The student body at the University reflects a national trend of increased minority populations on campuses nation-wide. But the increase contrasts an overall decline in the number of students currently enrolled in the freshman class.
While the number of both Native American and Hispanic freshmen increased this year, the number of black and Asian students decreased. Native Americans grew from 50 students in 2001 to 53 this year and the Hispanic population rose from 263 to 305 students. The number of black freshmen fell from 499 to 443 while the Asian population dropped from 692 to 588.
Some students, including Engineering sophomore and Hispanic student Pedro Perez-Cabezas, expressed dissatisfaction with the data, despite the rise in Hispanic student enrollment this year.
“It’s OK but (the increase) could be greater, I feel,” he said. Perez-Cabezas said his ideal situation would be to have 25 percent of the student population consist of minority students. A greater minority presence at the University will enhance every student’s education, he added.
Others also feel minority representation is essential to make every student’s education more complete.
“There should be more minorities here for the overall experience of diversity but I don’t know if that will happen,” said an LSA sophomore who wished to remain anonymous, adding that it is unlikely the small jump in enrollment will be felt on such a big campus.
“It doesn’t sound like that much of a difference. I don’t see it as being a big decrease,” she said.
Unfortunately, the presence of minority groups often get lost on such a large campus, she said, adding she did not know how the University could further appeal to under-represented groups.
These internal fluctuations are not yet a cause for concern, LSA senior Helen Doh said. Doh, a student of Korean descent, said she doubts the declining Asian population will become a serious problem.
“I think we already have a lot of Asian students here,” Doh said, adding their presence can be felt through the numerous Asian groups.
The real problem, Doh said, lies in the actual separation within minority groups.
“I don’t know if any Asian group leader would agree with me, but I also see a division between minority groups. I see Asians already divided among themselves,” she said.
This internal division is hindering overall minority cooperation and success on campus, Doh added. “Asians and Hispanics don’t join together.”
According to the data, the number of white students in the freshman class dropped from 3,410 to 3,208 this year. White students still represent more than 60 percent of the freshman class.