Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday's Southern

Two big chunks of SIUC coverage in the Southern, in both of which (believe it or not), our administrators come off quite well (not to worry: I'll find something to attack in a separate post). A front page story and special section on research publicize a variety of research accomplishments, and don't equate research with grant dollars, one of my least favorite administrative tacks (any such equation in the story seems largely to be the reporter's doing).  And the Chancellor rather ably disputes a guest columnist's anecdotal argument that campus safety needs to be improved in order to attract women to campus.  

My own guess, for what it is worth, is that the campus safety issue is largely driven by people who expect Carbondale and SIUC to resemble a small town with a homogenous student body drawn from the surrounding area (i.e., not including lots of people, including lots of black people, from Chicagoland).  There are, by God, even lots of Arabic speakers on campus (with my window open the other day I heard their voices drifting in from outside Faner, giving me a delightful feeling that I was at someplace international--but not all will find this delightful).  Hence I think the Chancellor started her reply exactly in the right way, by making campus diversity a plus (though she spoke mainly of international diversity).  I'm not sure how we can better attract people who want Carbondale to be less, well, other, save by playing up diversity as a positive, and citing the figures that the Chancellor cites, which show that crime at SIUC is no worse and no better than one would expect from a university this size.   

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