Several UT students and faculty members believe employing a long-term vision and a proactive attitude will promote minority enrollment and diversity on campus.
Jocelyn Milton, interim director for Minority Student Affairs, said she thinks minority enrollment at UT will increase if the university continues to be consistent in offering the programs and opportunities that are presently available for students.
"The university has scholarship opportunities and good faculty members," Milton said. "If we keep offering these things, people will begin to notice."
A.D. Baxter, coordinator for Minority Student Affairs, said a systematic effort in terms of recruitment and retention will bring more minority students to the university. He went on to say that retainment of students will be a catalyst for recruitment.
Baxter also said scholarship programs and exposure to the campus prior to enrollment will aide in recruitment efforts.
Milton said the recruitment of students and promotion of diversity on campus is the responsibility of everyone.
"It's something everyone should be willing to embrace," Milton said. "Diversity is not the responsibility of the International House, Minority Student Affairs or the African American Studies program. It is something that involves everyone from every end of the spectrum - staff, faculty and especially students."
Milton said she feels the only way to facilitate communication is to keep the dialogue open to everyone.
"Even though it seems people aren't interested, you keep offering the opportunity to voice opinions," Milton said.
Baxter said dialogue on campus would increase and "enhance the faculty and student relationship" if the two groups attended the same programs with each other.
In order to break down the communication barriers between groups on campus, Milton said she thinks we should continue to be proactive and have long-term vision.
"Communication begins with stepping outside one's comfort zone and looking to see where they can play a role and bring their talents to the table," Milton said.
Baxter said events such as Alternative Fall and Spring breaks, Martin Luther King service day and Dance Marathon provide opportunities for students to interact and breakdown communication barriers.
"I want to encourage African Americans and others to become involved," Baxter said. "We need to take one step at a time to build some building blocks and gain a better understanding. It can't happen all at once."
Several students said they feel the university provides opportunity for diversity but believe the promotion of these opportunities is the responsibility of everyone on campus.
"I think that for UT to have a more diverse atmosphere the students are going to have to step forward and be willing to learn on their own and not wait for the administration and faculty to put on programs and workshops," said Billy Dahlgren, a first-year graduate student.
Dahlgren said most of the diversity programs he has gone to on campus have been attended primarily by students of that ethnicity or minority.
"I think that students just need to challenge themselves to learn and open their minds a little more," he said.
Lynitta Montague, a sophomore, said she thinks the administration does a commendable job to make people of all cultures feel at home.
"Being an American Indian myself, I'm always excited to read about the various cultural activities they make available."
Lauren Anderson, a senior in psychology, said she thinks the university provides a large opportunity for every student to be extremely well-rounded in different fields, particularly because of distribution requirements.
"I think there is diversity in regards to ethnicity, but it may not be as much as the university would like to have or as much as certain ethnic groups would like to have," Anderson said. "I think there needs to be a willingness on everyone's part, not just certain groups, to be open-minded. We are all human beings - all deserving of the same respect."