Thursday, April 03, 2003

Failing to make the diversity case 

John Fund writes in today's OpinionJournal on the Michigan case about the work done by Stanley Rothman, Neil Nevitte and Seymour Martin Lipset. They filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in the case. They also have an article in the latest issue of The Public Interest. The results are fascinating: While the results give support for continuing to discuss diversity issues on campuses, only 1/6 of over 4000 respondents to their survey thought diversity courses should be required (as they are at SCSU; read our general education requirements and proceed to Roman numeral III.) A clear majority (that's more than 50%, MM) disagreed with the statement "More minority-group undergraduates should be admitted here even if it means relaxing standards," inlcuding three-fourths of students. Remarkably, when given the statement, "No one should be given special preference in jobs or college admissions on the basis of their gender or race," a clear majority of students disagreed, but only about a fourth of faculty and administrators disagreed.

The remarkable part comes from the effects. If the goal of diversity in admissions is for students, it's not helping.

As the proportion of black students rose, student satisfaction with their university experience dropped, as did their assessments of the quality of their education and the work ethic of their peers. In addition, the higher the enrollment diversity, the more likely students were to say that they personally experienced discrimination.
The parallels between these statements and the findings in the Rankin Report for our campus couldn't be more striking.

Perhaps as the diversity conference at SCSU opens tomorrow, this article will be discussed.