|IN OUR OPINION: Don't let diversity fade to white
University of Kentucky Student Newspaper
Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2005
A recent survey by a law professor at the University of
Dayton rated UK's law school one of the nation's "ten
whitest." This label hits UK at a time when the university's
black freshman enrollment dropped from 256 students last
fall to 151 this semester.
In the study, conducted by Professor Vernellia Randall, the
10 schools listed all had white populations of more than 90
percent. Some of the schools were in states with a low
minority population, such as the University of Montana and
the University of Maine, the first- and second-ranked
schools on the list. But Southern schools in states with a
much larger minority population made the list as well.
Samford University in Alabama, the University of South
Carolina and the University of Richmond in Virginia were
listed. UK was No. 8.
Randall argues that admission shouldn't be so heavily
weighted toward entrance exams. She said considering an
applicant's entire profile would allow more opportunities
for minorities to get into law school.
Allan Vestal, dean of the college of law, said UK uses a
"full-file review" when weighing new applicants. He said
Randall's study is inaccurate because it does not take into
account law-school programs nor strides he said the
university has made compared to its benchmarks.
Whatever Randall's controls and variables, and no matter the
methods of the law school's admissions process, enrollment
numbers are hard to argue with.
Though the law school is only one of dozens in UK's charge,
a study like this leaves nothing less than additional bad
press about levels of minority enrollment at a university,
no matter the process used to accept new students.
While minority enrollment overall is steady this year
compared to last, black enrollment for whatever reason has
dropped. On top of the law-school revelations, this only
adds to the problem of attracting black students to UK.
Bad publicity is sometimes more memorable and more
influential than good publicity. UK needs to avoid this type
of labeling by reviewing how it both attracts and accepts
Simply maintaining a steady level of minority enrollment
shouldn't be the goal for UK; obviously, a drop in black
enrollment shouldn't be either.
For the better of university diversity - and more
importantly, for the better of giving minority students a
better chance to attend college - UK needs to show that its
admissions process is more open than one professor's study
Otherwise, it's one's word versus another's - initiative
versus study - and the numbers aren't rising.