Indiana University Admissions Plan Will Hurt Minorities, Says Professor
A civil rights attorney and visiting Indiana University professor says a proposal to raise admission standards would prevent poor and minority students from enrolling.
Alvin Chambliss, who fought for 25 years to desegregate Mississippi colleges and universities in the Ayers vs. Fordice case, says IU’s proposal to prefer SAT scores of more than 1,012 — the state average — for Indiana high school students far exceeds the 856 SAT average he calculated for the state’s Black students.
The SAT goal works against efforts to diversify the campus, he concludes.
“Raising the admission standards first before the quality assurances are put in place is not sound education policy. You need to reconsider and make sure that you look not just at student quality, you look at faculty quality, you look at funding quality, look at the other conditions,” he says.
Bloomington faculty voted last month to increase the admissions standards. The university’s trustees have not yet voted on the plan.
The Bloomington policy, to take effect in 2011, would also require applicants to complete Indiana’s Core 40 college-prep curriculum plus more math and world-language credits.
IU is the least selective school in the Big Ten Conference in terms of undergraduate admissions, according to a 2005 Carnegie Foundation report. SAT scores among Bloomington freshmen last year were the lowest among conference schools that use the test.
If trustees approve the plan, it would be the first time since 1987 that IU has beefed up its admission guidelines.
The proposed admission standards aren’t the only factor drawing criticism on grounds of diversity at IU.
Leaders of the IU Black Student Union have expressed concerns about the prospects of minorities in positions of authority following the announced departures of IU President Adam Herbert and men’s basketball head coach Mike Davis.
“Quite literally, we don’t want our first African-American president and coach to be our last,” says Courtney Williams, a junior from Gary and the president of the group.
— By staff and newswire reports
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