Despite Outreach Efforts, UC Schools See Low Minority Enrollment
LOS ANGELES — Black and Hispanic enrollment at the Universities of California has not increased significantly despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the outreach programs that replaced affirmative action.
Over the past five years, the percentage of Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians who enrolled at UC schools dropped from 22 percent to 16 percent, even though high-school graduation rates for those groups increased slightly.
Those results, delivered to UC regents at their regular meeting last month, drew some questions.
“Are we right now getting our full money’s worth? I’d say no,” says Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who is also a regent. “We need to do a lot more to ensure we’re doing a better job than we’re doing, that we present initiatives to the state and we make sure that we are clearly trying to do outreach for every kid.”
UC officials note that the numbers are on the upswing after hitting a low point in 1998. They also say their programs, which include recruitment, college prep courses, mentoring and partnerships with public schools that serve disadvantaged students, are long-term efforts.
The program began in 1997 and isn’t expected to start showing quantifiable results until 2003.
“We want it to be a long-term process because that way we can be sure that the results are going to be long-lasting,” says UC spokesman Terry Lightfoot.
This year, UC officials are spending $180 million on outreach. The proposed figure for next year is $300 million, though that has yet to be approved by the Legislature. The increased amount includes $130 million to train public school teachers.
Affirmative action, by contrast, required little additional outlay of university funds. But Regent Ward Connerly, who wrote the system’s new admissions policies and went on to lead a national fight against affirmative action, says race-based policies carry a hidden price.
“Preferences cost a lot. And the costs are social, they’re political, they’re cultural, they’re financial — you just never see them. But apart from the cost, long-term it’s better that we do everything we can to prepare all of our children,” he says.
Regents voted in 1995 to stop considering race and gender in admissions, a policy that took effect for undergraduates in 1998. Under-represented minority admissions for that year fell sharply, particularly at the premier campuses of Berkeley and UCLA. Since then, the numbers have improved. (See Black Issues, April 27.)
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Dr. Gloria Dean Randle Scott has announced her intention to retire at the end of the 2000-2001 academic year as the president of Bennett College.
“I have requested that the board begin to identify the leadership needed and to develop a process for searching to secure the president of Bennett College for Women, which intimately involve faculty, staff, students and appropriate constituents in the initial development of the description of what that leader will need to move the college deeply into this new millennium,” Scott said in a statement posted on the college’s Web site. (For the full
text of her statement, see http://www.bennett.edu/about/bio.htm).
Scott, who has held the position since 1987, is the 12th president of Bennett College and the second female chief administrator of the cCollege. Born in Houston, Texas, Scott received her bachelor’s and master’s in zoology and her doctorate in higher education from Indiana University.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Legislature voted last month to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol dome and move it to a monument to Confederate dead on statehouse grounds.
The deal struck by lawmakers says the flag at the monument would be a square version of the rectangular banner, flown on a 30-foot flagpole. If Gov. Bill Hodges approves the plan, as he is expected to, the flag would move July 1.
But the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the agreement is not acceptable because the flag will still be displayed too prominently. Organization president Kweisi Mfume has announced the group will expand its boycott of the state if the current plan is implemented.
“Where you once had to strain to see a flag 300 feet in the air, it would now be 30 feet in the air, larger, with lights, and a fence,” Mfume says. The NAACP will ask the entertainment industry to stop making movies and conducting other activities in South Carolina if the flag is not moved elsewhere, he says.
It also will ask the National Collegiate Athletic Association to reconsider plans for athletic events in the state, including the first and second rounds of the 2002 NCAA men’s basketball tournament games in Greenville, Mfume says. The NCAA’s executive committee voted last month to cancel those and similar events in the state unless the flag is removed from the dome by Aug. 11.
Meanwhile, in Honolulu, a number of community leaders are angered by remarks from University of Hawaii basketball coach Riley Wallace, who opposed the boycott.
A press release from the African-American Association of Hawaii says the university and Board of Regents need to “repudiate Coach Wallace’s position” that the flag matter is one for the people of South Carolina to work out for themselves.
They want the university to replace Wallace as soon as possible.
Wallace hasn’t commented on the call for his removal.
The group is upset over comments Wallace made in April when reporters approached him about the flag issue.
