Tag Archives: Diversity

Letter to Tony Fels

Headshot for Clarence B. JonesClarence B. Jones is a diversity visiting professor.

Dear Professor Fels,

This semester I have taken a leave of absence to devote my time to writing my autobiography and memoirs.

On a recent visit to the campus, your letter about USF, its courses and faculty was brought to my attention.

You open your comments by saying “Everybody knows that the University of San Francisco is a left-wing school. Many students choose to come here because of the school’s overt commitment to social justice, while others negotiate their way through radical lectures and course assignments as best they can.” Continue reading Letter to Tony Fels

Janice Mirikitani and Chip Conley To Visit USF Next Tuesday For Diversity Talks

Elizabeth Silva
Staff Writer

Diversity Scholar and Visiting Professor Janice Mirikitani will be at USF next Tuesday, October 7 for a presentation with veteran CEO/Hotelier, and New York Times bestselling author Chip Conley to address the importance of the human connection.

Mirikitani will reflect on her life-long legacy of leading civil rights and justice programs in San Francisco and on her poetry career. Continue reading Janice Mirikitani and Chip Conley To Visit USF Next Tuesday For Diversity Talks

Where’s the Diversity in USF Student Media?


Matt Miller is a senior media studies major.

mattAs an individual that bears marginalized identities, I feel especially impacted by and interested in issues of diversity and social justice. This inclination is, in part, what made me choose USF in my college search as a prospective student. USF’s mission statement lists “the diversity of perspectives, experiences and traditions” as one of its core educational values. Coming here, I expected to find comfort in the diversity the institution promised I would find.

After three years of being a student at the university, however, I’ve come to feel underwhelmed by the representation of diverse perspectives on-campus.

In my Media Studies courses, I often take a moment to scan the classroom and observe my peers. My eyes are met with classes filled with white privileged students, and as each semester draws on, it becomes clear that issues of diversity aren’t a prime focus for many of my fellow Media Studies majors.

To me, it seems the majority of student media on-campus is produced by the privileged, about the privileged, and for the privileged.

Student-produced content created by classmates or by student media outlets like USFtv or the Foghorn will often miss the mark when it comes to representing the diverse perspectives the university claims are a core value to this institution. When I attend student film showings, I’m disappointed by the overrepresentation of privileged narratives and the underrepresentation or complete misrepresentation of marginalized narratives. I can only sit through so many straight, cisgendered white narratives before I start to wonder why so many perspectives are erased semester after semester.

In recent times, it feels as though USFtv’s cultural segment has missed a wealth of opportunities to cover important cultural issues like San Francisco’s growing gentrification problem. Instead of covering issues that matter, the cultural segment has most recently focused on topics like Pug Sunday at Alta Plaza Park and the best places to find coffee in the city. While I enjoy cute dog videos as much as the next person, I’d rather see a cultural segment that covers issues of greater value.

The Foghorn’s satirical April Fools issue offended some people of subordinated identities in the USF community last semester. The misrepresentation of marginalized identities in that issue, intentional or not, sparked a crucial conversation about the way marginalized identities fit into campus media.

Do students producing media at USF bear a responsibility to be more conscious of marginalized identities? Are our Media Studies professors doing enough to meet the core educational values in the university’s mission statement?

While it would be highly unrealistic to expect every student involved in producing media on-campus to focus their energies solely on issues of diversity and social justice, I do think there is serious room to improve when it comes to giving the spotlight to these topics.

Going into my final year at USF, I hope to see a shift in the kind of content my peers create. Diverse perspectives already exist amongst the USF community—right now, I think it’s a matter of continuing the existing conversation about what issues deserve more air time, how to properly represent marginalized identities, and in what ways community leaders like professors can do more to promote a focus on these topics.

I hope I can leave this university feeling more satisfied with the way student media includes diverse perspectives. As things stand right now, however, there’s still much to be desired. 

USF Celebrates International Education Week

Marcella DeProto

International Education Week (IEW) is a national event that celebrates international diversity and cross cultural education. , IEW will be celebrated at USF November 14-18 to promote cultural understanding by bringing together students of different ethnic backgrounds ata variety of cultural oriented activities held each day of the week..

