Just how diverse is the U of C?

By Sara Hanson

The City of Calgary is growing bigger every year, and one of the main reasons is the increasing number of people immigrating from other cities, provinces, and countries. Calgary is now Canada’s third most diverse city and the University of Calgary wants to ensure the university reflects this.

Student Diversity and Access, which is composed of the International Student Centre, the Disability and Resource Centre and the Aboriginal Centre, has put forth a survey, open to all students, to evaluate diversity on Campus.

According to SDA Executive Director Glynn Hunter, the purpose of the survey is to determine how diverse the university actually is.

“We need to get a handle on what’s going on,” Hunter said. “We want to get a snapshot of campus and identify the problems.”

The survey is part of the second phase of a research project which began last year. Phase one of the project examined the various practices relating to diversity at eight universities across the country, and with the help of the survey, phase two will help identify which approaches to diversity are best at the U of C.

“We need to find out what’s good and what’s not working on campus,” said Hunter. “Are the policies in affect now meeting the needs [of students]? Are we actively promoting diversity?”

According to Hunter, the survey is doing quite well with about 2,600 responses as of Mon., Oct. 3 which accounts for about 10 per cent of the student population.

The survey takes about 30 minutes and is available on the SDA website. Participants will be entered in a draw to win an iPod.

Survey questions cover all aspects and dynamics of diversity, from ethnicity and religion to students’ economic situations and diversity in the classroom.

After the results of the survey are compiled, the SDA committee will be holding follow up discussions in the late fall with groups not represented in the survey. Once these discussions are completed, a report will be issued and the committee will determine whether or not a diversity policy, which the university does not currently have, is needed.

“Maybe the less policy the better,” he said. “We don’t have to re-invent every single thing, we can borrow ideas from other institutions.”

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