The number of underrepresented minorities dropped in this year’s freshman class, according to final enrollment data released yesterday.

Clif Reeder

The class is the first one selected after Proposal 2 banned the use of race in University admissions almost a year ago.

Underrepresented minorities made up about 11 percent of this year’s freshman class, compared with 12 percent last year. The number of black students in this year’s freshman class dropped by 8.8 percent from last year’s class, while Hispanic enrollment dropped by 12.6 percent and Native American enrollment dropped by 13.5 percent.

University spokeswoman Kelly Cunningham said the impact of Proposal 2 isn’t clear yet because the ban didn’t take effect until January, which was halfway through the admissions process. Many applicants were reviewed using affirmative action.

Cunningham said the University is working to improve outreach because it’s likely that minority enrollment will continue to drop based on what happened at other colleges after their states passed similar legislation.

“We remain cautiously optimistic to maintain diversity among our students,” she said. “It’s going to be difficult.”

Sheldon Johnson, speaker of the Black Student Union, said he wasn’t surprised that minority enrollment declined. He said it’s hard to say that Proposal 2 affected it directly, but through outreach work, he said he saw it affect students’ decisions to apply to the University.

Johnson said the Black Student Union will continue to do outreach work, but he said students need to stop using Proposal 2 as a crutch and blaming the enrollment decline on the affirmative action ban.

“Minority enrollment was too low when we had affirmative action,” he said.

LSA senior Ryan Fantuzzi, who headed up the campaign to support Proposal 2 in Washtenaw County, declined to comment.

It was a record year for the University, admissions-wise.

The University now has a record 41,042 students, 1,017 more than last year. On top of that, the University received a record 27,474 applications this year.

About half of students were accepted and 43.3 percent of those students enrolled. The University’s yield – the proportion of accepted students that enroll – has been consistent over the last several years.

The number of students admitted was an increase from 47.5 percent last year but a drop from 57 percent two years ago. This year’s class has 5,992 students, exceeding last year’s enrollment of 5,399 and this year’s goal of 5,600. It drew closer to the freshman classes of the two years before that, when new freshman classes had about 6,000 students.

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