With over 1000 international students representing almost 80 countries, USF is an especially diverse university. Eleven organizations are involved in planning and sponsoring IEW.

Such organizations include the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), Cultural Center, and the International Student Association (ISA). The week’s events include games, a banquet of multicultural foods, displays of flags and special presentations.

Marcella DeProto, assistant director of the ISSS, emphasized the importance of celebrating international diversity. “IEW will highlight how the global community is and bring together many students of different cultures,” she said. “[IEW] will bring a better understanding of the different cultures here at USF.” ‘Cultivating Our Global Community’ is the theme for this year’s IEW.

As done in the past, international students and faculty will hold a display of flags representing their home countries, cultures and backgrounds. This year, the flags will be displayed on the construction wall around Harney in the Gleeson Plaza from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Senior Evelyn Obamos, president of the Culturally Focused Clubs Council (CFCC), said it is important to celebrate IEW because many students at USF come from first generation families. CFCC oversees and collaborates with over twenty organizations including the Black Student Union, Kasamahan, and the Latin American Student Organization.

When asked what she hoped for students to gain from IEW Obamos said, “I hope they embrace the idea and acknowledge the differences in a positive light.”

USF will conclude IEW with Culturescape in Presentation Theater on Friday, from 6 – 9 p.m. Culturescape is an annual event hosted by the International Student Association (ISA) with the support of the ISSS.

Peter Bassoe, ISA president, said he feels it is very important to celebrate IEW to acknowledge and celebrate USF’s great diversity.
He said, “USF’s key strengths is the ability to unite a global community through education, but few students really think about the advantages that this brings.”

During the grand finale of IEW, namely Culturescape, students will see and, literally, get a taste of what USF’s diverse cultures have to offer, through great performances and cuisine,” Bassoe said.

For more information and a full list of the week’s events visit http://www.usfca.edu/isss/iew

Foghorn Staff Responds to Street Talk Controversy

In the Nov. 18 issue of the Foghorn, the Opinion Section published a Street Talk question that read, “If you were a pilgrim, which state would you colonize first and why?” Four USF students answered this question. In the following week, the Foghorn editorial staff received several e-mail messages responding to this question, claiming it was an intentional attack on persons of color and minorities who have been and are continually suppressed by colonizers around the world. The Foghorn staff is dedicating this column to respond to these complaints.

First, the Opinion Editor, as well as the rest of the staff, would like to apologize for allowing this question to be posed and published. It was never the Foghorn’s intention for any member of the USF community to feel discriminated against based on our paper’s content. The Foghorn staff recognizes that the word “colonize” can be interpreted with a violent and/or oppressive connotation that was not intended upon the creation of this Street Talk question. If given the chance to re-phrase the question, we would substitute the word “colonize” for “settle in,” as the latter conveys our true intention of the question.

Although our staff received numbers of negative letters and experienced considerable internal conflict based on this question, we stand together as an executive board to refute the allegations of white supremacy and Eurocentrism written in the Letter to the Editor on this page. Although our word choice was poor in this particular column, it is clear based on the content of our weekly paper that the Foghorn staff is not tolerant of prejudice, racial or ethnic discrimination, or of the oppression of any group, anywhere, at any time.

The claim that the Foghorn staff is choosing to ignore history or has completely forgotten history is entirely false. No Foghorn staff member is under the impression that the United States government and its populace have not oppressed racial and ethnic minorities in both the past and the present.  Conversely, the Foghorn Staff is comprised of individuals from a broad range of racial, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, and sexual minorities. To accuse our staff of poor word choice or politically incorrect questions is a valid allegation. But, to accuse our staff of ignoring worldwide oppression, furthering colonialism, and advocating for white supremacy and persecution of all minorities is fallacious and unfounded.

The Foghorn seeks to create an academic environment that challenges readers and inspires the USF community to take action for social justice related causes, specifically minority rights locally, nationally, and globally. The Opinion Section continually publishes editorials that call for students to take action against forces of oppression and inequality. For critics to claim that this is not so is to admit that the critics themselves have not taken the time to ever read a complete issue of the Foghorn.

We would like to, again, emphasize our apology for our tasteless question. If you have a specific concern please send your feedback to [email protected]

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Opinion Editor: Laura Waldron