Wisconsin Regents Want More Minority Recruitment After Photo Embarrassment
Two University of Wisconsin System regents say the Madison campus needs to step up minority recruitment after an embarrassing photo gaffe drew unwanted national attention.
University officials admitted they digitally altered the cover photograph of an admissions booklet to include the face of a Black student among White fans at a Badgers football game. The school says it could not find a photo that reflected diversity on campus (see Black Issues, Oct. 12).
The Capital Times of Madison reported recently that Regent vice president Gerard Randall and student regent Joe Alexander say in an Oct. 12 letter to UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward that little had been done to correct the problem since the doctoring was exposed in September. “The larger problem is not the now infamous photo incident, but rather the seeming inability of the Madison campus to recruit students, faculty and staff of color, particularly African Americans,” the regents’ letter says.
The percentage of Black students at UW-Madison has hovered around 2 percent since 1980.
The UW system had 10,375 minority students accounting for 7.7 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment in 1999.
Some areas of minority enrollment are declining, the regents say.
“Efforts to reverse this decrease will not be easy given the Madison campus’ credibility loss among the targeted population as a result of this judgment lapse,” Randall and Alexander say.
The Capital Times reported that in a Nov. 8 reply, Ward notes the law school enrolled 30 percent more minority students last year and says the school was committed to enacting its long-term campus diversity plan.
“Lapses of judgment notwithstanding, the university’s commitment to diversity is unwavering,” Ward’s letter says. “. . .We are highly motivated to push forward with the many innovative steps outlined in our Plan 2008.”
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