There is no hiding the fact that white, middle-class students make up a large portion of the student body at Penn State. A large number of students come from suburban Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. Many classes, especially in the sociology department, are aimed at opening the dialogue between races. These classes have been very instrumental in creating an open and peaceful atmosphere on campus. Racially-motivated crime at Penn State has not been an issue for years.
It’s important to keep in mind that State College is surrounded by rural areas with an even less diverse population. The climate is by no means adverse to minorities, but it may not be as accommodating as larger cities and more diverse college towns. The political leaning of central Pennsylvania is generally conservative. While different cultural and personal backgrounds are accepted around campus, this may not be the case when you’re away from the University’s grounds. More liberal residents agree that the best way of dealing with the close-mindedness of the area is through education and tolerance. Recent statistics have indicated that minority populations are increasing at Penn State, but they have a long way to go before the campus could be considered a modern day “melting pot.”