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UCSD Makes Slow But Steady Progress In Diversity

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UC San Diego officials say they’re making steady progress in creating a more diverse campus, but students say there’s still a very long way to go.

— UC San Diego officials say they’re making steady progress in creating a more diverse campus, but students say there’s still a very long way to go.

It has been one year since UCSD was rocked by the so-called "Compton Cookout," an off-campus party that mocked black culture.

That event touched off a series of other racially-charged incidents on campus which led to a student uprising.

Minority students pressured UCSD Chancellor Mary Anne Fox to adopt a long list of demands to increase diversity on campus.

Twelve months later, university official Sandra Daley said they are making progress.

“We are doing diversity at UC San Diego. Not only because we’re morally driven to do this, but also because we know it makes sense.”

The biggest change is in the number of applications submitted by minority high school seniors last fall. The number jumped 27 percent, and transfer applications from under-represented students increased 19 percent.

The university also created a Diversity Giving office. Officials now aggressively seek private money to fund minority programs, scholarships and fellowships.

But some students are still not convinced the university’s efforts are genuine.

“I constantly have to be re-educating a lot of these administrators about why this is important,” said Mar Velez, a student activist who sits on the university’s recently formed Campus Climate Council. “These administrators need courses on critical diversity within the university. Those are genuine (actions) that can show me (they are) really trying.”

University officials said systemic change do not happen overnight.

UCSD is now getting ready to launch a student survey on race relations. A diversity class requirement is also in the works.

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