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October 05, 2003 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-05

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 5, 2003 - 7

'U' seeks to increase diversity in honors program

ting bec
Continued from Page 1 admitte
Statistics and records on the pro- someho'
gram's racial composition are not avail- think th
able to the public. But the visible lack of quality o
minority students, who are statistically Other
less likely to obtain such scores, indi- lamente
cates that the standards were more rigid- honors
ly enforced. The program's director, stark dif
Stephen Darwall, confirmed that stu- in Califc
dents were once admitted "by and large lack min
based on test scores and grades." Soph
Administrators, teachers and students port exp
agree that since minority students are to U of]
less likely to achieve such scores, they kinds of
have a difficult time getting into the pro- diversity
gram. And applicants who can meet the exp
these standards are often offered admis- less sati
sion into more selective private institu- port said
tions or Ivy League schools. The Sever
University's high out-of-state tuition rate gram fel
acts as a financial deterent to enroll- sity in
ment. constric
"Folks from minority groups who do
have very strong academic credentials, "iff(r
Sincluding grades and test scores, are
very hotly recruited by the most selec- belie
tive schools. These schools admit stu-
dents on a need-blind basis, and they prg
often provide full financial aid," Darwell
said. If you're an African-American stu-
dent of lesser means, then you can be
expected to be accepted and offered a
financial-aid package sufficient to
enable you to go. It's a very hard market.
Recruiting highly-talented minority stu- mention
dents is hotly competitive, because there being th
are a lot institutions vying for them." nantly w
Both Darwall and Wessel Walker noted "On
that the program simply does not have because
the funds to compete with such institu- resentati
tions. in the re
Meanwhile, opinions of minorities in student
the program ranged from dissatisfied to added t
indignant. "I thought it would be differ- class are
ent. In the flyers they sent me, the pic- "I do
tures were more diverse. When I got but I fe
here, I was a little shocked. It's a bit dis- possibly
heartening, especially when I know ing the
there are so many intelligent minorities honors
on campus," said freshman honors stu- black.
dentYulanda Curtis, who is black. Many
But junior honors student Madison program
Moore took a harsher tone. "When you general,
look at the numbers, what does that say state, or
to you? I don't think it has anything to directors
do with black potential or innate intelli- from prt
gence. We constitute about 4 percent of making
the population at some of the best uni- environr
versities. So when there's only 10 out of The lI
500, what does that say to you?" said becomes
which e
Continued from Page 1 es and
played the "ugly" sides of drinking. dents on
Kolasky referenced a photo of a young "In th
woman posing over a toilet in a glittery you wa
tube dress and heels, saying, "The counter
woman appeared to be posing for sages p
Maxim." she sai
"(Throwing up) is not that pretty!" on MTV
she added. idea tha
But Patrice Flax, coordinator of the will he]
University's Alcohol and Other Drugs heard th
Prevention Program, insisted that the The
placards were not intended to offend vention
women. In her two years working as planned
the program's coordinator, Flax has students
worked to develop "a comprehensive straints,
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who is black. "I think its upset-
ause while minorities are being
d to the University, they are
w being sifted out of honors. I
at might say something about he
f education,' Moore added.
students in the program also
d the lack of diversity. Freshman
student Grace Luo recognized a
ference from her diverse home
ornia and noticed that her classes
omore honors student Jay Rapa-
ressed disappointment. "I came
M to meet people of all different
f backgrounds, and that kind of
yis noticeably lacking. It makes
erience of the Honors Program
sfying than it could be," Rapa-
al minority students in the pro-
t uneasy about the lack of diver-
their classes, saying that it
ts academic enrichment. They

recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions
that upheld affirmative action on the
principle of diversity. In the affirmative
action cases, the University argued that a
diverse student body enhances a school's
educational environment.
"That was the University's entire
argument, that racial diversity is benefi-
cial to the academic experience. If that's
what the University believes and it's not
extended to all its programs, then the
University's failing itself. If the belief is
that true diversity is diversity of ideas,
then it's not," said Ruben Duran, LSA
senior and editor in chief of the Michi-
gan Review.
But few students - of any race -
fault the program or the University for
the low numbers of minorities. Most
denied any hypocrisy in the administra-
tion, believing that the problem is more
a product of society that than the Uni-
versity's admissions policy.
"I don't see any other way to bring

acial diversity is) what the University
ves and it's not extended to all its
,rams, then the University is failing itself'
- Ruben Duran
LSA senior and editor in chief of The Michigan Review

problem would be difficult and
expressed trepidation about lowering
standards to provide greater access.
"You also don't want to bring people
in great books who are going to be frus-
trated and are not up to the task, who are
not comfortable at the level. It's just
unkind," said Prof. H. Don Cameron,
who teaches Great Books 191, the class
most honors freshman take. Cameron
also said that, of those minorities he has
worked with, almost all of those admit-
ted do well.
Students like Duran echoed this, say-
ing that lowering standards would sim-
ply defeat the purpose of the Honors
Program, which is inherently selective
and has high standards.
While students offered alternative
solutions such as providing the program
with more funds for scholarships or
improving its prestige by marketing it
better, honors administrators are chang-
ing the admissions process.
In the past, administrators relied on an
appellate process. Students who were
not accepted into the program were
allowed to contact the University ask for
additional review. But many students are
not aware of this option, since it is only
located in the program's flyer to school
counselors and on its website. Informa-
tion is often obtained by other means,
like word of mouth.
"I heard through other people that
they send you a letter. But I didn't get
one. So I called them, and they reviewed
my file," said Nicole Ward, a black
freshman honors student.
Administrators hope the new under-
graduate application, adopted as a result
of this summer's court decision, will
afford the program more versatility in
admissions. Using a more "holistic"
attempt will allow the program to con-
sider race as one of an applicant's
strengths. This, administrators say, will
increase the number of minorities in the
"What we're doing is using the new
admission materials that the new appli-
cation has, which includes a couple of
essay questions, to give us a better gauge
of which students are 'ready, willing and
able,' who are really eager for the kind
of intellectual challenge and exchange
that the Honors Program creates, said
Darwall, the program's director. "We
want to identify not just students who
have done well on tests and gotten good
grades but also want to part of a vigor-
ous intellectual community."

