect the freedoms and liberties of all American citizens. Of the 100 current US Senators, only two are African American. (One is Mo Cowan, who is temporarily holding the seat that became vacant after John Kerry’s acceptance of Secretary of State) In all, only six minorities hold Senate seats. On the contrary, according to the most recent US Census, 21.9% of respondents would self-identify as something other than Caucasian. The House of Representatives also features a disproportionate number of minorities compared to the total number that reside here in the United States. In a perfect world, the number of minorities in Congress would reflect the current demographic makeup on the United States; it clearly does not. More, in a perfect world, everybody would be treated equally despite his or her race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. The continued suppression and mistreatment of women, gays, minorities, and Muslims shows us that this world is far from perfect.

The author is right, however, about one thing. Diversity is about a lot more than skin color. It has to do with what geographic region you come from, your socioeconomic standing, your religious beliefs, and your political ideology. Providence College is one of the most homogenous schools in the country. College Prowler ranks PC as the 26th most Conservative and 1288th most Open-Minded school based on all the colleges and universities in the country. More, in the category of diversity, PC received a D+ letter grade, and rightfully so. Providence College students can be easily identified in downtown Providence or riding the RIPTA. Simply look for a white kid who hails from an upper-middle class family from the Northeast and dress like they are modeling for an Abercrombie and Fitch magazine. These facts are alarming, and are surely nothing to laugh about. Providence College will not truly be seeking to become “more diverse” until it starts accepting more students from outside of New England, from lower income families, and whom do not self-identify as Catholic.

The author ends her article by proclaiming, “There is no need for an entire diversity plan to be made, a diversity committee to be formed, and special multicultural employees be hired, as PC has done, in order to create a more diverse student body. Acceptance can be taught without choosing people based specifically on skin color. Doing so creates racism and unfair advantages.” It is ironic that the author depicts whites as the victims of racism, when in fact Europeans have been the cause of the mass genocide and enslavement of Native Americans, African Americans, and Jews. The racism the author speaks of is not a result of affirmative action, but instead of the current US political system, which does not do nearly enough to grant justice to and advance the status of minorities. Not only does Providence College need a plan, commission, and special employees to help fix the diversity issue, it needs reevaluate its definition of diversity in general and require students to take courses that open students’ eyes and promote the importance of diversity in any functional environment.