Minority and White EnrollmentUp at University of California
BERKELEY, Calif. — The number of Black and Hispanic students admitted to the University of California (UC) rebounded in the second year without affirmative action, an increase credited to strong recruitment and a more comprehensive application review. Figures released earlier this month show the number of underrepresented minorities — Blacks, Hispanics, and American Indians — admitted to all eight undergraduate campuses this fall is only 27 students short of the number admitted in fall 1997, the last year race could be considered. (See charts)“The gloom and doom that was being preached by the proponents of preferences was grossly premature,” says Ward Connerly, the UC regent who led the fight to stop considering race in admissions. The university hasn’t made a complete recovery. Underrepresented minorities haven’t regained their 1997 class share because the numbers of Whites and Asians also went up, and the flagship Berkeley campus is still well below 1997 underrepresented minority totals. But the overall picture was cheered as a positive step. “We have to focus on progressing from what might be considered a low point in 1998 and moving forward, hopefully going higher and reverting back to what we had in the past,” says Carla Ferri, UC director of admissions. But despite the improvement, affirmative action supporter Dr. Pedro Noguera, an ethnic studies professor at Berkeley, says the figures don’t come close to reflecting California’s racial makeup. Hispanics, for example, comprise 29 percent of the state population but only 12 percent of the university’s fall 1999 admissions. “We have a long way to go,” Noguera says.
MINNEAPOLIS — A key figure in the investigation into alleged academic fraud in the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program has been granted disability leave from his job as the team’s academic counselor. Alonzo Newby’s attorney, Ron Rosenbaum, says Newby is suffering from stress-related problems over allegations that he played a role in helping players cheat on tests, term papers, and other assignments. In a message on his office voice mail, Newby tells callers he will be out of the office for at least two weeks. Rosenbaum says Newby asked for time off “pursuant to a doctor’s recommendation.” He would not say whether Newby had consulted a psychiatrist, psychologist, or medical doctor. “He’s been having a difficult time coping, as you might guess,” Rosenbaum says. “This has probably been the most difficult time in Alonzo’s life.” University spokespeople withheld comment on Newby’s status pending guidance from the institution’s lawyers, who were unavailable. The university has hired outside attorneys to investigate allegations of NCAA rules violations that initially came from Jan Gangelhoff, the former men’s athletic department office manager who has said she did papers and other course work for at least 19 Gopher players over a five-year period. Gangelhoff’s sister, Jeanne Payer, later said Newby delivered $3,000 in cash for Gangelhoff last summer, allegedly as payment for her tutoring. And late last month, graduate student Alexandra Goulding said that on her first day tutoring basketball players in 1995, Newby watched as she wrote a paper for former player Courtney James. (See Black Issues, April 1, and April 15, 1999) Brian Berube, a former academic counselor who once worked with basketball players, has met with investigators and told them about an incident in which men’s basketball coach Clem Haskins and an assistant berated him in a letter after he forwarded suspicions about academic cheating by a basketball player in 1995.
DENVER — Colorado’s colleges and universities have fallen far short in efforts to boost minority enrollment, offering vague affirmative action plans that are “almost insulting,” a state education commissioner says. Most institutional plans lack specific goals and accountability even though 1998 minority graduation rates ranged from 8 percent to 27 percent, according to a Colorado Commission on Higher Education report. “The plans are so unspecific and general it’s almost insulting,” says Commissioner Lawrence Atler. “It makes me want to go back in the closet and pick up the clubs we call financial detriments. I want to see specific accountability and consequences.”The commission previously had set a minority graduation goal of 18.6 percent by 2000 to reflect the high school graduation rate. The only schools that received passing grades in the report were the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Adams State College in Alamosa, Metropolitan State College in downtown Denver, and the CU Health Sciences Center in east Denver. School officials have a July deadline to respond to the criticism. The report was the first released since the commission scrapped state-mandated minority graduation requirements two years ago in favor of a policy requiring schools to set their own goals. The commission also rescinded financial penalties for schools failing to meet annual goals. The report was based on an analysis by commission senior academic researcher Jim Sulton, who concluded that representatives of every school developed a plan, but few got it right. Diversity statistics also showed little improvement. In 1998, minorities represented 19.5 percent of college enrollment, up from 17.2 percent in 1994. Minorities comprised 16.2 percent of those who earned bachelor’s degrees, commission statistics showed. About 21 percent of the 1998 high school graduates were minorities.
