by Matthew Michael
In his first official act as Euphoria State University’s president, Dr. Geoffrey Sumner has released the institution’s most diverse diversity statement ever. The statement—which finishes at 1,253 words—begins in English but navigates through Yiddish, Ebonics, and Spanish before ending with a flourish of Texting Slang.
“IMHO, ESU haz2 M-Brace diver$iT & stop H8 ASAP!! XOXO, President Sumner”
ESU’s former president had also issued a diversity statement during her tenure, but university faculty and staff found it far too English-centric and short.
“This campus has been plagued by multi-lingua-phobia far too long,” said Francis Stephonie, director of ESU’s Center for the Study of Pacific Islander Talk (C-SPIT). “This new statement better celebrates the tapestry of dialects found in our student body, plus it‘s been two years since we revised our diversity statement. I’m not even sure that all of the groups mentioned in that last statement are still oppressed.”
“I really just wanted to take it to the next level,” said Dr. Sumner while describing his motivation for lengthening the university diversity statement sixfold. “It’s easy to say your university has a great climate for diversity when your guiding philosophy of multiculturalism can be printed on a business card. But now, our students need three modern language electives just to comprehend the thing.\”
Students on campus have had mixed reactions to the new statement. Members of the Multi-Culti Club seem to be on board and plan to promote the new philosophy on their club t-shirts, according to Sarah Stelps, the club’s vice president for apparel.
“Since we wanted the diversity statement to be legible, we’re printing it at 25 point font all over the front, back, and most of both arms,” explained Stelps. “Other clubs talk tolerance and respect, but we wear it on our sleeves!”
For some students, the new statement is too little, too late. Billy Williams, a sophomore majoring in Engineering, wishes this policy were in place when he took Spanish as a freshman. “I just feel like now my professor would have to be more accepting of the Babelfishian dialect of Spanish that I use in my written work.”
Despite the critics, President Sumner remains optimistic that he will be able to utilize the new diversity statement for at least a few semesters before considering an update.
“I fully expect to get a solid year or so out of this thing,” said Sumner. “That is, unless the C-SPIT office is vandalized again, because then I’d have no choice but to issue a new statement emphasizing tolerance and acceptance. And I won’t ixnay the Pig Latin section this next time around.”