University of North Carolina System Updates Strategy for Diversity
In an effort to make its 16 campuses better represent the state’s population, the University of North Carolina system is developing a new strategy to build ethnic and socio-economic diversity.
The new approach updates a 1981 university policy that emphasizes the integration of White and Black students.
The UNC Board of Governors are expected to approve the policy which outlines general aims for improving diversity. It will be up to each of the campuses to develop specific plans for achieving a “critical mass of minority students.”
The new strategy is designed to account for the state’s growing Hispanic population and other ethnic groups, in addition to rural and low-income students. It will also address concerns about the low numbers of North Carolina residents attending college.
It’s economic diversity, geographic diversity, racial and ethnic diversity, and diversity across age,” says UNC system President Molly Broad. “Our university ought to be a mirror reflection of society in North Carolina.”
Since 1981, the school’s approach to diversity has been driven by a consent decree it signed with the federal government to end what had been termed a “dual system of higher education.” The university pledged then to direct more funding to its historically Black institutions and desegregate all campuses, but is still short of its overall enrollment goals.
White enrollment at the historically Black institutions peaked at 18 percent in 1992 but has since fallen to 14 percent, below the original target of 15 percent. Black enrollment at the historically White universities has climbed slowly to nearly 10.4 percent this year, just short of the 10.6 percent target.
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