Western Washington University (WWU) recently circulated an unusual question about race in their school newsletter.
WWU asked, “How do we make sure that in future years, we are not as white as we are today?’”
According to Campus Reform, the question was written by the school's marketing department and seems to echo WWU President Bruce Shepard's speech in 2012 about how the school is failing because "we are as white as we are today."
“Every year, from this stage and at this time, you have heard me say that, if in decades ahead, we are as white as we are today, we will have failed as university to meet the critical needs of our state,” Shepard said (video below).
Shepard did give the Bellingham, Wash. school a pat on the back by noting that, of recent hires, 58 percent were women and 17 percent were people of color.
Shepard addressed his "white" statements in a blog posting in January, in which he wrote:
But, I’m going to bring it down to where we live. We need to attract numbers of students (diverse or otherwise) sufficient to pay our bills. Over 80% of our operating budget is made up of salaries – yours and mine. With tuition now making up 70% of our costs of instruction, fewer students mean fewer of us.
And, to be even more direct: not fewer presidents, fewer faculty. If enrollment size goes down, then it is the variable costs that are reduced, not the largely fixed administrative costs. For "variable costs" read mostly "faculty."
That means fewer curricular choices, more generic curricula, a much different and much weaker Western.