With a 98 Percent White Student Body, Indiana Wesleyan Looks to Become More Diverse

MARION, Ind.

      Indiana Wesleyan University, a private Christian school where nearly 98 percent of students are White, is trying to attract a more diverse population.

      Latrese Moffitt, director of intercultural student services at the university, said the school should better reflect the diversity found in the real world.

      “Our motto at IWU is to be world changers,” she told the Chronicle-Tribune for a Friday story. “How are we going to change the world, if we don’t know what the world looks like? We need to better equip our students and give them experience in dealing with the world as it truly is.”

      Black students make up less than 1 percent of Indiana Wesleyan’s population, according to the university’s 2005-2006 Factbook. Only a handful of students are Hispanic or Asian. The other 97.6 percent of the 8,700 students are White at the college in the city halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

      By comparison, at Indiana University, Black students make up 6.8 percent of the population. Asian students and Hispanic students each make up 2 percent of the 98,500 students at IU’s campuses.

      Richard Jones, president of the Marion branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said that the cost of tuition is a primary reason why minority students do not attend Indiana Wesleyan. The school’s tuition is about $22,000 a year, including room and board.

      Tuition and mandatory fees this year at IU are $7,108 a year for in-state residents.

      “When I talk to some of the young kids about staying in Marion, they do say the tuition there is kind of high, so if they want to attract minority students, I think they could offer scholarships,” Jones said.

      Moffitt said a scholarship program could help minority students by covering the difference in tuition between public schools and private schools like Indiana Wesleyan.

      “We don’t want money to be a hindrance for individuals who are looking to attend a private, Christian university,” she said.

      Cleo Richardson, president and chief executive officer of the Clarence Faulkner Community Center, said that the school’s relationship with the minority community in Marion could use some improvement.

      “I’m not going to say that there was not any problem between Indiana Wesleyan and the minority community because there was,” Richardson said, declining to mention specific problems. “We’ve got problems to work out.”

— Associated Press  



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