Colleges without affirmative action struggle with lack of diversity

by Maria Pansulla
Colleges strive to create a diverse campus population by sorting through applications and considering potential students’ race and ethnicity. However, the racial issue for universities extends beyond the application process into the quads and cafeterias of the campus.
The number of non-white citizens is increasing across the entire nation but is dwindling on college campuses. With this decreased enrollment of minorities, there is a gross imbalance of minority representation at certain universities, a situation that can propagate racism and instill feelings of isolation in minority students.

The University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Michigan in particular are suffering from decreased minority enrollment since voters in their respective states banned affirmative action policies, creating separation and racial tensions between minorities and the rest of the campus.
According to The Wall Street Journal, University of California officials say they still struggle to meet diversity goals for their campus 18 years after the end of affirmative action.
There are two states in America where the population of African Americans and Latinos exceeds that of whites; California is one of them. So why do these state universities have a limited, even decreasing minority population?
Poverty correlates with race. National poverty statistics reveal an inverse connection between diversity on college campuses and the population of minorities living in poverty.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for African Americans is still more than double that of whites, despite a steady decline since the initiation of the War on Poverty in the 1960s.
With the removal of race-based affirmative action at state universities like UCLA, the student population becomes an inaccurate reflection of the state’s population, but more important, a hostile environment for the minorities that are on campus.
Twelve black students at UCLA made a YouTube video called “The Black Bruins [The Spoken Word]” that highlights the issue of increasing and maintaining diversity for universities that have removed affirmative action from admissions.
Obviously, something more needs to be done to help both the universities that struggle to meet their diversity goals and the minority students who bear the burden of racism and isolation on those campuses.
A system of affirmative action that identifies students living in poverty would be race-blind on paper but would serve automatically to help the minority population in the admissions process.
Those of us who enroll in a college or university next fall will be surrounded by other students who come from different backgrounds. Hopefully, this change in enviornment will be accompanied by an increase in the population of minorites that will be on campus too.