FAQ's: Answers to the questions you have always wanted to ask

Q: Why is Diversity important at Westmont?
A: We believe that diversity is biblical, practical and communal. We also believe that diversity is a gift that God has given to us as people who believe and trust in Jesus Christ. As in any gift, we need to open the gift to experience the blessing and joy that the giver wants the receiver to experience. So it is to this end that we encourage all to open the gift of diversity so we may appreciate and value that each person brings. It means taking initiative and having courage along with faith and goodwill to talk to someone who may be different than ourselves. Soon enough we discover that we have so much common without ever minimizing the unique ways God has shaped our lives.

In 1995 the college conducted a major assessment of its programs and personnel regarding diversity. As a result, a committee was formed to address the topic of diversity and created a long range plan to increase the college's diversity in students, faculty, staff and curriculum. Soon after, the faculty developed and approved seven learning standards, one of which included diversity.

In the Spring of 2009 the college clarified its mission and distinctiveness for Evangelical, Diversity and Liberal Arts. Currently there is a task force developing a more clear and concise theological and biblical statement on diversity.

Q: How does Intercultural Programs (ICP) fit in at the college?
A: ICP is part of the Student Life Division. As a result of an extensive assessment in 1995, ICP formerly known as the Multicultural Programs Office was created primarily to support and serve students of color. Since then the office has evolved to educate all students about the value of diversity as well as deepen their understanding of historical prejudice and bias in the United States as it impacts our institutions and interpersonal relationships.

Q: Who does Intercultural Programs serve?
A: We serve all students. Events, activities and leadership opportunities are open to any student.

Q: What is the Cultural Diversity Award and who may apply for it?
A: The Cultural Diversity Award is administered through the Admissions Office and was created to encourage an academic community that is rich in cultural diversity. Westmont offers Cultural Diversity Awards of up to $1,000. These scholarships are awarded each year to incoming students who desire to incorporate their intercultural experiences into the Westmont learning environment; awards are renewable annually. Click here for the application: Cultural Diversity Scholarship Application

Any INCOMING student is allowed to apply for the award. For acceptance and for the award amount, the competitive essays are read for content and depth as well as judged on grammar and style. The Office of Admission collects, reviews, and awards entries. Before orientation, the Office of Admission sends copies of the awarded essays written by confirmed and enrolled students to Intercultural Programs for follow-up.

Q: Does Westmont have an affirmative action policy or program to increase its diversity? Are all students of color recipients of affirmative action policies or programs?
A: No, we do not have an affirmative action policy or program. All students of color meet the same standards for admission and have the same expectations for success at Westmont. Not all students of color apply for the Admissions Cultural Diversity Award nor does every student who applies receives the award. Again, the Cultural Diversity Award is open to all incoming students to apply and to be considered for the award. The college employs a variety of strategies to increase its presence in different communities so it is more known and understood as a viable option for academic study and service.

Q: Why does Westmont use racial, ethnic and cultural categories on their admissions application?
A: These categories were created by the U.S. government for demographic purposes. We request this information from students so we may have an accurate picture of the diversity at Westmont. Students may choose to self-identify with any, all or none of the categories.

Q: Why does Intercultural Programs use the term " students of color"?
A: The term is the common and current usage in higher education whether in academic research, courses or student services. As such we use the term as it is used consistently on most campuses. We recognize the limitation of any one term to describe the complexities of a group of people. We also acknowledge the confusion that comes from the word "color" knowing that adding "ed" makes it a historically inappropriate term.

Some colleges and universities use the acronym ALANA, which stands for "African, Latino, Asian, Native American" or AHANA for African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American. In Intercultural Programs we choose not to use these acronoyms recognizing that there are students of color of multiracial heritage. We also choose not to use "diversity" or "ethnic minority" as we believe that all students are of diverse backgrounds including disability, socioeconomic, gender and sexuality and have family heritages that are ethnically rooted in the United States or in other countries.

As a reminder, Hispanic or Latino/a is a cultural identity, not racial. That is, a person who is White, African-American or Asian can be Hispanic or Latino/a.

