Universities across the nation incessantly call for strong cultural and ethnic diversity on campus, yet the universities most committed to Affirmative Action admissions policies have some of the least ethnically diverse student bodies. These colleges have dedicated entire administrative and educational departments to further diverse climates on their campuses. They have even tried to convince the Supreme Court of the United States that racist admission practices are necessary to provide a diverse campus experience. Yet despite their rabid clamoring for diversity, these institutions of higher learning have nowhere near the ethnic diversity of the communities they serve, let alone the racial mix that makes this country so great.
The Supreme Court recently handed down two decisions about using race as a factor in college admissions. While the decisions deal specifically with the admission policies of the University of Michigan, several other universities voiced their support for Affirmative Action. Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Chicago, and Duke University filed an amicus brief supporting “the right of institutions of higher education to consider race as one factor in a careful and individualized admissions system.”
In the brief, these universities pledged their support to the importance of using race as a “plus” in college admissions. You would expect to find these universities to be stunning examples of ethnic diversity. However, every one of them falls short of meeting just the makeup of this nation as a whole.
According to 2001 estimates from the United States Census Bureau, this nation as a whole is a stunning example of diversity. 68.8 percent of the population is described as “White alone,” 13.1 percent is Hispanic, 11.8 percent is “Black alone,” 0.6 percent is Native American and 3.8 percent is Asian. A large number of races and mixed races make up the remaining 1.9 percent.
The advocates of Affirmative Action insist that a college or business should have roughly as many minorities represented in its ranks as the population from which it draws. Private universities, like the outspoken Ivy League supporters of reverse discrimination, draw from every state in this country and other countries, as well. With this in mind, one may expect to find the best diversity among these schools. And one would be sorely disappointed. The Princeton Review collects data from most of the universities across the country regarding a wide variety of topics, including student body diversity. A quick evaluation of the actual numbers for each of these amicus schools shows the Black and Hispanic populations of every one of them fall short of the national statistics.
The Review reports Harvard College’s student body is 42 percent White, 18 percent Asian, 8 percent Black and 8 percent Hispanic. While its Asian population is 15 percent higher than the national average, the Black and Hispanic population is dramatically underrepresented.
Think Yale or Princeton are any better? Think again. Both schools miss the mark on the Black and Hispanic populations each by 5 percent. And once again, both schools are over-represented in Asian students.
Dartmouth also fails to live up to its high rhetoric. Its student body is 7 percent Black, 7 percent Hispanic, 12 percent Asian and 3 percent Native American. Thus, Dartmouth is short a significant number of Black and Hispanic students compared to this country’s population. Should the college send its excess Asian and Native American students home to fix this “problem”?
What about Brown? 48 percent of its students are White, 13 percent are Asian, 6 percent are Black, 6 percent are Hispanic. While Brown (which seems to be ironically named) would have to double its Black and Hispanic student population to match the nation’s diversity, it has underrepresented the white population by 20 percent.
The University of Pennsylvania Law School participated in that amicus brief, too. Unfortunately, the Review does not have a detailed breakdown of the student body of this school, though it does report 28 percent of students are of some ethnic minority. If the pattern holds true, much of this diversity is due to Asian students, with Blacks and Hispanics left out to dry.
Duke University is also part of the brief. With a student body that is 12 percent Asian, 10 percent Black, 6 percent Hispanic, at least Duke comes close to hitting the mark for Black students, but they still need approximately 365 Hispanic students to match the diversity of the United States, their professed goal.
Now take a look at the University of Chicago. Being settled in an area that boasts one of the largest Black communities in the country, 37.2 percent according to 2001 estimates from the census bureau. Chicago also has a large Hispanic population, at 26 percent. One would assume the school would do well in those areas of diversity…but the assumption would be wrong. Only four percent of its student body consists of Black students and seven percent is Hispanic, while15 percent is Asian.
Now, most of these universities admit they have work to do. Swarthmore College’s vice president for College and community relations, Maurice Eldridge, stated in a college bulletin just over a year ago, “Even though our struggles against racism as a college and a nation are far from over, I am proud of what has been accomplished here.”
Just what has been “accomplished”? Since Eldridge’s days as a student 45 years ago, the school has gone from passively accepting minorities who apply to Swarthmore to actively recruiting minority students. Yet Eldridge admits that many of those minority students find the atmosphere inhospitable at Swarthmore. As for the numbers, Swarthmore would need twice as many Black Students, and three percent more Hispanic students to match American diversity.
