Language and Diversity Statement
At the CSU Writing Center, we work with students not only from all disciplines and fields of study, but from diverse backgrounds. Writers might be first-generation college students, from racial or ethnic minorities, have disabilities, speak multiple languages, practice different faiths, or come from over 200 countries.
Academic writing is inherently exclusive, to the detriment of anyone lacking facility in standard, academic English. It is not a variety of language that everyone has access to, and therefore it can silence the voices of those from non-privileged backgrounds.
- Because of the diversity of our student, faculty, and staff population, we strive to help writers improve in ways that take into account their various educational, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.
- We respect students' native languages, dialects, pronouns, and perspectives.
- We respect students' concerns regarding how they can and want to express themselves.
- Balancing audience needs with student improvement, we strive to help writers express themselves in their own voices.
So what about grammar? Because of these concerns and the nature of our educational philosophy, we do not edit or proofread. Editing and proofreading assume that one answer is the correct answer, without taking into account diversity within the English language.
Instead, in order to help writers become more proficient in expressing themselves, we train our consultants to identify patterns of error that writers can apply across their writing tasks. This improves not only the individual piece of writing that they bring to us, but their language knowledge overall.
It is a choice to utilize more inclusive language practices, and we at the CSU Writing Center hope to encourage students, faculty, and staff to recognize the inherent bias in accepting only one variety of English.
For questions about this statement, working with grammar/language, or ESL students, please contact Leslie Davis at Leslie.Davis@colostate.edu.