After months of hard work by the University to recruit underrepresented minorities and maintain diversity, the final admissions numbers are in – and the results aren’t looking good. In a year that total admissions increased dramatically, minority admissions were the exception to the rule. It’s time to face the harsh reality many have dreaded – the University can’t promote diversity on its own. Proposal 2 needs to go.
While the percentage of admitted applicants increased by 15 percent this year, minority applicants did not see a boost; the number of underrepresented applicants admitted to the University dropped by 7.4 percent. Additionally, the acceptance gap for minorities compared to non-minorities closed from 12 percent to about one percent.
Some may point to these statistics as a sign of Proposal 2’s success, with the rate of acceptance turning out to be roughly equal for each group. After all, that would seem like just the statistic that all sides of the affirmative-action debate can agree on.
But numbers can be deceiving. Inevitably, there’s only one bottom line: admissions of minorities are down. When 175 more minorities apply than in the previous year and 111 fewer are admitted in the next, it’s a discouraging prospect for the future of diversity at the University.
Affirmative action addresses very real inequalities correlated with race. Minorities do not receive the same resources and opportunities as those in the majority, and that creates setbacks embedded in academic track records. Simply looking at admissions numbers and saying that these groups are equal is an oversimplification because, for the privileged, it’s far simpler to prove qualification on paper.
After generations of inequality that never seems to go away, change will require action rather than wishful thinking. To the University’s credit, the increase in minority applications speaks to its impressive recruitment efforts and proves that ours is an institution more than fit for the task.
But with Proposal 2 still in place, the University’s hands are tied. Recruitment efforts can only go so far to promote diversity; the University needs freedom in other parts of the admissions process to act effectively.
The University has largely done its part. Now there’s another responsibility for us all to face: the overturning of a law that stands in the way.