Statistically, Georgia College is one of the least diverse campuses in the University System of Georgia. Enrollment reports from spring 2015 revealed that over 80 percent of the students on Georgia College’s campus were white.
“We’re so homogeneous,” said Katie Ward, a staff member at the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. “Not only is 80 percent of the population white, it’s also the same type of people. They came from the outskirts of Atlanta, from very homogenous communities.”
It is a problem that seems unique to Georgia College. As other universities in Georgia have expanded and brought in more students, they have become increasingly more diverse. North Georgia University went from being over 90 percent white in 2001 to almost 77 percent white in 2015.
In contrast, the diversity at Georgia College remains relatively unchanged over the past 15 years.
“I’ll go to a class and be the only black person, the only minority, in that class,” said Deaje Taylor, a fifth-year psychology student.
Taylor, who came to Georgia College in 2011, added that she turned to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity for sanctuary before she assumed the role as the director of the Peer Diversity Educator program.
The program is tasked with starting conversations about diversity in classrooms and making the campus more inclusive and welcoming towards minorities.
“A lot of people here the word diversity and they immediately shut down, because it becomes immediately about race, and then we’re only having a conversation about race,” Taylor said. “There are so many other ways you can be different. We want to change what diversity means so that people don’t shut down when we want to talk about it.”
While Taylor acknowledged that the campus and community needs to be proactive in making Georgia College more diverse, she added that it ultimately fell on the Office of Admissions to recruit a more diverse student body.
“I know they’re slowly trying to improve,” she said. “But it needs to happen faster.”