Q: How do I describe a person's ethnic, racial and/or cultural identity?
A: Since each person or group uses different descriptors, we suggest that you ask the person about their preference. Due to historical, regional or family differences, a person may prefer one term or another. Our stance is to allow others self-identify themselves in whatever ways that it is meaningful for them. We believe this attitude of Christ-like sensitivity goes a long way in building relationships. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Do not act out of selfish ambition or self-conceit but with humility think of others better than yourselves." (Phillipians 2:3, Int'l Std. Version)

Q: How many students of color are on campus?
A: As of this Fall semester in 2009, 26% of the student body or 341 students self-identified as students of color.

Q: How many faculty of color do we have at Westmont? How many women faculty? How many international faculty?
A: As of this Fall semester in 2009, 13% of our full-time faculty are persons of color and 34% are women. The list below include U.S. born and/or raised faculty of color and international faculty from Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Dinora Cardoso

Modern Languages

x7173

dcardoso@westmont.edu

Alister Chapman History

x7087

chapman@westmont.edu

Leonor Elias Modern Languages

x7085

elias@westmont.edu

Thomas Jayawardene Sociology

x6783

jayawar@westmont.edu

Maurice Lee Religious Studies

x7059

malee@westmont.edu

Chandra Mallampalli History

x6139

mallampa@westmont.edu

Omedi Ochieng Communication Studies

x6018

ochieng@westmont.edu

Helen Rhee Religious Studies

x6834

rhee@westmont.edu

Marianne Robins-Lemmond History

x6197

robins@westmont.edu

Michael Sommermann Physics

x6094

sommerm@westmont.edu

Niva Tro Chemistry

x6283

tro@westmont.edu

Xuefeng Zhang Sociology

x7118

xzhang@westmont.edu

Q: Who is a TCK or MK?
A: A TCK or "third culture kid" is a student whose family lives and works in another country either in business, diplomacy, military or Christian service. Third Culture refers to the idea that one is neither completely belonging in one culture or another, and thus creates a third culture per se.

An MK or "missionary kid" is a student whose family is or has served as missionaries typically in another country, and is a subset of TCKs. That is not every TCK is an MK but every MK is a TCK.

Q: How many international students are there? How many missionary and third-culture students?
A: As of this Fall semester of 2012, we have 8 international students and 9 MK and TCK students.

Q: What kind of leadership opportunities in ICP are available?
A: Students may apply to lead an Intercultural Organization (ICO), lead as a co-director for all the ICOs or as a co-director for Racial Equality and Justice (REJ). Find out more at their pages on this website or the current students page.

Q: Who is the Multicultural Representative (MCR)? What does s/he do?
A: The Multicultural Representative is an elected official for Westmont's student government organization, WCSA (Westmont College Student Association). The WCSA MCR is responsible for representing the perspectives and concerns of students of color, international students, MKs and TCKs to student government and thus to the administration of the college.

Q: What are the Intercultural Organizations and who can lead or participate?
A: The ICOs are student-led groups that are focused on race, ethncity and/or culture.Currently there are five organizations . They are the Asian Student Association (ASA). Black Student Union (BSU),Latino Cultural Organization (LCO), Hawai'i No Ka 'Oi, Mixed Race, and Nomads for International, MKs and TCKs. In the past we have had students lead an Armenian Student Association, a Filipino American Student Association, an Italian-American club and an Americana organization.

Q: Are White students allowed to participate in ICO events and leadership?
A: Yes. All students are welcome to ICO events as well as apply to lead an ICO.

Q: What is REJ?
A: REJ stands for Racial Equality and Justice and it is a student-led organization that is focused on race, race relations and racial justice. The organization was started in 2002 by a White, male student who after taking an Ethnic Groups class, felt it was important that he and his peers delve more deeply into issues of White privilege and power as well as racial prejudice and discrimination. REJ is the result of his initiative and commitment to justice and equality.

Since 2002, over eighty students, staff and even parents have participated in the annual spring break service learning project in Jackson, Mississippi with the John M. Perkins Foundation and visited key Civil Rights sites in Birmingham, Alabama.

This year students may register to take the REJ seminar and earn G.E. credit for Serving Society and Enacting Justice. For more information, contact the department at icp@westmont.edu