The University administration claims to promote a diverse student body, tailoring its policies to further that goal. But recent charges by the Coalition for Action Against Racism and Discrimination weave a much different scenario. In a claim recently brought before the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the coalition’s members levied complaints of discrimination and suggested that the University recruits black students merely to boost minority enrollment. If further investigation confirms these allegations, the University must take immediate action against any member of the faculty or administration inhibiting – whether overtly or unintentionally – the academic success of minority students.
The coalition’s concerns focus primarily on the College of Engineering, and several members of the coalition have come forward with experiences describing discrimination within the school. After the University was unable to fully resolve these students’ allegations, they filed a complaint with OCR. Any discrimination is absolutely unacceptable, and it is in the interest of both students and the administration for the University to take these allegations seriously.
Beyond specific instances, the students’ complaints speak to a broader campus issue of the University’s attitude toward diversity. Some students feel the University is more concerned with how many underrepresented minority students it enrolls than the education they receive. There must be a dedicated effort to provide the necessary services and financial support to ensure that students excel and continue through to graduation.
Promoting diversity does not end with the admissions process, and racial equality cannot be attained through half-hearted efforts. It will take time to investigate the details of the coalition’s allegations, but regardless of the eventual outcome, the University must constantly assess and improve how its academic and financial policies meet the needs of all its students.