“I don’t think the NCAA should be involved in the politics of that,” he said at a conference last month. “You can look on the negative side or the positive side of it. I don’t say take it down or leave it. But I don’t think the NCAA should try to force the hand of the people who live there.”
The group says Wallace is way off base in his attitude about the flag.
“His failure to recognize this flag as a symbol of slavery, segregation and hatred of African Americans is comparable to accepting the Nazi swastika symbolizing Jewish persecution as a matter for the Germans to work out,” the group says.
Ohio State Protest Spurred by Diversity Issues
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A group of Ohio State University students say they blocked traffic on campus to bring attention to the failure of the school to deal with racial problems.
About 75 protesters walked in a continuous box, blocking an intersection on campus for more than 15 minutes during last month’s protest. Officers arrested Andre Banks, 21, a senior majoring in political science, charging him with disorderly conduct.
R.J. Maccani, Banks’ roommate, says Banks was arrested because he is Black. Maccani says he and four other White protesters were beside Banks. “It seemed like racial profiling,” Maccani says.
Not so, says OSU Officer John Petry.
“He was told to stay on the curb,” Petry says. “He was arrested for failure to comply with an officer’s order.”
About 50 students waited outside the Franklin County jail downtown until Banks was released on his own recognizance.
The point of the campus civil disobedience was to bring attention to diversity-related issues, says Ricardo Wilkins, a member of the Afrikan Student Union. The group staged an eight-day sit-in at OSU in May 1998 to protest the restructuring of the Office of Minority Affairs.
Ethnic Stoles Steal Spotlight Before Kansas Graduation
WICHITA, Kan. — A Wichita State University professor raised objections to a group of seniors who plan to wear graduation stoles based on their ethnic backgrounds during commencement.
Professor Dwight Murphey planned on skipping commencement and urged other faculty to boycott the event if the students wore the different colored stoles. He says the students are promoting racial separatism.
“It’s more of a protest about the use of racial symbols,” says Murphey, a professor of business law in the finance department. “I just want to show my feelings about it and not compromise my integrity.”
His objection follows the Students of Color Graduation Recognition and Award Ceremony held May 5. About 30 of the more than 150 students listed in the event’s program received one of four different-colored stoles, based on their ethnic heritage. Students were asked to wear the stoles at graduation.
Kevin Harvey, coordinator of programs for multicultural affairs, says students of color are often stereotyped as underachievers in education. He says it’s important to recognize graduates as role models.
“Anyone who infers that it’s anything other than a way for us to recognize their accomplishments and achievements has misunderstood the intent of the program and the significance of the program,” says Harvey, who helped organize the ceremony.
Murphey, who has taught at the university for 33 years, says people would certainly take offense if the situation were reversed and White students decided to wear something indicating their “Whiteness.”
A.J. Mandt, president of the Faculty Senate, is among those who disagree with Murphey’s assessment.
Mandt says he didn’t see any difference between the ceremony for the students of color and ceremonies for other groups on campus. For example, fraternities and sororities have ceremonies for their graduates, as do various academic programs on campus, he says.
Murphey says the stoles may be a way to celebrate the accomplishments of people of color, but they are also a way for students to “divide themselves off.” He says his intent was not to offend the students who choose to wear the stoles.
“But I do think they’re doing something that’s damaging,” he says. “And that’s not justifiable in principle.”
Bush Urges Top 20 Percent of Senior Classes to Apply at Fla. Colleges
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — State universities still decide who gets in, but Gov. Jeb Bush and top education officials are encouraging all the state’s high school seniors in the top 20 percent of their class this year to apply.
So far, out of 21,000 “Talented 20” students statewide, more than 14,000 have applied to at least one of the 10 state universities, Bush says.
“We’re now concentrating on those 7,000 who have not applied,” Bush says.
Bush hopes that by making it easier for the top one-fifth of each class to get into a state college, minorities and women will be more interested in applying than they otherwise would have been.
The Talented 20 is part of his One Florida plan, which bans consideration of race and gender in university admissions and contracting decisions.
To get into a state university, students must have 19 academic credits, including two years of a foreign language.
While figures are available about the number of applicants, it’s unclear how many minorities have actually been admitted. Each school has its own admissions deadlines, and officials say that at the earliest, numbers won’t be available until later this month.
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