In a New York Times column on why diversity isn’t working in colleges, Frank Bruni points out that even when “diverse” candidates (read black, Latino, economically challenged students) they tend to self segregate. Colleges aren’t doing much about helping students feel comfortable with people different from themselves. Here’s an idea from Denison University:
At Denison University, near Columbus, Ohio, there are special funds available to campus groups that stage events with other, dissimilar groups. Adam Weinberg, the college’s president, told me that he’d attended a Seder at which Jewish students played host to international students from China.
And he said that the school was examining everything from the layout of campus walkways to the architecture of common areas to try to ensure that students’ paths crossed more frequently than they diverged.
“We have a group of students and faculty meeting to think about our quad and how can we make some small changes that would bring back a public square where students might congregate,” he told me.
This could work ‘at home,’ at Princeton University, in more than one way.
An aside: William Bowen, former P.U. president, went to Denison.