Earlier this week, the NYU administration announced that the class of 2021 is the most international class in the university’s history. Thanks to an influx in international applications, the class features more international students than ever before. It also has the largest number of African-American and Latinx students in 16 years. All of this is an outstanding step forward in advancing the agenda of diversity that President Andrew Hamilton laid out upon coming to NYU.
The benefits of a more diverse campus are self-evident. A more diverse campus is better at preparing students for future careers, as exposure to different cultures and perspectives helps attune them to an ever-diversifying workplace. By 2050, the number of non-white adults in the American workplace is expected to grow from 34 percent to 55 percent. In addition, research shows that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to outperform companies in the bottom quartile, and ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely. Furthermore, heightened diversity advances the agenda of diversity repeatedly set by Hamilton upon taking office at the beginning of 2016. This publication has been somewhat critical of Hamilton due to a lack of significant tangible actions to truly advance diversity under his administration, but this week’s news is an excellent step in the right direction.
However, even though the class of 2021 will be the most international, it will likely be just as large — if not larger than — the class of 2020, which was the largest class in the university’s history. While there are many pros and cons of a larger class size, the other lofty goal laid out by Hamilton is greater affordability. This goal has come under criticism lately, as NYU continues to announce expansion plans, which further contribute to university costs, preventing cuts in tuition. If the university continues to grow in population, the need for more expansion will also grow, further driving up tuition costs.
Going forward, it is essential that Hamilton continues to promote diversity. Nevertheless, NYU’s diversity efforts must go beyond statistics. The university must do everything it can to protect and promote diversity in all forms — particularly diversity of thought and of socioeconomic class — in classes, residence halls and throughout campus. Only then can NYU be the place of diversity and equity that Hamilton aspires for it to be.
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