The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Is ULM truly inclusive?


Forever settles the long-lasting debate of whether a school can be considered a diverse and inclusive college. Yes, ULM has one of the highest enrollment levels of international and nontraditional students in the state, but do these students feel included? Do international students think they can be themselves? The administration needs to do more to show its concern for the inclusion of the various races.

According to ULM’s Office of International Student Programs and Services, the school is bountiful with opportunities for international and nontraditional students to grow and blossom within ULM, including specific scholarships and events such as International Week, International Student Gala, and International Food Fair. ULM also hosts cultural events, such as Kukur Tihar, the Moon Festival and Holi Festivals. From a logical and numerical standpoint, ULM is a well-diverse college, especially for the South. How does the public feel regarding this, though?

Isabel Albritton’s article “Dozens gather for ULM’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Forum” touches on this topic. Albritton mentions the forum, which allows students to speak their minds about how campus involvement with inclusiveness can increase.

One student, Brendan Harris, felt that ULM needed more than a forum to make students feel appreciated.

“I feel like it’s great, but at the same time, if you are listening to the concerns that we have, you need to put the concerns into effect and not just say, ‘okay, we will handle it,'” Harris said.

During the Black Lives Matter movement, a few professors—Dennis Bell and Mary Holmes—made racist statements on social media, refusing to own up to their mistakes. Students posted on a forum, and ULM responded by firing Bell. Holmes began the disciplinary process used on tenured professors.

ULM posted their response on the ULM Facebook Page: “ULM condemns the stunningly bigoted and racist language in social media posts by select members of our faculty. Our university demands tolerance and respect in the workplace and the classroom. We are swiftly investigating the matters and taking all appropriate and available actions to protect students and the university community from the effects of racism and prejudice. We promise a long-term commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Only then can we stand with pride and say the best is on the bayou.”

While appreciated by students and faculty alike, this response still leaves some to believe that more should have been said and done regarding the issue. Students believe ULM should have more confidently released its stance on Black Lives Matter. Yes, ULM acknowledged the racist behavior of two faculty members, but where does ULM stand with Black Lives Matter? Does the administration follow a policy, or do they genuinely care?

Most people agree that actions speak louder than words. ULM’s actions have shown its commitment to its students and a genuine love and concern for their well-being. These actions do not mean that everybody feels included, nor does it mean that ULM does not have its faults. ULM can start with more events by merging various cultures, not just during a week or a month but throughout every day on campus. However, with the current steps we’ve seen put in place and their continuing effort to understand and evolve, ULM took the initiative to right any previous wrongs towards its minority students.

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