Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Black Student Population Surges 0.7% Under Holistic Admissions

(Warning: Snarky and sarcastic post alert.)

So holistic admissions is back in the news. This time the hubbub is being driven by the formation of a special committee by GOP state legislators "to explore ways to prohibit racial preferences in state contracting and university admissions in Wisconsin."

The committee is going to trundle out Ward Connerly of the American Civil Rights Institute to talk about how we need to strive for a color-blind society, and a key place to start on that is evidently university admissions.

Connerly brings with him a resume that boasts awards from a host of right-wing organizations including the Freedom Alliance, the Conservative Political Action Conference, the California Republican Party, and the Bradley Foundation.

I'm sure the special committee is also going to give time to a scholar like Cornel West, who penned a seminal book on black studies titled Race Matters. After all, a special legislative committee is about gathering as much reliable information and as many respected points of view as possible on an issue of state importance, not merely staging media events to push a partisan agenda, right? (Side-Note: Wrong.)

But clearly there's a need to stop holisitic admissions from running rampant on the racial make-up of our UW campuses. Just look at what holistic admissions has done to African American enrollment at UW-Madison over the past 15 years.

In 1989-1990, just prior to the start of holistic admissions at UW-Madison, the black student population was at 1.8 percent. By 1994-1995, a few years into holistic admissions, it had jumped up to 1.9 percent of the total student headcount. Hold onto your hats, though, because by 2000-2001 it was already up to a full 2 percent. And this past year, 2005-2006, the black student population at UW-Madison reached an all-time high of 2.5 percent.

Cause for alarm and accusations of racial preferences, indeed. I mean, the black population in the state of Wisconsin is only 5.9 percent. Our flagship UW campus is now beyond the halfway point of actually resembling the racial make-up of the state as a whole.

And the only possible explanation for that jump must be holistic admissions. How else could the percentage of black students at UW-Madison increase by 0.7 percent over the past 15 years?

It couldn't be that holistic admissions aims to diversify the overall type of student who's admitted, as opposed to focusing solely or even primarily on the demographic features of applicants; which, in turn, actually maintains much of the look on campus, and really only affects the feel.

It just couldn't be.


Blogger proletariat said...

I think what often gets missed in the grades vs holistic dichotomy is that its either or. One very major reason for a more holistic score is grade alone will not do it anymore.

In a scenario of 300 applicants with ony 50 slots with camparable GPA's how do you decide?

I believe that the UW admissions should be close to the 5%, but not from out of staters. You talked about the slight increases but I am curious where that increase came from. If that is from WI residents, good.

But, clearly this is much to do about nothing. It is certainly plausible a larger increase would occur with a no policy. Me thinks programs like in Madison where the UW more or less adopt minority youth is far more successful in the end.

December 20, 2006  

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