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Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard appearing in a 2011 'call to action' video.

College president calls it failure if college stays as white as it is

The president of Western Washington University is calling for more diversity on campus, but the way he did it has some people calling for his resignation.

Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard has said, "If we are as white in ten years as we are today, Western will have failed as a university."

Shepard explained the statement in a blog post, saying that he wants more minorities to attend Western; not at the expense of whites, he wrote, but because demographics in the state are trending toward a larger minority population. And so, the institution would be a failure if it did not also reflect that shift.

The conservative Campus Reform website, which aims to "expose bias and abuse on the nation's college campuses," has written about Shepard's comments. Host David Boze spoke to Campus Reform writer Kaitlyn Schallhorn about the issue.

"Basically what he's saying is race is more important than the merits of a student, than grades," Schallhorn told Boze.

On Campus Reform, Schallhorn has quoted people with ties to Western and tweets reacting to Shepard's comments.

"I send $20,000 a year to this school, and it makes me feel like my son doesn't belong there," said Jeff Ogren, father of a Western student.

"Racism is alive and well at Western Washington University leadership," John Thompson wrote on Twitter.

Boze equated the controversy to organizations that claim to celebrate diversity unless that diversity involves whites. He compared it to Mozilla issuing a statement praising its commitment to diversity, while its new CEO steps down because he opposed gay marriage.

Boze asked Schallhorn to judge which hypothetical situation Bruce Shepard would pick as more diverse: eating lunch with three friends of differing races, or eating lunch with three friends with different jobs.

"They're both pretty diverse," Schallhorn said. "But from reading President Shepard's blog, I would assume he'd say the first one."

"The whole thing becomes an exercise in hand wringing and political correctness," Boze said.

Neal McNamara, Writer, KTTH
Originally from the Northeast, Neal McNamara has worked as a news reporter for more than 10 years at newspapers across the U.S., landing most recently in Seattle.
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