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Tara Powers
Dec 14, 2010

Statement from EVP Farnesi

Dec 14, 2010 by Tara Powers

December 10, 2010
(FRESNO, Calif.) – This university’s student newspaper recently ran an article in which a certain group of students, Smittcamp Honors College students, were identified and marginalized. The article claimed in no uncertain terms that the Smittcamp Honors College was a demonstration of institutionalized racism and that the scholarship program did not mimic the diversity of our University.
Recently, we’ve heard the word “diversity” used a lot. It seems to me that the students of Fresno State hold diversity as a positive attribute to the college experience and a vessel for tolerance and acceptance. It seems to me that the students of Fresno State believe that all people, despite their differences, deserve to be treated equally. That, my fellow students, is exactly what Smittcamp does.
To quote a great leader, a champion in our valley’s history and a role model for so many of our students, Cesar Chavez once said, “Preservation of one's own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.” I very firmly believe that this statement is true. Your ASI very firmly believes this statement is true. And this student government pledges to support all students. It matters not how you got here, or how you stay here; loans, scholarships, grants – it doesn’t make you less of a student, it doesn’t negate your right to a positive college experience, and it certainly doesn’t give any other group of individuals the right to treat you with contempt or disrespect.
No student, absolutely no student, should ever feel less than welcomed on this campus. Beyond that no entity, particularly no entity run on student fees, should ever be the source of such a negative feeling. And certainly, any display of the contrary would not, could not, honor diversity. To be diverse, does not mean we must also be divided. It is my hope that all organizations on campus uphold standards that respect all students.
Selena Farnesi
ASI Executive Vice-President