Salem, OR
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1 College Junior

Diversity: There is no diversity. There are straight white people. If I had to do it all over again , I'd rather slit my wrists.

3 College Freshman

Diversity: Mostly upper-class white students, but with an active multi-cultural department and enough diversity to not feel insulating.

4 College Freshman

Diversity: Willamette is one of the first colleges to openly accept people of LGBT+ sexual orientations. I have never seen anybody at Willamette discriminating against anyone else based on sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, or economic status. I have only once seen discrimination against national origin. I love it here.

2 College Senior

Diversity: Willamette University has a very white liberal understanding of "diversity." I feel that Willamette is not a diverse school, yet many administrators and those who represent Willamette feel like it is. However, of the numerous students of color, working-class students, and LGBTQQIA students I have spoken to, Willamette only appreciates their presence when it benefits them. I feel that, especially multicultural students and students of color, are not appreciated enough at Willamette. I hear daily of students of color who face microaggressions from their peers, their professors, and administrators, and very rarely is anything done about the racism they face. Students have been fighting for sex-neutral bathrooms in dorms for years, with very little headway being made. Administrators very rarely attend events put on by multicultural clubs, and our president will come to some of these events to speak, and then leave five minutes later. However, he always has the time to attend events put on by the theater department. Diversity is only celebrated at Willamette when it doesn't make those in the majority feel uncomfortable. It only matters to those of us who care, which is a small number.

3 College Sophomore

Diversity: In general the student body is progressive and liberal


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 31st
    Most Liberal Schools
  • 538th
    Most Open-Minded Schools
  • 1364th
    Most Conservative Schools

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Rafael Baptista
Portland, OR
Politics and Spanish
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

Even though Willamette is a small college with a small student population, there is a significant amount of diversity on campus. In addition to racial and ethnic diversity, there is substantial geographic, religious, and cultural diversity. Willamette is home to students from across the United States in addition to many international students. Willamette is also home to Tokyo International University of America (TIUA), which brings 100 to 150 Japanese students to campus to study and live with Willamette students every year.

Willamette builds off the diversity of its student body by supporting several multicultural clubs and events, as well as school-sponsored programs and discussions around social justice and diversity. For students interested in diversity and social justice, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the Chaplains are great programs in which to become involved. For students seeking to experience other cultures, there are numerous cultural events every week on campus, ranging from the annual Luau and Pow Wow events to food nights with the Spanish Club. A student could easily learn to cook food from Bolivia, eat French pastries, and experience Japanese music in a week at Willamette. The diversity at Willamette is greatly supported by the fact that the majority of Willamette students will study abroad during their time at Willamette. When these students return from studying abroad, they bring back with them some of the culture of the country they lived in and further increase Willamette’s cultural diversity.

Facts & Statistics

African American
Native American
Historically Black College/University?
Tribal College?
Out-of-State Students
Common States of Residence
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Washington
Student Age Breakdown
Under 18: 2%
18-19: 32%
20-21: 32%
22-24: 10%
25+: 20%
Female Faculty
Male Faculty
Faculty Diversity
African American: 2%
Asian American: 8%
Hispanic: 6%
International: 0%
Native American: 0%
White: 78%
Unknown: 6%
Gay Pride
The campus and Willamette community is accepting and encouraging of its gay community. There is an active gay-straight alliance on campus called Angles. Regarding events and organizations, the annual "Guess the Straight Person" event is a popular campus tradition. There are a lot of free campus resources for gay students. The city of Salem tends to have more of an older, active gay community, but not much of a younger social scene. Luckily, Portland is nearby.
Political Activity
Willamette is a very politically active school. Students are well versed in the latest political news, and many students work and intern at the State Capitol. Getting involved in politics on campus is really easy. Students can join any of the many campaigns that recruit on campus, work at the State Capitol, or join the College Democrats or Republicans. Willamette has a long history of political involvement and counts many judges, governors, and members of Congress among its alumni.
Economic Status
Willamette is an expensive school, no doubt about that. To be able to afford to attend this prestigious little institution, most students are of a higher economic status and fall into the middle- to upper-middle class. You will meet a handful of students who have loans and scholarships, plus are working part time to pay for their schooling. Mostly, you will be in contact with middle-class students, most on some form of loans or grants. Willamette has a generous financial aid office that allows students to graduate with small amounts of debt.
Most Common Religions
While Willamette is a Methodist-affiliated school, most Willamette students would identify themselves as some form of Christian or nonreligious. There are several active religious organizations on campus, including Campus Ambassadors (a popular Christian Fellowship), Jewish Student Union, and the InterVaristy Christian Fellowship. Some dorms and even athletic teams offer weekly Bible study groups.
Minority Clubs on Campus
Alpha Zeta Nu represents the interests and concerns of Willamette's Asian community. The Hawaii Club is one of the most popular clubs at Willamette that celebrates all things Hawaiian, and it is also the sponsor of the Luau, a Willamette tradition. Alianza is a popular Latino cultural club that hosts popular events such as "Dia de los Muertos" and "Cinco De Mayo." There are numerous other minority clubs that represent various different minority populations on campus.
Did You Know?
Luau is one of the most attended events on campus and attracts people from all over the Northwest.

Student Polls

How would you best describe your personal political beliefs?    Based on 35 responses

  • 3% Libertarian
  • 9% Not sure
  • 3% Very conservative
  • 3% Conservative
  • 20% Moderate
  • 34% Liberal
  • 29% Progressive/very liberal

How would you best describe the political beliefs of campus as a whole?    Based on 35 responses

  • 0% Libertarian
  • 0% Very conservative
  • 0% Conservative
  • 11% Moderate
  • 0% Not sure
  • 57% Liberal
  • 31% Progressive/very liberal

How diverse is the student body in the following areas?    Based on 34 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How diverse is your personal circle of friends in the following areas?    Based on 33 responses

Totally homogenous
Extremely diverse
  • Economic status
  • Ethnic heritage
  • National origin (international students)
  • Political affiliation
  • Religious background
  • Sexual orientation

How accepting is the campus community as a whole toward someone who falls into the minority (ethnic, sexual, or religious)?    Based on 35 responses

  • 3% It's hard to be a minority here.
  • 3% The campus is split on its acceptance-not all minority groups are as accepted as others.
  • 31% Most students are accepting, except for a few rare cases of intolerance.
  • 63% Very accepting.
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