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University of Colorado Graduating Higher Percentage of Minority Students, Says Report


      The University of Colorado in Boulder has done a better job of graduating minority students than other public colleges in the state, according to data released last week by the school.

      The information was released in a report to be presented in January to CU’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Diversity.

      CU President Hank Brown created the commission earlier this year to study campus diversity programs after a rash of racist incidents occurred on the university’s Boulder campus, including a hate e-mail mailed to a Black student leader in November.

Several days after that incident, more than 500 students protested on campus, asking CU administrators to do more to diversify the campus.

      Information from a Department of Education Graduation Rate Survey said that by 2004, CU had graduated about 60 percent of its minority freshman who entered the school in the fall of 1998 — the highest of any public university in Colorado.

      The report said 66 percent of CU’s total population graduated within those six years, including 68 percent of White students, 54 percent of Black students, 58 percent of Hispanics and 63 percent of Asian and American Indian students.

      Colorado State University in Fort Collins graduated more Black students in that six-year period, at 58 percent, but trailed in graduating other minority students. The University of Northern Colorado had minority graduation rates ranging from 30 percent of American Indians to 53 percent of Asian students.

      Christine Yoshinaga-Itano, CU-Boulder’s vice provost and associate vice chancellor for diversity and equity, said the graduation rate for students of color rose from 50 percent in 1993.

      However, the gap between minority students and White students remains.

      “There are some issues we still grapple with,” she said. “We want more students of color.”

      Colorado ranked in the middle of minority graduation rates among 33 other colleges in the Association of American Universities, according to a survey prepared last year by the Department of Education.

      The University of Virginia ranked the highest with an 87 percent graduation rate, while the University of Nebraska ranked last, with 39 percent.

      A message left for Interim Chancellor Phil Distefano by The Associated Press was not returned. Jeremy Jimenez, one of the three top executives of CU’s student government who have called for the school to do more to increase diversity, also did not return a phone call.

      The commission on diversity is made up of more than 40 people, including CU alumni, faculty, staff and students, as well as others not connected to the university, such as former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

      The commission will review the report released, then provide recommendations to Distefano, who has 60 days to respond.

Associated Press

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