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Diversity: Who are we?

In a new weekly series, the Belmont Vision will explore perspectives from students, faculty and staff of various religious affiliations, genders, sexual orientations, ethnicities, races, abilities and areas of interest as we work to build a comprehensive view of our campus at large.

The fourth principle of Belmont’s Vision 2020 plan states,“Diversity will be enhanced across the university community.” But where does the university fall in the pursuit of that diverse campus today?

While nine racial and ethnic categories are represented on Belmont’s campus, the vast majority of the undergraduate population– approximately 79.66 percent– is registered as caucasian, according to the official enrollment report for fall 2015.

Hispanic/Latino and black/African American students rank next with 4.91 percent and 4.7 percent respectively, according to the report. These numbers have increased by 2.1 percent over the past three years.

Belmont hosts 98 international students as well, hailing from countries as close as Canada and as far away as Bangladesh. Many of those students come to Belmont for the music business, audio engineering technology, business administration, international business and entertainment industry studies majors, said Director of Institutional Research Mary Lucus.

These statistics come in the wake of the campus-wide diversity initiative included in the administration’s Vision 2020 statement and the goals put forth by the Welcome Home Team, a committee of students, faculty and staff started in 2013 to create a welcoming and diverse atmosphere on campus.

These programs aim to recruit and retain students from various backgrounds through networking, high school programs such as Bridges to Belmont and scholarship development.

“I think that Belmont’s Vision 2020 summarizes Belmont’s goals well with the guiding principle: Diversity will be enhanced across the campus. This is central to the ongoing work of WHT and all on campus as we work together to enhance diversity. I am honored to serve a university with a very serious commitment to enhancing diversity,” Associate Provost and Dean of Enrollment Services David Mee said.

While the university’s diversity initiatives and statistics generally focus on race, the Belmont Vision’s series will include perspectives based on other characteristics as well, including sexual orientation, interests and religious affiliations.

The series will feature staff-written articles and first-person perspectives to paint a unique picture of life on campus today. Check back here every Thursday for more articles on campus diversity as the Vision continues this series through the semester.

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