And what about the University of Michigan itself? While the Supreme Court struck down the undergraduate college’s blatantly manipulative practice of granting a significant number of “points” to minority applicants, the Court upheld the Law School’s practice of using race as a deciding factor in admissions, if all else is equal. Since this lawsuit has driven this entire diversity debate over the last couple of years, one might ask how Michigan and other public universities are doing in the race for diversity.
Public Universities draw most of their students from the community around them, so it should go without saying that their student population should reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. How do Michigan and other outspoken public universities match up against their constituents?
The student body at the University of Michigan’s main campus in Ann Arbor is 8 percent Black. The state of Michigan is nearly 14 percent Black. (Ann Arbor’s population is 20.6 percent Black.) This means that Michigan misses the mark on Black students by 6 percent. In other words, in order to adequately represent the minority population of the area it serves, the U of Michigan would need to recruit approximately 1,500 additional students! (Unfortunately, a breakdown of the Law School itself isn’t available on The Princeton Review’s website. However it does report that 22 percent of that student body consists of minorities.)
Other vocal public universities aren’t any better. In 1970, the University of Wisconsin-Madison adopted a policy to “strive to achieve, in its undergraduate student body, a level of minority group representation that is at least proportional to the population served.” Yet according to The Princeton Review, UW-M’s student body is 2 percent Black, 2 percent Hispanic and 4 percent Asian. In the 33 years since it staked out its racial policy, UW-M has still failed to meet the proportions of the Black population in Wisconsin, which is 5.5 percent, according to the census bureau.
The University of Idaho also has been caught doctoring pictures to appear more diverse. Yet this is the only school surveyed that, with a 2 percent black student population, is over-represented for that minority. (Only 0.4 percent of the population of Idaho is Black.) Hispanics remain underrepresented by 5 percent.
The fabled University of California at Berkeley has a reputation as one of the most diverse campuses anywhere largely owing to their penchant for admitting odd students, yet the numbers belie their claim to ethnic diversity. The Princeton Review reports the University of California-Berkeley’s student population is 30 percent Caucasian, 42 percent Asian, 4 percent African-American, 10 percent Hispanic and 1 percent Native American. Berkeley is a suburb of San Francisco, and San Francisco’s population is 50.8 percent white, 4.5 percent Black, 24.3 percent Asian, and 17.3 percent Hispanic. The Hispanic population is underrepresented by more than 7 percent when compared to the city, and 23 percent compared to the state, which has a Hispanic population of 33.7 percent. However, the school has already slashed its white student body to 20 percentage points below the area’s actual white population. Perhaps they should send 1,740 Asian students away to reduce that category’s disproportionate numbers on campus?
What about all-female universities, usually hotbeds of political correctness? How do they measure up against the diversity standards they try to adhere to? How diverse can a school be if they don’t even promote diversity in gender? Smith College is an elite private female college. According to the university’s Office of Institutional Diversity, part of the school’s philosophy states, “At Smith, we place a high priority on achieving diversity among our students, faculty, and staff in the areas of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability and age.” But with 1,750 students, they would need an additional 222 Black women and an additional 101 Hispanic women to meet national statistics.
All of these universities utilize policies of Affirmative Action, yet it’s clear most of them fail to come anywhere near the goal of real diversity. In every single institution mentioned here, the Asian population was over-represented by at least 9 percent, while Black, Hispanic and White students are underrepresented across the board. Does this mean that universities should cut back on the number of Asian students they admit in favor of Black or Hispanic students? Or is it okay to have a disproportionate number of Asian, Black and Hispanic students, as long as overall the campus doesn’t appear to be lily white?
Across the board these schools go out of their way – sometimes several states out of the way – to recruit minority students. These schools can only thrive as a diverse environment only when all students admitted can reasonably be expected to complete the work they will be assigned. That means race-based recruitment policies, like those of the U of Michigan’s Law School, not only don’t work but actually further deteriorate race relations by perpetuating the stereotypes that minority students can’t make it without a little boost from Affirmative Action.
There is no question that exposure to different cultures is important to the growth and development of society as a whole. But universities should provide education to all children in this country who have the drive and ability to meet their standards. The education of every child, regardless of ethnicity, is vital to the development and strength of this nation, and the prosperity of its people. These schools should stop spending so much time trying to meet the impossible goal of perfect diversity and spend more time trying to meet the realistic goal of educating qualified applicants who come their way, regardless of the color of their skin.
Chart: Leftist Universities' Lack of Diversity
*University Statistics are based on reports from the Princeton Review.
**Community statistics are based on estimated 2001 population information from the United States Census Bureau.