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All of the participants in this project were enrolled in the Critical Theory/Social Justice class Culture and Community during the Spring Semester of 2014. Each of us enrolled in this class for different and yet similar reasons:

1938-1952 & C.O.D.E.

Douglas Pentland

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 Diversity at Oxy concerns me because everybody benefits and grows from a positive commitment to learning about and supporting diversity. I took this course because I wanted to learn more about the history of diversity at Occidental to explore how people handled issues in the past to better move forward in the future.

Caroline Szweda

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 Growing up I went to majorly international schools where issues of diversity were not something that the schools needed to focus on as the student body was incredible diverse and ever changing. Therefore, before coming to Occidental I did not think much about issues of diversity. After four years here I have come to understand how important fostering a diverse student body is and the difficulty involved in creating a safe and equitable environment for minority students.

Madeleine Ziomek

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 “Diversity” is in theory at the heart of the Oxy experience. In practice, it’s much more complicated than that. Oxy’s facade of “diversity” is what made me at first feel at home here, but that illusion has crumbled quickly. Exploring the history of diversity at Oxy has been enlightening to understand why there is such a tangible disconnect between Oxy’s rhetoric and the reality on campus.


Somer Greene

Community Based Marketing and Research Class of 2016 I enrolled in this course because I hold a deep interest in the way Occidental uses diversity as a tool to strengthen the college’s curriculum. I chose to participate in this course to understand diversity from a historical perspective, and how it relates to the way this institution defines its commitment to diversity today.

Qiu Fogarty

Social Justice & Change Major Class of 2014 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” - MLK, “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (1963); “Asian
 to watch
 racism” - Amy Uyematsu
, “The Emergence of Yellow Power” (1969)

Myaisha Hayes

Black Studies Major Class of 2014

Christopher Hino

Biochemistry Class of 2015 Equity and Diversity at an institute of higher education is a springboard towards the application of social justice without which universal and lasting peace can be established. As our world careens towards overpopulation and a shortage or resources, social injustice, discrimination, and global conflict are the most pressing problems of our time. I took this class because I wanted not only to explore the values of equality and diversity, but also to search the archived history of Occidental College via documents and interviews to see if we can achieve a collective consciousness to heal our increasingly fragmented world.


Mika Cribbs

Community Based Marketing and Research Class of 2016 I chose to go to Oxy because of its commitment to diversity. After entering my first year in disillusionment, due to the false advertising at the Multicultural Summer Institute, I want to make sure all students in the future feel welcome at this school.

Oby Okpalanma

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2016 I participated in the Multicultural Visitation Program as a prospective student, in which I was given a false impression of this school. I thought that because I was around a lot of people of color during the program, then the school had a diverse population. As a result, I’d like to show outsiders an accurate description of what is occurring on this campus in relation to diversity and equity.

Nancy Nguyen

Politics Major Class of 2014 I have a stake in diversity because having a safe and equitable environment for students of color and other marginalized identities to flourish is absolutely necessary for excellence in higher education.


Kristie Borg

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 While my hometown and previous schools are clearly diverse by number, I now realize just how socially and economically segregated of an environment I used to live in. I enrolled in this course because I am interested in learning about the institutionalization of not just diversity, but multiculturalism as well, where a community is created in order to support people from various backgrounds.

Alex LaRosa

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 I chose to participate in this course because I am interested in examining Occidental’s commitment to diversity from a historical perspective. I decided to attend Occidental because of the it’s mission to create a diverse and equitable atmosphere for learning. I believe that we can better understand how to move forward in this goal by learning from past efforts.

Kenji Hammon

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 This course is similar to an interview archival project I completed for my comps thesis. My stake in diversity is large, I live it and document it at the college.


Dani Lyons

Urban & Environmental Policy Major Class of 2014 Equity and diversity on campus lead to a richer experience in higher education for everyone, and an opportunity to understand viewpoints and backgrounds other than one's own. It is my hope that this project generates dialogue by showing evidence of Occidental’s inconsistent dedication to diversity and equity, in a format that does not inspire hostility but illustrates our collective history and how much farther we have to go to create an equitable institution.

August Polstein

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 I will always have a stake in diversity.

Hana Kaneshige

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2014 Diversity is an important part of our community, and often goes unappreciated. If Occidental College is to be able to return to its mission, and truly claim diversity and equity as core values, further conversation and actions (not words) are needed.

Mischa DiBattiste

Critical Theory & Social Justice Class of 2015 Diversity at Occidental affects every individual associated with the institution, including me. I believe that Oxy has the potential to be a space in which all students, including students of color and other marginalized/underrepresented students, can thrive. It is only with the critical work of passionate and dedicated individuals will this space be realized.