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What comes to your mind when you think about diversity? Is it just race, or do you go beyond that idea?

Certainly, diversity goes beyond race. It embraces sexual preferences, nationalities, opinions, abilities and disabilities, beliefs and disbeliefs, and really any other trait that makes each person unique.

Throughout the university’s history, signs of both tolerance and intolerance toward diversity can be seen. On one side is the prevalence of the university’s oldest student organization, Black United Students, while on the other side is the tragic May 4 shootings.

In line with the university’s excellence campaign, President Lester Lefton created the position of vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion. Dr. Alfreda Brown was appointed last week at the Board of Trustees meeting. Lefton said she “will take the university to the next level of inclusive excellence.”

Now that the university has an administrator focused solely on diversity, it is time for the three parties that formed the university’s community – students, faculty and administrators – to work together toward a welcoming environment.

Brown herself can’t erase the prejudices you might have about a Democrat or a Republican, nor can she convince you to attend a PRIDE!Kent meeting. It’s out of her power to register you for either a Pan-African studies or comparative religion class.

She can’t ask a faculty member not to judge students based on the way they look or not to lower students’ grades because they’re shy of speaking English.

What Brown can do is walk around campus, meet with students and faculty, not just deans and administrators. She should get to know the people who make up Kent State and strive for a united community.

And what you must do is to open your mind and incorporate diversity into your life. Walk away from your comfort zone. Look at the people around you, in class, in the bus, at the Hub, at the rec center and celebrate what makes everyone special.

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