OXFORD, Pa. — Some members of a fraternity involved in a hazing incident claim that a top Lincoln University of Pennsylvania administrator was present when pledges were allegedly beaten and verbally abused. The allegations come seven weeks after the hospitalization of a 19-year-old pledge and the suspension of seven Alpha Phi Alpha members. The students says Arnold T. Hence, vice president for enrollment planning and student life, was present during several alleged hazing incidents, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Hence is an Alpha alumnus. “We received some reports from students who are members of the Alpha fraternity that they believe he was participating in hazing rituals,” Lincoln spokeswoman Joan Logue-Kinder says.On March 21 — parents’ day at Lincoln — a group of students distributed photocopied pictures of Hence with fraternity members. Across the bottom of one of the pictures were the words “Can You Say Cover-Up?” Logue-Kinder says the photos were taken from an Alpha videotape and show Hence watching a group of pledges with cloaks over their heads carrying a load of bricks. Another photo shows Hence wearing an Alpha T-shirt and watching seven bald students dressed identically in white, buttoned shirts and pants. The students are lined one in front of the other, tightly locking arms. Hence, who has been at Lincoln since 1996, is in charge of housing, religious activities and all nonacademic student-related activities. The administrator has participated in fraternity functions, but he has told university officials that his participation was intended to deter hazing, which is prohibited by the university, Logue-Kinder says. “These are very fine-line questions,” Logue-Kinder says. “Doctor Hence believes that as director of residence life, it was his job to be present during rituals to make sure that they didn’t get out of hand.” Hence did not return phone calls to his campus home. In February, Eugene Sanders, 21, was severely beaten as part of pledge activities with the fraternity. He suffered serious internal injuries during an alleged incident in a remote field off campus. Hence has excused himself from the investigation into that incident, citing a conflict of interest because he is an Alpha alumnus. On March 8, the university suspended the seven Alpha fraternity members until the spring of 2001 and required that they apologize to Sanders, perform 100 hours of community service, and receive counseling. A five-member committee of faculty and administrators has been set up to investigate the allegations and make recommendations.
WASHINGTON — District of Columbia Mayor Anthony A. Williams has abandoned his plans to sell the University of the District of Columbia’s 25-acre campus in an affluent, White neighborhood of Northwest Washington. But he has not given up the idea of relocating UDC to a high-crime, Black neighborhood east of the Anacostia River.Williams is now considering leasing the current UDC site to private interests, according to The Washington Post.The mayor made the original proposal last month without knowing that the federal government, and not the District, actually owns the land (see Black Issues, April 15, 1999). The city cannot sell the land without being granted ownership by Congress. In 1972, the federal General Services Administration (GSA) granted the city “administrative” control of the UDC site for educational purposes.After discussions on Capitol Hill, Williams decided to follow what he believes is a more attainable strategy — having the city lease the prime Connecticut Avenue real estate. He says that leasing the campus would generate economic development and jobs in the District, while providing money for construction of a university in a low-income area east of the Anacostia River.“I believe there are a number of ways to capture the value of the land, and a lease is one option,” Williams says. “It is something a lot of people find some merit in. Whatever we do, we want to be able to sell it to the UDC community and do it with their support.”But that support won’t come easily. UDC’s president, Dr. Julius F. Nimmons Jr., opposed Williams’ initial plan to sell the site — and he doesn’t like the leasing idea any better. He says the mayor’s proposals have created uncertainty surrounding the struggling university, which has about 8,300 full- and part-time students, and could hurt enrollment. He also said any campus east of the Anacostia should be funded as a satellite to UDC’s existing campus. “I would welcome any abandonment of discussions concerning the sale, lease, or renting of this campus,” Nimmons told The Post. “I would expect that if all of the energies and intelligence were focused on … providing educational opportunities to District residents east of the [Anacostia], that palatable ways by which that can be done would certainly emerge.”The mayor, whose plan also calls for a new technology high school and offices for the city’s Department of Employment Services to be built on the new campus, says he does not yet know whether the GSA would allow the District to lease UDC’s Northwest Washington campus.
