Ron Crutcher was president of Wheaton College, in Norton, Mass., until 2014. He was recently inaugurated as president of the university of Richmond, another residential liberal arts college. In this column, from the Richmond Times-Dispatch, he reflects on what has and hasn’t changed for students of color on predominantly white campuses since he first moved in as a freshman 50 years ago.
If you’re planning any kind of career on a college or university campus, pay attention to what students of color are saying about their experiences. All student experience is not the same, and we need to tailor our teaching and mentoring to the needs of the students we have, not the students we imagine them to be.
The events of the past few weeks at the University of Missouri and several other campuses across the country have conjured up vivid memories of my freshman year. It deeply saddens me that students of color are still dealing with some of the same issues of alienation that I experienced 50 years ago.