Bellevue Community College's newly minted vice president of equity and pluralism and an increased emphasis at the school on diversity are...

Bellevue Community College’s newly minted vice president of equity and pluralism and an increased emphasis at the school on diversity are welcomed signs.

BCC is smartly moving away from knee-jerk responses to one stupid incident and addressing more thoughtfully issues of diversity and inclusion. This school has a solid reputation for academics and as a place that values differences. Last month, BCC was named one of the “Nation’s Leading Colleges and Universities Committed to Diversity,” by Minority, Inc., a national nonprofit promoting diversity in education.

Under the leadership of President Jean Floten, the school has spent the past decade refining a culture that promotes diversity and equal opportunity in education.

Unfortunately, these noteworthy goals have been eclipsed lately by the controversy ignited when a professor wrote a racially insulting math problem last April.

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This page characterized the instructor’s actions then as stupid but not an indication of systemic racism at BCC. We still believe that is the case. Bigots are not running rampant at BCC.

The addition of veteran educator James Bennett as vice president of equity and pluralism raises the level of discussion about diversity to a place that is more constructive and less emotional. It promises changes less fixated on an individual and more aimed at strengthening a system.

Bennett cautions that he won’t be wearing a cape emblazoned with an “S” and thus no one should assume racially insensitive incidents won’t happen again. But they will happen in an arena strengthened by diversity initiatives at the highest levels.