LOS ANGELES — Sociologists are revisiting a ground-breaking study on Mexican-Americans that chronicled the social mobility and economic disadvantages of the so-called “invisible minority.” The Mexican American People: the Nation’s Second Largest Minority drew on interviews with 1,550 residents of Los Angeles and San Antonio. Published in 1970 as a book, it’s considered among the first looks at the growing ethnic group. Over the past five years, two UCLA sociology professors and a team of graduate students have been tracking down 750 of the original study’s participants in Los Angeles and 400 in San Antonio to ask them questions about ethnic identity, discrimination, education, work history, political involvement, and other issues. “We think this will address some dated perceptions,” said Vilma Ortiz, one of the UCLA professors leading the study, called the Mexican American Study Project. “In some ways, people continue to see Mexican Americans as an old community, rooted in history. In other ways, people see them as newcomers, as all poor.”So far, the researchers have located 80 percent of their study subjects in Los Angeles and interviewed half of them. The San Antonio portion of the study is not as far along. The original three-year study revealed the economic variety and increasing assimilation of Mexican Americans. At the time, people of Mexican descent made up 90 percent of the Hispanic population in Los Angeles County. The 1970 survey called for increased political representation and grassroots groups to assist Mexican Americans, and challenged the stereotype of them being recent immigrants who never adjusted to American life. The follow-up study has been funded by about $2 million in grants from the National Institute of Child and Human Development, the Ford Foundation, and other sources. Researchers, who plan to complete the project in the next two years, are also taking photos of the participants and getting copies of old pictures in hopes of receiving added funding for a documentary.
WASHINGTON — In a ruling that could affect the sports programs at many institutions of higher learning, a three-judge trademark panel earlier this month ordered the cancellation of seven trademarks owned by the National Football League’s Washington Redskins. The trademarks, including the helmet logo of a American Indian, were considered disparaging to Native Americans by the panel.The Redskins case is the first in a campaign by Native Americans to eliminate Indian-themed sports team names by using legal methods. A challenge to the Atlanta Braves’ trademark is also pending before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeals Board, according to The Washington Post. And in Cleveland, the National Coalition on Racism in Sports plans to file a racial discrimination suit challenging the Cleveland Indians’ name and mascot.More than 600 high school and college teams, including Stanford University and the Dallas public schools, have scrapped Indian-themed names. But, more than 2,500 institutions still use such mascots.The U.S. Justice Department recently investigated whether a North Carolina high school was creating a “racially hostile environment” by using Indian names for its teams. The investigation was closed last month after the Buncombe County school board agreed to stop using the term “squaws” for Erwin High School’s girls teams.
LINCOLN, Neb. — A representative of an American Indian tribe says he wants the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to immediately return Native American bones in its archaeological collection — seven months after UNL Chancellor James Moeser signed an agreement with 16 American Indian nations to return the remains. Ho-Chunk National member Scott Barta from the Winnebago Reservation says the process has taken too long. He says the tribes are willing to take the remains and assume all responsibility. The university has been working to return remains of more than 1,600 individuals to tribal representatives who signed the Sept. 1 agreement, which included the Ho-Chunk. But because of complicated legal requirements involving federal regulations, the repatriation has taken months. UNL Repatriation Committee Chair Priscilla Grew says the university’s policy is to proceed with repatriation in accordance with federal law.
CHICAGO — The fight over affirmative-action programs designed to bring racial diversity to university campuses may be headed to Illinois. A Washington-based group whose research has fueled attacks on affirmative action in California and other states acknowledged earlier this month that it is turning its attention to this state’s four-year institutions. “Illinois is on our list,” says Joseph Beard, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank. Thus far, Illinois has escaped major battles arising from the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1978 Bakke decision, which lets schools count membership in a racial minority as a “plus” in admissions decisions.
Critics say that decision unfairly lowers admissions standards for minorities and thus amounts to reverse discrimination. Sweeping freedom-of-information requests from the center have been presented to the University of Illinois and other four-year schools around the state. Questions touch on race, gender, test scores, graduation rates, and a host of other factors that go into deciding who gets into college. Findings gleaned from similar surveys have been given to leaders of ballot initiative campaigns that successfully ended affirmative action programs at universities in California and Washington state. Such data also have been given to critics who filed lawsuits against affirmative-action plans at the University of Texas and the University of Michigan. Some university officials in Illinois acknowledge they do consider race in making decisions about who gets in. “It is factored into the decision as per Bakke,” says University of Illinois spokeswoman Susan Trebach. “Our intention is to enhance the educational environment for everyone.”
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