Accent Advocate: Cultural Atmosphere Diverse, Strong

blogimage.jpgReposted from the Accent Advocate - Lorenzo Morotti.

The diversity of age, ethnicity, and gender of students at Contra Costa College is the most varied among colleges in the district and the state.

Dean of Student Services Vicki Ferguson said, “CCC is a melting pot of different students who represent the Bay Area’s diversity. The whole picture is here (CCC).”

Ferguson said that the surrounding areas of Richmond and San Pablo are major contributors to the ethnic diversity on campus because its eclectic cultural influences.

“This allows for a free exchange of cultures and ideas, “ she said. “It is what makes CCC such a unique campus.”

A non-profit information analysis and advocacy association Education Center for Analysis and Research has done an undergraduate report, with the cooperation of the Contra Costa Community College District Research and Planning Department, to track and compare diversity among students at CCC, Diablo Valley College, and Los Medanos College with the National Community College Benchmark.

At CCC, 31 percent of students fit within the 18 to 24 age gap and 68.5 percent are 25 and up. The males are outnumbered by more than half. ECAR reported 67.8 of those students are female, and only 25.9 were male.

In the ECAR report, CCC boasts the most evenly assorted mix of students of different ethnicities among its sister colleges and on a national level.

Last year at CCC 20.3 percent of students enrolled were African American, 23.2 percent Asian, 23.9 Latino, 23.9 white, and 8.7 were listed as other.

DVC had a student body consisting of 2.7 percent African-American, 23 percent Asian, 14.1 percent Latino, 53.6 percent white, and 6.6 percent listed as other last year.

LMC’s demographics were distributed 15.2 percent African-American, 10.3 percent Asian, 26 percent Latino, 45.1 percent white and 3.4 percent other.

Associated Student Union President Ysrael Condori said the combination of different people hailing from many cities from across the East Bay to provide CCC with a plethora of opinions and ideas.

“There is a huge mix of people who come to this campus,” Condori said. “Students come from as far away as Albany, Berkeley, Vallejo, El Cerrito, Pinole, Rodeo and, of course, Richmond and San Pablo,” he said. “It’s what makes our campus so diverse.”

College President Denise Noldon said CCC provides equity for education among a diverse group of students.

The six high schools in the colleges’ service area unknowingly prepare students to be accepting of cultures.

“Students coming out of the public high school systems are used to being part of a diverse community,” Dr. Noldon said. “ CCC is a normal environment for them.”

Condori said the demographic group that is growing the most rapidly is Latino. It has grown more than 20 percent since 2007 districtwide.

While CCC has the most evenly dispersed ethnic demographic, it does not have the largest Latino community at campuses in the district. Los Medanos student population is 26 percent Latino.

Administration of justice department Chairperson Rick Ramos said, “CCC, like many institutions across California, is browning. Latinos have become the minor majority.”

Ramos said CCC overall has more people who derive from different cultures than any other college in the district. He said LMC is leading in student growth among Latinos, however.

“I am the son of a Mexican immigrant. I was the first in my generation to graduate from a institution of higher learning,” he said.

“Community college was my only pathway to higher education. CCC provided me with an opportunity I would not have taken if I lived anywhere but Richmond.” 

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