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March 23, 2005 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-03-23

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 23, 2005


Continued from page 1
Patricia Pacania, director of the Office
of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs, said she
thinks the University still does not have a
large enough population of minority stu-
dents to achieve a critical mass. Pacania
said this creates a need for minority stu-
dents to self-segregate in residence halls
and said she thinks the University should
allow this clustering to happen. "To just
sprinkle students in dorms, knowing that
we have not achieved that critical mass ...
I don't think that that's effective," she said.
But University President Mary Sue
Coleman said that while she understands
the desire of minority students to live
together, she believes a more diverse living
experience is desirable.
"I would think that one of the huge val-
ues of being in a University setting is being
able to get acquainted with people from a
different background or different race, and
I encourage students to really pursue that.
I think it's important. It's one of the great
things we offer at the University of Michi-
gan," she said. "I would hope that we can
continue to find ways to get to people to
mix themselves up."
Pacania said she worries that spread-
ing minority students throughout all the
dorms, rather than allowing them to form
communities, would "add another set of
stress upon students of color."
"I think to primarily look to students
of color to say 'educate me' is an unfair
burden, and I don't think that's something

we as a University should ask of students,"
she said. "And students of color also need
opportunities to have a living space where
they don't feel like they always have to edu-
cate other people or don't have to always
justify themselves or explain themselves."
Housing spokesman Alan Levy said the
process of housing application and assign-
ment is done without racial information,
meaning the uneven distribution of minor-
ities in the dorms is not a product of the
housing assignment process. He suggested
that certain residence halls, especially
those on North Campus, have a high sat-
isfaction rate and a high rate of return. He
said black students are very likely to return
to North Campus housing because "it's a
positive, welcoming environment." He
added that parental influence to return to
residence halls might play a part as well.
University spokeswoman Julie Peter-
son said the lack of black fraternities who
have houses also cuts down on off-campus
housing choices for black students.
Many black students living on North
Campus say they intentionally moved or
requested housing there because of North
Campus's reputation for being a good
place for black students.
Engineering freshman Kyra Watts said
she felt good about living on North Cam-
pus because of the large black population.
"When I first got here, people said, 'Don't
worry, you'll be fine - all the black people
live on North Campus."'
Other students say they appreciate the
close community but worry about the neg-
ative effects of self-isolation. LSA sopho-

more Ashley Stokes, who is black, said she
wanted to live in Baits because of the suite-
style room layout, but also because of the
large black community. "It's positive in the
social aspect, but as far as diversity goes,
the negative comes in because (black stu-
dents) are used to being around our own."
Administrators who work with the
minority community say they worry about
the geographic isolation of black students
on North Campus. Pacania said she has
heard from students living on North Cam-
pus that they feel isolated from activities
and resources on Central Campus. "Some-
times you have students ... who seek out
those opportunities," she said. "(But) I
think it's harder for the students who don't
have that opportunity, or maybe their style
isn't as outgoing, so it's harder for them to
know the resources on campus, especially
Central Campus."
Another factor that plays into the uneven
distribution among dorms involves the nine
residential Michigan Learning Communi-
ties, which house members together in
certain residence halls. Some MLCs make
diversity a key goal in recruiting - for
instance, the Lloyd Hall Scholars Program
and the Health Science Scholars Program,
both housed in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall,
use face as a factor in reviewing applica-
tions to the programs. Despite Alice Lloyd
Hall's reputation for housing mostly white
students from the East Coast, the dorm is
actually home to one of the most concen-
trated minority populations on campus.
Both LHSP and HSSP house a dispropor-
tionately high number of minority students,

Underrepresented Minorities in Learning Communities



South Quad
|(no honors)


East Quad
(no RC)


(no MLC)

4 ....................4.....