ed a number of problems, like
he only minority in a predomi-
vhite class.
one hand, it does constrict a bit
the classes you take are not rep-
ve of what you're going to see
al world," said freshman honors
Teresa Lo, who is Hispanic. Lo
hat the viewpoints expressed in
often not well rounded.
r't personally feel singled out,
el that the environment could
be better. It's like I'm represent-
whole race," said sophomore
student James Carson, who is
minorities accepted into the
, as with most of the students in
tend either to be wealthy, in-
on scholarship, confirmed both
s. A number of them also come
edominantly white high schools,
it easier for them to adapt to this
ack of diversity in the classroom
s more poignant considering the

students into the honors program other
than picking the top 10 percent of enter-
ing freshmen. It's a blind, objective
standard; the University can't be held
accountable for who meets that standard
and who doesn't," Rapaport said.
"I think, on the whole, the reason why
it has happened, is because there are so
few minorities branching out into (high-
er education). I know many minorities
that allow themselves just to be what
their mother, and mother's mother was,"
said Lo. "I think, for the most part, it's
so difficult for many minorities to
branch out of that mindset and believe
that 'you can do everything and be any-
Administrators and students rejected
any theory claiming that there is an
innate problem of intelligence within the
minority community. Instead, the pro-
gram's directory cited the work of Psy-
chology Prof. Claude Steele, a former
University faculty member who has
studied discrimination in testing.
Many recognized that solving the

.:.:..:.... .:..M A.. ' r+.

Continued from Page 1
But for students like recent LSA
graduate Rich Gilbertson, the job
market cannot open up fast enough.
Although he graduated this spring,
Gilbertson returned to the fair
because he has yet to find an open-
ing in the business sector. "It's very
tough right now. The economy is not
in the upturn yet," he said.
Gilbertson said few companies at the
other job fairs he has attended are hiring
at the moment. Yet he said he remains
optimistic that recent signs of an eco-
nomic recovery will lead to job growth.
"The stock market is going up,
(companies) have more discretionary
income to spend" on hiring new
employees, he said.
Other students have placed their
faith in the economy by deciding to
put off graduate degrees to look for
jobs this year. LSA senior Rita
Minka said she eventually plans to
attend law school, but recently
decided she was not ready yet and
would rather work first for a few
"I'm looking at anything" she said. "I
don't even know what's out there."
Minka said she has heard mixed
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opinions about current job prospects.
"Some people are like 'It's no
problem, the job market is looking
up,' " she said. But other friends who
have not yet received offers have
told her that she needs to start look-
ing right away to have any chance
of finding a job, Minka said.
She added that a lot of students
are looking for jobs in the sales sec-
tor of the business industry, but she
said that even sales firms are seek-
ing students who can point to addi-
tional qualifications besides a
college degree.
"A lot of them want sales experi-
ence too, but if you're coming right
out of college it's kind of hard" to
have acquired experience, she said.
Sebille-White said comparing the
current economic struggles to the situ-
ation a few years ago is like compar-
ing apples to oranges because before
2001 the economy was experiencing
unprecedented growth.
"Given that things are tougher
now ... there aren't quite that many
opportunities," she said.
Some of the recruiters included
Liberty Mutual, Comerica Bank,
Deloitte Consulting, SBC Communi-
cations, Proctor and Gamble and the
Central Intelligence Agency.
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nd alcohol prevention plan,"
ncompasses various approach-
methods of reaching all stu-
Le field of health and wellness,
nt to put out messages that
act the prevailing negative mes-
ut out by the alcohol industry,"
d. "(Students) are bombarded
V and sports programs with the
t alcohol will make you sexy, it
[p you meet people. They've
is since they were 10."
Alcohol and Other Drugs Pre-
Program has another series
for next year targeted at male
. Due to time and funding con-
both campaigns could not be

launched simultaneously, Flax said.
Flax developed the idea for the plac-
ards through focus groups with female
students. The groups felt that to be
effective, the placards needed to tell
the truth in a gritty way, Flax said.
Of significant concern for Flax
was that, according to the last stu-
dent life survey, there was an 8 per-
cent increase in heavy alcohol use
among younger female students. This
group, she said, though not a majori-
ty, is most at risk right now, and this
portion of the campaign tried to
reach that audience.
LSA freshman Brian Budzyn did
not perceive the placards to be out of
line. "I think the reason they targeted

women was because they are the ones
that are taken advantage of when
drunk," he said. "I think they had a
good looking girl on it because a lot of
girls, including many who drink, look
up to those 'good-looking' girls."
Russiello said, that jn her own ran-
dom survey of male residence hall
members, most said the placards were
"pretty funny," and should not be taken
so seriously.
But, LSA freshman Jason Puckett
disagreed, saying the cards did
unfairly target females.
"I think guys, in a general sense,
get more drunk than girls," he
added. "They often feel pressured
into drinking, too."


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