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UND student newspaper delves into campus diversity

A special edition of the Dakota Student, the UND campus newspaper, has taken a rare turn from athletics to focus on social issues—in this case, diversity and resilience on campus.

Diane Newberry, Dakota Student news editor, said the collection of more than a dozen articles was intended to be "both a celebration of diversity but also sort of a dive into where the university kind of fails on diversity on all aspects."

The special edition, which hit campus newsstands this week, tackles the subject from a number of angles. Student reporters spent most of February working on articles that explore various interpretations of diversity, from racial elements to matters of gender, sexual orientation and academic choice.

The news staff first considered writing their special edition on women-centered topics, but soon expanded to a wider focus on diversity. That led writers to follow the theme into stories that are themselves diverse, such as the academic consolidation of the humanities and reductions made to the university Writing Center and English Language Learning programs.

Staff reporters also delved into the aftermath of the elimination of the UND women's hockey team, as well as staffing shifts in the campus offices tasked with providing services to groups of students who might otherwise go underserved.

Matt Eidson, Dakota Student editor-in-chief, said the paper strives to put out at least one special issue per semester. This most recent iteration is the first he can recall that has broken from the usual theme of athletics or event coverage to take a hard look at campus dynamics. Ultimately, Eidson said, the issue told a story of an "environment that's not as welcome as it could be."

Newberry came to a similar conclusion.

"Lots of groups are represented here, but they're maybe not as integrated as a campus community should be," she said, adding that she didn't believe the shortfalls described in the edition were "of malicious intent."

"I think there's a real carelessness, a lack of caring, that has been shown throughout administration on all levels," Newberry said.

The Dakota Student can be picked up free of charge on campus newstands.

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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