School president: Too many white faces among student body, staff

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BELLINGHAM — Too white? That’s the complaint from Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard about his student body and professors.

presShepard says if they don’t increase the number of students of color on his campus, they will have failed as a university.

Just take a stroll down High Street through Western’s campus and you won’t see a lot of diversity — and Shepard wants that to change.

“How do we make sure in the years ahead we’re not as white as we are today,” said Shepard during a 2012 commencement speech.

A recent school-wide questionnaire put out in March at Western sought feedback from the students: “How do we make sure that in future years ‘we are not as white as we are today?’”

The question was released through the communications and marketing department’s daily newsletter Western Today.


“There are a lot of students here who are white and that’s just kind of how it is,” said freshman Thea Strand.

“I would be like the only black kid in the class,” said Ajane Burnley, a senior at WWU.

“Me personally, I don’t notice a lot of color,” said junior Tony Mendez.

Shepard has publicly sounded the alarm for years.  He worries that a homogeneous student body will keep kids of color from applying at Western.

“If Western is as white in the years ahead as it is today, we will have failed as a university,” said Shepard.

Nearly 83% of Western’s staff are white and so is almost 3/4 of the student body.

Burnley sees the disparity everyday but she thinks Shepard could have phrased his complaint differently.

“It kind of in a way puts down white people, too, because he doesn’t want to be a liberal arts white college,” said Burnley. “Well what’s wrong with that? If that’s what it is, that’s what it is.”

Shepard says it’s not about keeping white students out, but serving the changing demographic of young people entering college.

“The way our faculty, staff, students experience Western depends very much on their race, gender, and sexual orientation,” Shepard said.

And most students said a college campus should be a reflection of life outside of school, which includes people from all walks of life.

Click here to read Shepard further explain his position on ethnic diversity on WWU’s campus.

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  • P.Scott Cummins

    Its one thing to talk about it, and another to actually do something. Seattle Pacific University has a student body more than TWICE as diverse as the surrounding population (of Seattle as a whole). Maybe it would help if WWU had a policy of diversity & inclusiveness in THOUGHT – and allowed more than the typical liberal diatribes of the typical college campus. Maybe if the professors at WWU allowed students to actually THINK rather than indoctrinate them with fundamentalist liberal rants. Maybe WWU should be more like SPU!

    • The World Is Ending

      Unfortaatly liberal indoctrination in nothing new, when my sister started college in 1977 it was going on then, and they were usuing the same tactics then to, resorting to vicious personal attacks because their arguments usually have no substance.

  • Principlex

    He's in the middle of white country, isn't he? What does he expect. If he wants other races then he ought to go where they are.

    This sounds so disrespectful. He damns the people who want an education for those who don't. There are plenty of whites that can't afford college too, so I don't think money is the issue. When a person says he wants
    "diversity" he means he wants racism.

  • Joe

    Then he must resign and give his post to Ward LeRoy Churchill is an American author and political activist. He was a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1990 to 2007 the self-proclaimed Indian – oh wait, he's no Indian just a liing liberal who wants special treatment by law while calling all the victims of 9/11 little white Hitlers spewing hate that always pours of of the mouths and hearts of the vindictive left wing people.

  • Ouroboros

    Imagine for an instant the hue and cry if any part of the formerly free world be declared, "too colored". Among the symptoms are forced "diversity" and the disease is communism. Detroit then. Detroit now.

  • Dr. Foyston

    So, what is the percentage of the other diverse groups? The percentage of whites in the US is about 63% and that includes other races than American. The percentage of black Americans is approximately 16%. The real question is what ethnic group attends in a greater percentage than it's US representation not how many white people attend the university. Dr. F

  • CarolM

    If the person pictured at the podium is the university president then to fix the problem he should resign. He's white and as such he is unfit to be there. His whiteness is what makes this university a mediocrity. How can his presence even be born…?


    Liberals originally said that everyone should be judged as an individual and not as a member of a race.They said it was wrong and unconstitutional to hire or admit or promote people based on their race that people had to be judged on their own individual merit and only the best qualified should be chosen. That was what the civil rights movement was supposed to be about. As soon as they got their way and passed their civil rights laws they began a campaign to hire admit and promote people who are non white over more qualified whites. Now they want a racial quota system. That is what this guy is saying, that the college should hire promote and admit on a racial quota system type formula. It is time to stand up to these people. They are liars and hypocrites promoting a radical left wing agenda that will destroy America as we have known it. It is a struggle for the Future of America and we need to elect people who will stop these radical left wing activists from destroying this country.,


    What is really stunning about this, is that if you check the demographic statistics for the area this college is in, and for the State of Washington, the demographics of the school are already in a rough parity with the area it is in and the State it is in. If he is contending that the college is out of demographic balance with the area or the state, his complaint is baseless anyway. These remarks would be outrageous under almost any circumstances, but all the more so considering the actual situation.

  • John Howell

    So at Western Washington University are they judging people by the color of their skin or the content of their character? It's quite obviously the former. Where's Dr. King when you need him? Racism is racism, and President Bruce Shepard is a RACIST.

  • gerald bair

    If as President Bruce Shepard states there are too many white faces at his university then I think his is the first to go in order to meet proportional guidelines.

  • Madie

    Hmm is anyone else having problems with the pictures on this blog loading?

    I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.