Ribeau speaks about diversity at USG forum

Kristen Vasas and Kristen Vasas

University President Sidney Ribeau stressed the importance of diversity and uniqueness on campus during the Undergraduate Student Government general assembly meeting last night.

The topic spurred from the recent appointment of a chancellor for higher education. Chancellor Eric Fingerhut will be touring BGSU tomorrow and Thursday.

A master plan for higher education was created under Gov. Ted Strickland and calls for all Ohio universities to adhere to requirements. Fingerhut, who will try to get a feel for University academics, programs and mission statements while visiting the campus, will report back to Strickland.

Ribeau stressed the idea that portraying the uniqueness of BG is vital because some Ohio universities, including Cleveland State University and the University of Akron, may be forced to merge into one major school in the near future.

‘[The chancellor will be] trying to figure out the distinct mission of the University, as well as trying to see whether taxpayers’ dollars are being spent wisely,’ Ribeau said. ‘This will require us to look at our academic programs to see whether they are duplicative or unique.’

USG then went on to discuss what makes BG unique, namely the integration of study abroad programs as well as the BgeXperience.

‘To me, BG is not known by the uniqueness of its programs,’ USG President Johnnie Lewis said. ‘I didn’t come here for the programs, but for the experience. The experience and the people are what makes Bowling Green unique.’

Ribeau also stressed the importance of being prepared for a multicultural, changing world after college.

‘Are you prepared to work in environments with multilingual backgrounds?’ he said. ‘Do you speak enough languages? Will you be able to do business in China?’

According to Ribeau, because of the different economic powers emerging in China and India, the chancellor is calling for selective universities, including Miami University, BGSU, Kent State and Ohio University, to have language requirements.

‘We will not just be looking at the language, but also the culture,’ Ribeau said. ‘As we consider changes and altercations, USG will be very involved in it.’

Speaker Jeremy Lehman also felt that it would be a great opportunity for students to learn not only the language of different nationalities, but also the culture.

‘In particular, Chinese is a rapidly growing language that we’re going to have to know,’ he said. ‘It would be an advantage to be able to communicate with bilingual students.’

Ribeau also stressed the importance of more co-ops and internships in all areas of education.

‘It is important to tailor your education to your expectations, but also towards your future work,’ he said. ‘Internships need to continue to focus on the individual.’

Ribeau finished the night by acknowledging the fact that every student’s education is in his or her own hands.

‘Your education here is yours,’ he said. ‘What you gain and what you don’t gain and what you take from here is up to you.’