‘U’ clarifies admissions policy

To the Daily:

We appreciate your editorial (Dwindling diversity?,
6/7/04) that counseled concern, not panic, over the University’s
preliminary admissions data that was released recently. This was a
transitional year for our office, and I can assure you that we are
critically analyzing every aspect of our admissions process, and we
will remain vigilant as we move forward. However, one very
important aspect of our process is ensuring that everyone has
accurate information, so we must correct several errors in your
editorial.

Our 2004 application was not 26 pages. The actual student
application was six pages compared to three pages in 2003. One
whole page presented options to students for the short-answer
questions and for the essay. The entire 2004 application packet,
including all instructions, counselor and teacher recommendations
and supplemental material for international and music students was
20 pages compared to 16 in 2003.

We required three essays, not four. Actually, we required
students to answer two short-answer questions in 250 words each and
submit an essay of 500 words. In the past, we required one 500-word
essay. We did provide students, this year, with an opportunity to
complete a fourth, optional, essay.

We have worked extremely hard this year to ensure that students,
parents and counselors understand our application and admissions
process. We will continue our work to educate and coach a diverse
group of prospective students through the admissions process.

Chris Lucier

Associate Director, Undergraduate Admissions

 

‘U’ should not be absolved of blame

To the Daily:

The falling application rates recently released by the
University indicate a disturbing trend that must be recognized and
acted upon now to ensure that a diverse campus community remains
intact.

The 25 percent drop in African American, 22 percent drop in
Asian Pacific American, 13 percent drop in Latino and 8 percent
drop in Native American applications are not simply an indication
that these students have less interest or are less committed to
attending the University. Nor does it indicate that these students
come from poor families who cannot afford to pay tuition. The
Daily’s assertion (Dwindling Diversity, 6/7/04) that
economics is the main reason students of color are choosing not to
attend the University makes a gross generalization by assuming that
all people of color “are more likely to come from
socio-economically disadvantaged families” who cannot afford
a “University education.” It is also detrimental to
stereotype minorities by saying that they would sacrifice a more
comprehensive education by attending a community college in order
to save money. Not only is the implication that the majority of
students of color are poor and thus choosing not to attend the
University offensive in itself, it also removes blame from the
school.

Further, it is harmful, while supposedly talking about diversity
and minorities on campus, to exclude the Asian Pacific American
population from the discussion. The most problematic part of the
editorial was that, nowhere in the text, was the University itself
held accountable for the drop in minority applications. The
University administration, press and national community use a
number of factors to rationalize the drop in student of color
admittance but leave out other crucial ones. The burden of such a
drop does not rest on the shoulders of minority high school
students, as the University has tried to portray. Looking beyond
such rationalizations, one can see that more pressing systematic
issues are at hand.

What is really at the heart of the problem is a serious lack of
high school outreach and an unsupportive campus climate. The
University is not doing enough to attract minority students. The
Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, one of the few specialized
resources available to students of color, consistently lacks the
funding necessary to maintain a full staff and comprehensive
programming. The Trotter House multicultural center is rapidly
deteriorating and has been consistently neglected.  The
gravity of hate crimes and incidents has been historically ignored
and inadequately addressed. Further, the University continues to
deny its involvement with the racist secret society Michigamua and
refuses to remove it as an “honor” society from
transcripts.

The University showcases its diverse student body, yet fails to
provide adequate support for it. The abovementioned problems are
linked to the drop in student of color applications, which directly
relates to the drops in admissions. These problems create a campus
climate which is not safe, supportive or welcoming for potential
applicants and students.  Assuring racial diversity at the
University is pertinent. Minority students are part of our diverse
democracy and the services developed for and discussion on
inclusion that address the needs of these students should never
take a back seat to administration misadventures in the name of
color blindness. What happens at the University is a microcosm of
how much better the global picture may function if we plan for the
future. The causes of the “dwindling diversity” in
applications are not just because people of color are too poor to
pay tuition or too confused about the recent court ruling
— it is a direct result of the University’s
inaction on major issues that are key to attracting all
students.

Stephanie Chang

Andy Cadotte

Harlyn Pacheco

LSA seniors

Lisa Bakale-Wise

Matt Stehney

Rocio Valerio

LSA juniors

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