475 390


38 188

__R___5.9%I- 14.3%________13.9% ____13.3%______18.1%_______________18.6__ °_______

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contributing to Alice Lloyd's overall high
concentration of minority students.
The Honors Program, which has
received criticism in the past for its low
enrollment of underrepresented minority
students, stands out as having the opposite
effect on minority representation. Honors
houses 405 students, only 23 of whom are
underrepresented minorities. This means
roughly 5 percent of Honors housing is

underrepresented minorities, whereas 14
percent of non-Honors students in South
Quad are minority students. Honors is the
only learning community which invites
students into the program rather than
requiring an essay or application.
Members of the Michigan Student
Assembly say they are also concerned
about the large black community on
North Campus and worry that it rep-

It will feel less constricting at agra b.
At Ernst & Young, the opportunity for growth is enormous. We offer over
7,000 professional development programs - some of the best formal
learning programs in the country - because our philosophy is People First.
We recognize that our employees are essential to the firm's growth and
success. And in order to attract the best talent, we've built an environment
that Inrt. mn* madovinP hac rnncictpntki rnrndn i7A d aCnne of the "1 f00 Rest

resents a "de facto segregation." RC junior
Ryan Bates, co-chair of the Peace and Jus-
tice Commission, said he is working with
Melton Lee of the Minority Affairs Com-
mission to track trends in minority housing
through the past two decades. He said they
have not been able to get University statis-
tics for more than the past two years, but
that "anecdotally, having talked to minor-
ity peer advisors and other people involved
in those sorts of communities, there has
historically been segregation on campus."
Bates said he is not sure which policies
create the racial divisions, or if the Univer-
sity even consciously perpetuates them.
"It looks like there are definite disparities
in University policies which conflict with
their stated commitment to diversity,"Bates
said. "I'm not ready to say whether this is
intentional, or just a structural thing."
He added that MSA will be calling on
administrators to change any relevant
policies to diminish the disparities once
they have finished looking into the situ-
ation. "If it's presented to the University
by the students ... the University must
act," he said. "If those demands are not
met, the University is guilty of a much
greater sin of perpetuating structural
- Aymar Jean contributed to this report
Continued from page 1
students questioning the racial makeup of
on-campus housing - it's the geographic
distribution of underrepresented minority
students that has led some students and
administrators to question whether cam-
pus housing is increasingly isolating cer-
tain minority groups.
For example, 17.4 percent of students
living in North Campus dorms are under-
represented minorities, compared with
13.3 percent on Central Campus and 13
percent on the Hill.
University Housing spokesman Alan
Levy said the current housing assign-
ment process does not use race as a factor
in room assignments. Housing assign-
ments for freshmen are made through
a lottery in mid to late April. Levy said
applications sent in after the lottery
are assigned based on room availabil-
ity, because some freshmen who have
already requested rooms later decide to
attend other schools, allowing previously
assigned rooms to become available.
Levy added that incoming students
are assigned rooms based on their prefer-
ences and room availability. Students can
express preferences for substance-free
housing, room type (such as double or tri-
ple) and campus neighborhood - North
Campus, Central Campus or the Hill.
Levy said more first-year students are
assigned to North Campus or single-sex
residence halls than list these choices
among their preferences. He said that if
students make a request to live with a
specific individual, they are more likely
to be assigned a room on North Campus
due to a shortage of available doubles on
Central Campus.
Yet even without specifically using
race as a factor in the housing process,
racial distribution throughout the halls is
uneven. For instance, Mary Markley Res-
idence Hall, which has the highest propor-
tion of first-year students (More than 93
percent of the dorm is freshman.) is only
6.7 percent underrepresented minorities.
Black students make up only 3 percent of
Markley, whereas 5.7 percent of the gen-
eral freshman class this year was black.
Levy called this distribution "something
that would require more examination"
and said he did not have specifics to
explain this occurrence. Markley also has
smaller-than-average populations of Asian
and Latino students, making it the whitest
dorm on campus. On admissions applica-
tions and housing surveys, about 74 per-
cent of Markley's residents indicated they

are white, compared with 58 percent of
the entire residence hall population.
In past years, the Baits Residence
Halls on North Campus have housed a
very large population of black students,
who make up close to 30 percent of the
Baits population. This year, 18 percent of
the freshmen entering Baits were under-
represented minorities, far above the 11-



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