Discrimination?

<p>Hi, today I visited St. Olaf and I have to say, I loved it there.
From the design of the buildings to the kindness of the counselours and students,
it was a greta place to be. However, I did notice one thing.... almost everyone was white. I know. I have been warned, St. Olaf's student population consists of white students, but I didnt think it would be this extreme that it is very rare to see students of another race. I love the programs, the school, and what they represent, but isn't that what Admitted Students day supposed to do? I guess I'm just afraid during my time there, As an asian student, I would be treated differently. I did see some Multiracial students on campus that attend st.olaf, and I was wondering how the school is treating them?</p>

<p>Hi- we were there today too, and I also was so impressed with many of the programs and the nice administrators and dedicated teachers. I cannot imagine that Asian students are treated differently. I heard groups of students describing their experiences, and there were various races present. Professors seemed to treat everyone very warmly. I was in the Admissions Office for quite a while too, and again, there were different types of students, and everyone just seemed to be doing their thing. </p>

<p>But, yes, it certainly is a very caucasian school, in fact very midwestern, culturally, I felt - so a bit different to this white family too. I thought I noticed groups of Asians hanging out together. I didn't know if maybe they were international students hanging out together because of that, or if they just found each other and became friends for some other reason. I CAN imagine that it is easier for students to become friends with people from their same background, from whatever race, and for this reason, they might "self-select"...</p>

<p>but if that is the situation, I bet any individual who wanted to get beyond this could make a point of being friendly to students from different cultures, and would probably be quite successful in getting over this hump. In other words, I didn't get the feeling that people were being exclusive, but I do think that maybe it takes a little extra effort to make inroads into the culture there (or to expand one's base out of the dominant culture). On the other hand, I believe they said around 50% do NOT come from the midwest?</p>

<p>But the fact is, certain people (Jewish, Asian, Black students, for example) are simply a very small minority there, and different people will feel more or less comfortable with that.</p>

<p>What do you think?</p>

<p>Yes, Olaf is very white, and we do tend to self-segregate, but I have never seen any evidence or even a hint of negativity between races/international v US. One of the things that I think contributes to the grouping of international students is that they arrive on campus before the rest of first years, so they form those first friend groups exclusively with other international students. And then it is so much easier to just stay with who you are comfortable with, so it continues. </p>

<p>At the same time, I'll admit that we non-international students could make a bigger effort to become friends with them, so it's a combination of factors, but there is definitely no negativity. Just some laziness (which I guess can rub some people the wrong way). I agree with hanaviolet; if everyone just made more effort, there wouldn't be a divide.</p>

<p>On the administration's side, I think they are very welcoming & helpful to international students. This year they kept the campus open over spring break because so many people couldn't get home for the week, and there are always international student events planned. I think the biggest problem for international students is simply the culture clash, not anything about this school in particular (although it being so homogenous makes the clash more noticeable than, say, at a diverse big city school).</p>

<p>Hanaviolet:
I think your completely right. There are no exclusive groups, it just takes time, effort, and a certain level of comfort. I guess it depends form individual to individual. I came from a very diverse school where there was enough of every race that you see through people's backgrounds. In all reality, It was just very overwhelming to me and it summoned a certain level of discomfort because I (as an individual) felt different. </p>

<p>animull:
Although there is no negativity, this self-segregation can make anyone feel out of the loop. (I'm sorry if Im not making any sense.)</p>

<p>Don't worry, it makes complete sense. I agree that the self-segregation is one of my least favorite parts of Olaf, but at the same time, my best friend here is from Egypt and I have other friends from several different African and Asian countries. And I'm a white American. So, international students may have their main friend group of other internationals, but no one I've met is exclusive. However, I think being comfortable at your school is one of the most important factors, so if you think the overwhelming whiteness is too much, I understand why Olaf may not be first choice.</p>

<p>No knowledge of this topic at Olaf, but completely impressed with this underrated school. </p>

<p>However a friend of mine, who graduated from Brown 30 years ago, told me that the minorities (including her) were invited to arrive a week early for "bonding events" prior to their freshman year. She believes that this program accomplished exactly the opposite of what was intended, as the minorities fell into exclusive groups with each other, and did not integrate as well with the white population. She is surprised that these well-intentioned programs still exist, as they seemed to her to promote the exact opposite of what they were supposed to.</p>

<p>Daughter of a friend is a visible minority and is in her senior year at St. Olaf. She loves it and has not encountered any discrimination. In fact, although St. Olaf is much whiter than her Minneapolis high school, she found people much more accepting of diversity at St. Olaf.</p>