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November 3, 2000

DH-00-TW-228

Contact: Tim Woodhull

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Haleemon Anderson: Mother, Grandmother, and Student Body President at California State University, Dominguez Hills

It is the start of another school week at CSU Dominguez Hills. Faculty is still arriving. Staff is getting coffee. And, most students aren’t yet on campus — except, of course, Haleemon Anderson.

Carrying a full class load of 18 hours this semester, Anderson, 45, feels the weight of responsibility to family, homework, and school. She is the mother of four, a grandmother of five, and president of a student body of more than 12,000 students.

"This is one of my first forays into student government," Anderson says, glancing at her schedule on the desk in her sparsely decorated office, tucked back in a wing of Loker University Student Union. "I had sat some time on the ASI board last year. I saw some things I didn’t like about student government and thought that the (ASI) president should accomplish.

"I want to get a first-rate student newspaper on campus. That is what drove my campaign. And," Anderson adds, "I think there are some areas of student government that could be stepped up to help unify Dominguez Hills."

Such matters help keep her focused — as if she isn’t busy enough with home life and school.

In 1994, she was raising a family, writing press releases for a music industry magazine, and enrolled in general education courses at El Camino College. When she finished three years later and decided to pursue her degree, she enrolled at Dominguez Hills because it was closest to her home in Gardena.

For three consecutive years, CSUDH has been named by U.S. News & World Report the most diverse public university west of the Mississippi. Perhaps, says Anderson, an African American, that claim makes others proud, but she is more concerned how the university channels its diversity in its mission of teaching and learning.

"I look at ‘diversity’ as a politically correct word that doesn’t have a lot of depth," Anderson shrugs. "Just because you have people of different races, that doesn’t mean anything in and of itself. I think as Americans we are more alike than we are different. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for advocating for diversity because it is important to guarantee access to education to as many different kinds of people at the university. That enhances our educational experience. But, how we allow diversity to teach us, and what we take from that experience, is what is most important."

Further information can be obtained by contacting Tim Woodhull, director, Media Relations, at (310) 243-3367.

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