Black Enrollment Expected to Drop
At University of Florida
Black freshman enrollment at the University of Florida is expected to be down by nearly half this year under Gov. Jeb Bush’s ban on racial preference in public university admissions.
Blacks represented nearly 12 percent of the freshman class last year, but the class starting this month will be only 6 percent to 7 percent Black, said officials at the state’s most elite public university.
“This is disappointing,” says provost David Colburn, the school’s chief academic officer.
“We were a segregated institution for a long time. And for a long time after that we were an almost lily-White institution.”
Colburn says the decline would have been worse if the university hadn’t overhauled its application process and boosted minority recruitment efforts.
Minority enrollments at the state’s other 10 universities appear to be holding steady or rising slightly, school presidents reported to the governor last week.
Bush announced in 1999 his “One Florida” plan to remove affirmative action from state agencies. Critics of the policy have warned it would lead to fewer minorities enrolling.
A Bush spokesman said the governor had no comment.
The percentage of Black freshmen at the university climbed from 8.1 percent in 1997 to 11.7 percent last year under an aggressive recruitment program in the final year that race was a consideration.
Adora Obi Nweze, Florida’s NAACP president, said the drop in minority admissions should concern all Floridians.
“At least before One Florida, there was some kind of remedy available,” she says. “It’s not as if Jeb Bush is going to take any responsibility.”
© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com