Our View: Don’t let diversity die

DKS Editors

For 40 years, Kent State’s African Ensemble has allowed students to explore other cultures through music.

Members of the group, founded in 1969 by Professor Emeritus Halim El-Dabh, play traditional music from across the African continent. El-Dabh said the ensemble stimulates “the whole idea of the full and rich cultures of Africa.”

But now the ensemble is in trouble.

Because of declining membership, the group is in danger of going out of existence once its current members graduate. Ensemble leader Kazadi wa Mukuna said part of the African identity on campus will fade away if the group disappears.

We completely agree. The existence of the ensemble is important for Kent State, and diversity on campus would take a hit if it went away.

Diversity has been an issue at Kent State in the past. The university created the Commission on Inclusion two years ago to help foster diversity on campus, and some of the commission’s recommendations have been put into place already. Alfreda Brown, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, took office earlier this month and will attempt to make more of the commission’s recommendations a reality.

But diversity at Kent State is much more than Brown and the commission. It’s up to us just as much to increase diversity on campus and in our own lives.

It can begin just by joining a group like the African Ensemble. The group accepts anybody, regardless of gender, race or other qualifiers. Most other on-campus groups are the same.

And diversity on campus is more than just the ensemble. Groups such as Black United Students, PRIDE!Kent and the Spanish and Latino Student Association are all aimed at making Kent State a more diverse place.

Perhaps it’s time you checked one of these groups out. The existence of these groups may be taken for granted, but they shouldn’t be. These groups need members – not only to remain in existence, but also because with every new member comes new ideas.

Joining one of these groups would be a good thing for you in the long run. Doing so gives you a chance to see the world from a different point of view than the one you’re used to.

So why not give it a chance? Go to a BUS meeting or a PRIDE! event and see what they have to offer. Nobody says you have to join those groups, but it can’t hurt to check them out.

After all, while you may take these groups for granted now, the campus will certainly miss them if they’re gone. It’s our job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The above editorial is the consensus of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.