White Out: The story of diversity at Georgia College

Andrew Podo

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.”


11 Comments on “White Out: The story of diversity at Georgia College”

  1. While attending GCSU I found the people to be very similar…even when taking race out of it. Female, Atlanta area hometown, middle to upper class economically. Why isn’t GCSU trying to promote the school more in Baldwin and surrounding counties? Yes, I understand a lot of the applicants will need more financial aid than those from wealthier areas of Georgia. We, as a society and a university, cannot continue to equate “diversity” with race. It’s time to open the doors to those from rural, economically disadvantaged high school graduates. They deserve an excellent education just as much as the next person.

  2. Diversity can’t happen over night. If you want a more diverse student body, you have to my the school appealing to a more diverse group of people. For example, we don’t have a football team. Although that was not a problem for me, it is a huge turn off to many people when they’re applying to colleges. In fact, many people who can get into GCSU choose to go to Georgia Southern instead solely for that reason, and they have a very diverse institution. Also, I believe that GCSU is heavily marketed in the Metro-Atlanta area, which is why so many people from there apply. I know people from rural parts of Georgia that have never even heard of GCSU before, and I continually have clarify that it is not Southern or State. In my opinion, if you want a more diverse student body, you have to make the infrastructure of the school diverse. The undergraduate programs at Georgia College are limiting. They’re aren’t that many majors to choose from and our athletics programs(not including intramurals) are dismal, which isn’t attractive to a wide range of prospective students. Think about it, in South Georgia, football is everything, so why would a significant amount of people from there want to go to a school that doesn’t have football. If Georgia College wants more diversity, they are definitely going to have to step up their marketing and expand athletic and academic programs.

  3. I feel North Georgia is a bad example of how to diversify. They bought out Gainesville State College which had a high acceptance rate, low standards of admissions, and was more diverse than UNG. North Georgia’s main campus in Dalonaga is no more diverse than GCSU. Also GCSU has higher standards of admission than North Georgia which has an outcome on who applies and is accepted into the university.

  4. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity. Is that a joke?

  5. Why was this article written? It seems to me that all this is trying to do is incite hate. Yes, GC is predominately white, but that is because minorities do not apply to go here. This article would not be written at a predominantly black school such as Fort Valley. I have a real problem with this. Why does race have to be brought into everything? Why can we not celebrate our student body we have now and find diversity in it other than race? No one is keeping minorities from applying. This is such a non issue. The claim that the student body is all from the outskirts of Atlanta is biased and wrong. This was a very poorly written article and does not represent Georgia College well at all.

  6. How are we to stop this problem? I don’t understand what admissions could do any differenty? I am an avid fan of cultural diversity, and pride myself for going to GCSU, but if this article was written to raise awareness of the lack of diversity at GCSU, then I believe it was poorly written. However, I do understand the point you were trying to make. What I would enjoy reading is something that contained suggestions to help create a “more diverse” campus (instead of bashing our admissions office). I do hope this “problem” can be solved for the sake of publicity and the reputation of my school. Let’s not try to make it the school’s problem, though. Perhaps make it a point to explain how incredible GC is to your friends so that more people will apply. Therefore, it will be more likely that different groups of people will be attending in the future.

  7. This is a very disappointing article. First of all, make sure all spelling and grammar is correct if you are publishing articlea. For example, “A lot of people HEAR the word diversity…” not here. Second, like Deaje Taylor said in the article, diversity is about much more than race. This author contradicted anything that the speaker was saying by writing the article the way he did. Let’s talk about the different clubs and organizations on our campus which make it diverse, not just race. Writing an article like this isn’t going to attract people who may make it more “diverse.”

  8. This article is just talking about this school being dominantly white and saying that the school should try harder to diversify its student body. I’m offended that people are offended by this article. People are way too sensitive nowadays.

  9. As a student at Georgia College, I find this article offensive. I’ve been a student here for a while. Over the past few years this kind of sensational, ignorant journalism has been far too prevalent in our student newspaper. “It’s also the same type of people. They came from the outskirts of Atlanta, from very homogeneous communities.” That’s a very racist statement. I am not from Metro Atlanta and have many of my friends here are not either. I am hoping this author is just looking for attention… as sad as that is.

  10. The author of this article speaks solely about race and “white population” EVEN WHEN the individual referenced states that a discussion on solely race is not the effective way to make change. If this article is meant to help start a conversation of change (and not just get publicity) then they did a very poor job. Truly disappointed in this author and post.

  11. Yawn. The people who go to Georgia College are the ones who want to go there. Why the angst about trying to recruit people who don’t want to be there? Is there an equal amount of indignation over the low white enrollment at Fort Valley State U? Leave race out of it.

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