Opinion: TCU’s “impossible school” stigma contributes to lack of diversity

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    Texas is, without a doubt, a cultural melting pot. Texas Christian University? Not so much—well, according to SGA's diversity commission, anyway.

    The commission compiled a report saying that TCU has an apparent lack of interest in promoting diversity, a critique countered by Dean of Admission Ray Brown, who said that diversity is one of TCU's main goals.

    Certainly diversity, particularly racial diversity, is important to TCU. Let's not forget that the phrase "global community" is a key part of TCU's mission statement, and TCU hosts a plethora of international organizations, from the International Student Organization to SAICA, in order to promote cultural and racial diversity. 

    Yet despite TCU's efforts to promote diversity, actually seeing diversity on campus is a different story. All it takes is one look around the Brown-Lupton University Union. Sure, you might see a handful of differences, but it's not hard to see that there's a certain group of people that have a very obvious majority.

    With little ethnic diversity on campus, the blame inevitably falls on the admission office. Perhaps, however, the admission office is not entirely at fault.

    It’s not that TCU doesn’t reach out to students of minority backgrounds; many minority high school students just don’t see TCU as a viable college choice.

    Although many have incredible academic potential, many minority students come from low or middle-income families.

    Steven Evangelista, a graduating senior from Juan Seguin High School in Arlington who chose not to come to TCU, said TCU’s cost of tuition compels minority students to lean toward a state university or community college.

    “They find [state and community colleges] a good place to start off,” he said, “and it’s easier to get funded by those colleges since they usually have good grades.”

    As an Asian-American student myself, I admit that I nearly took the same route. When I was applying for college during my junior and senior years of high school, TCU was actually my third choice, not because I didn’t like TCU, but because TCU felt like the “impossible school.” TCU was far too expensive, far too “big,” and most certainly far too prestigious for a 5-foot tall Asian-American—not to mention, homeschooled—girl like me.

    Yet, TCU pulled through for me. During my first campus tour, the students and staff were incredibly warm. TCU also offered me an academic scholarship, which softened the enormous tuition rate. Suddenly, TCU wasn’t so intimidating anymore; it felt more like the place where I belonged.

    If TCU works on helping bright, promising minority students realize that they can afford and succeed at TCU, these students would be more likely to apply to TCU and choose to become Horned Frogs. This responsibility to inspire future Frogs extends not only to admissions and financial aid staff, but to TCU students as well.

    Then TCU would truly represent a global community, inside and out.

    Samantha Calimbahin is a sophomore journalism major from Arlington, Texas.