Hispanics, Latinos need equal opportunity at UK

Breakdown of campus population.

Breakdown of campus population.

Editorial Board

Diversity almost always makes a university campus more progressive. Many students come from small towns with exclusive racial makeups, and attending a large public university like UK helps broaden their life experiences.

Unfortunately, UK has experienced well-documented problems with diversity. In December, the Kentucky Kernel published a story featuring a group of black students who met with President Eli Capilouto with a list of complaints about diversity at the university. 

The list brought to the surface issues such as a lack of black professors and a need for more funding for black student groups.

Hispanic students, who make up about 3.8 percent of campus population, are part of one minority group that does not receive as much attention, according to information from collegefactual.com.

This number shows a decrease in the gap between the student populations relative to the state population. Hispanic students make up about 3.4 percent of Kentucky’s population, according to 2010 U.S. Census information.

In Kentucky, the Hispanic population is growing fastest in the area known as the “Golden Triangle,” which encompasses Louisville, Lexington and Northern Kentucky. Lexington is home to “Mexington,” an area of town with a large, growing Hispanic population. 

The Hispanic and Latino population makes up about 7 percent of Lexington, according to data from the 2010 Census. 

If this minority population continues to grow in Kentucky as projected, UK will need to develop a more in-depth plan to attract Hispanic students. 

The recently instituted “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the U.S. South” class is a good place to start in terms of emphasizing Hispanic culture. 

The Latino Student Union said the class was about much more than tacos; it is about the history of Mexican culture in the U.S. and how food played a role in relations between the countries.

The Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority population in Kentucky, according to the UK’s Diversity Plan 2011-2015, which aspired to increase graduation rates for the community and other minority student groups to resemble that of their white counterparts.

In 2007, Hispanic students graduated about eight percentage points behind white students, according to the diversity plan.

UK is clearly making steps to attract Hispanic students with opportunities, classes and diversity plans, but there is still much work to do to ensure that members of this student population have the same opportunities to succeed as the rest of campus.

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