Diversity is a common idea that permeates much of the discourse surrounding concepts of marginalization and fights for acceptance. This path will explore how the concept of diversity at Lafayette has changed over time, as well as the importances and shortcomings diversity as an ideal. The current diversity statement of the college (“Diversity and Inclusiveness Statement”) explains axes of diversity to include, among others, “race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and place of origin” and explains that encouraging diversity leads to the important goal of “creating, maintaining, and developing a learning environment in which difference is valued, equity is sought, and inclusiveness is practiced.” Clearly, diversity is important at Lafayette, and so it is valuable to explore.
Diversity is important because it creates the possibility for communities to form and for people to feel less alone. By focusing on diversity as a value, institutions like Lafayette can push for initiatives which further the inclusion of a multitude of identities. However, diversity is not a perfect idea; its mere existence, while making things better, does not automatically extinguish prejudice or create a safe and welcoming campus climate. It is important that institutions do not focus simply on the creation of a diverse environment, but also on the safety and well-being of the “diverse,” marginalized people at that institution or else they primarily help their image while ignoring issues like institutionalized racism, sexism, and homophobia.