Opinions on the diversity of U of I's student body really depend on the type of students you ask. A minority student will say that the campus is not diverse, but a white student will generally say the campus is very diverse. The truth is that a large percentage of the students are white, while there is less than 10 percent each of African Americans and Hispanics. However, for being located in central Illinois, these statistics are rather impressive. Moreover, the University has one of the highest international student enrollments in the country—10th among public universities—due to the prestige of its engineering and business programs. Efforts are made to reach minority students, and cultural events and art shows give much needed attention to non-white students. There are many groups that connect UIUC students to international students, as well as dozens of minority student organizations that are very active on campus and frequently host events or put on shows.
A big debate on campus in 2007 was the issue of the Chief mascot. The campus was divided over this issue, which the NCAA resolved by eliminating such mascots for several colleges. Critics claimed that the practice took a sacred Native American tradition and used it for sport, while supporters claimed it was a respectful dance, a harmless tradition, and a priceless institution. Currently, the University will retain the “Illini” and “Fighting Illini” nicknames. Hopefully, the change will allow former critics to feel more comfortable.