When educational institutions receive gilded titles of “student success” or “academic excellence,” they become filled to the brim with pride and arrogance. They spread the word by posting it on social media, which makes current and prospective students assume that they’re a part of something greater than themselves — been there, felt that.
As much as students like to wear those titles like their heart on their sleeve, they should do themselves a favor and put those achievements next to their childhood drawings on the fridge.
The completion of a degree is a big deal in itself, but the process of obtaining it and the personal experiences that go with it are obstacles in themselves.
Cal State Fullerton ranked at No. 1 for awarding bachelor's degrees to Hispanics in California, which places them at No. 2 nationally, according to the latest analysis on Hispanic college completion at the national and state level by Excelencia in Education, an information source on Hispanics in higher education.
Yes, it deserves a round of applause, don’t be shy. It’s truly an honorable feat. However, the afterglow of winning such a prestigious award isn’t everlasting.
For instance, it’s not erroneous to assume that some Hispanic students felt discomfort strolling down Titan Walk and encountering the tables hosted by conservative organizations. Especially after witnessing the sight of certain organizations, such as CSUF Republicans Club, create props that represent the U.S.-Mexico border and encourage discussion on campus about border security.
It’s hard to believe there aren’t any red flags when it comes to political preference. Sixty-four percent of Republicans expressed subtle anti-Black attitudes, compared with 55% of Democrats, according to a 2012 poll conducted by the Associated Press in an attempt to quantify implicit racism among both parties by asking respondents to compare Black, white, Asian and Hispanic faces.
Of course, poll results can’t label an entire political party as “racist,” but to say that Republicans have more racial bias in comparison to other parties holds some truth.
Republican student organizations aren’t the only ones that bring forth feelings of prejudice on campus — our severed ties with Steven G. Mihaylo was the cherry on top.
On Aug. 26, CSUF President Fram Virjee announced that Mihaylo and the university decided to part ways after four years of failed attempts to reconcile, partially due to Mihaylo’s negligence to fulfill his $30 million pledge, which he only paid about 27%.
Money isn’t the issue here, at least not the one that students should be concerned about.
It was mentioned that Mihaylo offered to pay only on the condition that the university hire one Republican faculty member per Democrat faculty member. Which comes as no surprise when Mihaylo’s Twitter account consists of Trump retweets and berating CSUF students up until his account went inactive in 2018.
We can still appreciate CSUF’s efforts that push Hispanic students ahead in their academic journeys, but with appreciation comes critique. Despite what Fram Virjee may believe, not all of the experiences as a Hispanic student revolve around “Spanish music and going to quinceañeras.”
It revolves around facing adversity and overcoming it, even if it pushes them out of their comfort zone.
If CSUF claims to be aware of how unreasonable Mihaylo’s conditions were, it begs the question of whether those same standards were applied when that border wall was displayed at the Titan Walk. Or, whether those standards applied when Milo Yiannopoulos came to campus, and caused painfully obvious discomfort among students of color.
This campus may be No.1 for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic students, but the degree represents years of experience on and off campus.
In terms of providing an environment that feels safe and unbiased for marginalized students, they’re far down the rankings.