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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

May 28, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

Commentary: An Inside Look beneficial to students of color

An Inside Look is one of Ithaca College’s visit options for accepted students. What makes this option different than the rest is that it was created for ALANA (African, Latino, Asian and Native American) accepted students to inform them about multicultural and intercultural opportunities at IC. If you signed up for the event this year, you will be offered the following: a catered lunch, a welcome address, participation in two of three workshops with topics related to multicultural issues on campus, a chance to attend a multicultural fair, and dinner in a dining hall. If you signed up for this event in 2008, you were offered: an overnight stay in Ithaca’s residence halls with current ALANA students, the opportunity to attend classes, and an overall chance to experience Ithaca College for a total of three days. The cut and changes made to An Inside Look is just another example of how Ithaca College does an inadequate job of supporting and providing resources for people of color on campus.

For many POCs, the arrival to Ithaca College is a culture shock. Many ALANA students experience micro-aggressions, discrimination and flat out racism. For a first-year college student, the reality of campus dynamics could be extremely hard to digest. However, An Inside Look was a program that provided a system of support for ALANA students. Although there is still a relatively small POC population on campus, this program allowed these accepted students to meet and connect with students who come from similar backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, etc. The interaction with these IC students and other accepted students allowed for a support system with one another. It also establishes friendships, a glimpse of reality, and a chance to plan and adjust.

Taking this resource away from ALANA accepted students is ensuring their failure or lack of success at IC. Transitioning from high school to college, urban area to a suburban area, or simply living on one’s own for the first time can be difficult. Some students chose not to come back to Ithaca College after the first year. Now, as an ALANA student, imagine facing the issues named in the previous sentence along with the issues of racism and discrimination. The odds are stacked significantly higher for a POC student not to return to campus as compared to their white student counterparts. Knowing this, the college should do everything it can to provide ample resources and support specifically for their ALANA students and community.

An Inside Look is to POCs what the FYE is to the typical white college student. The purpose of FYE is to help ease the transition into college for students to ensure academic success and personal growth. An Inside Look provides an opportunity for ALANA accepted students to prepare themselves for what lies ahead as well as to create a foundation for academic and social success at IC. If Ithaca College can fund FYE, then why can’t it do the same for programs that are beneficial for its ALANA community? Ithaca College’s cuts and alterations to An Inside Look deprive POCs of the support needed for these students to thrive and excel here at IC. The college should revert An Inside Look to what it once was. It should expand the program since IC’s ALANA community is growing and will only continue to grow.