Original URL: http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/opinion/9383.php

Educating minorities
Arizona Daily Star
Section: Opinion

The University of Michigan lost more than a court case when the Supreme Court struck down its undergraduate admissions policies. This week it became clear that the school is losing the minority students it fought so hard to keep.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the school's admissions system that awarded extra points to some applicants. However, the court ruled that race can be a factor in admitting students.
Since then, the number of minority applicants has dropped by 23 percent. Worse, the numbers of minorities admitted has slipped by 30 percent. In the meantime, the number of applicants to the school has dropped by only 1 percent.
A story in the Detroit Free Press said that at Ohio State University, overall numbers of applications have dropped by 8.5 percent. However, the numbers of applications from blacks have dropped by 18.6 percent.
Michigan admissions officials say the significant drops are the "chilling effect" from the Supreme Court ruling.
What may be worse than the dismantling of Michigan's touted commitment to diversity is that the figure may represent a nationwide drop in the number of minority applicants.
If so, the lawsuits and subsequent Supreme Court ruling have had the effect of marginalizing already underrepresented groups of people in higher education.
The University of Michigan, before and after the ruling, had a firm commitment to the education of minorities. That commitment was visible even on a short walk on campus.
But now, potential students are interpreting the Supreme Court ruling as unfavorable. That is not an unreasonable analysis. "There is a feeling that even if they have a chance, they don't want to put up with the hassle. We may need more time to work with the schools to explain the process," said Ted Spencer, UM's director of admissions.
The tragedy in all this is that at a time when universities are trying to get minorities into schools, those minorities are staying away. The message, they fear, is that they are not welcome.
What's more, excluding minorities from higher education does not bode well for the future of the country.
One of the reasons that universities are making a push to educate minorities is the growing presence of minorities in the American population.
It makes no sense to deny education to minorities, who traditionally have been underrepresented on America's college campuses. Just as America is undergoing growing income gaps, the lack of educational opportunities for minorities threaten to create a growing racial divide as well.

Home Page     Events and Information   Awards&Scholarships   AABE NEWS 2004      News( 2003)       News(2002)       Publications      Board_Information     Board Contact     Goals      Feedback     Research Links     Links