Editorial: Diversity at NIU must be reflected throughout

Editor’s Note: The Northern Star Editorial Board feels that its current makeup of editors does not allow for the board to accurately speak on topics of race. For this editorial, the Editorial Board voted to hold a session consisting of just Black staffers to discuss these issues. The board agreed in having the editorial penned by a Black staffer and was agreed upon by those staffers who took part in the session. 

Looking on the outside, it would seem that NIU is a predominantly white institution and so it may come as a surprise for some that it isn’t. NIU is a majority-minority institution, according to NIU’s own demographic breakdown. The difference is, NIU fails to reflect that diversity in its faculty and also in its coverage from its media outlets.

The Northern Star, which represents the students of NIU, made a pledge that we are committed to sharing Black stories and voices on campus and trying to recruit Black staffers. The Northern Star Editorial Board acknowledges that our coverage doesn’t reflect the diversity of NIU’s campus.

Currently, this presents a challenge, given there are no Black editors at the Northern Star.

Regardless, the Northern Star is committed to sharing Black stories, but it is our job to actively seek out those voices to showcase them. Having an all-white editor staff, we need to go the extra mile to ensure we’re covering all sides on campus.

The Northern Star Editorial Board promises to uplift and encourage current Black staffers to continue covering topics related to their community while pledging to actively seek out and share stories from all communities around campus by sitting down and starting conversations with those bodies.

Students come to college to be exposed to different viewpoints and cultures and grow as young adults, but how can that be done if the staff isn’t diverse?

The Editorial Board believes that the NIU administration and faculty don’t reflect the students it serves. Most of the professors are white and it can be hard for Black students and students of color to get advice from people who have never experienced the hardships of getting into an industry as a person of color.

As Black students on this campus, we shouldn’t have to only feel safe in the communities we build ourselves; we should be able to see professors and instructors that look like us so they can be our mentors. We’re sure faculty and administration care about our success but they will never know the struggles of being a Black man or woman in any industry.

We hope that NIU will take the appropriate steps in diversifying their administration and staff to ensure the comfortability of their students and giving everyone the chance to have mentors that look just like them.

Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, decided in 2016 to set a goal to address their faculty issues. Adelphi University has implemented protocols such as requiring diversity training and seeking out candidates of color at conferences and community centers, according to its strategic plan.

The Northern Star is always willing to grow, learn and make sure everyone is represented by our coverage. The editorial board hopes the university will head students’ calls because we want a diverse and comfortable learning environment but can’t do that without its help. And don’t forget, Black history is every month, not just February.