Increase in the Number of Black Students Admitted to the University of California, But the Flagship Berkeley Campus Is a Poor Performer

This spring 2,305 African Americans were admitted to the nine undergraduate campuses of the University of California. This is an increase of 11.3 percent from a year ago. Blacks make up 3.8 percent of all students admitted to the University of California system. Blacks are about 7 percent of the college-age population in the state.

However, at the flagship campus at Berkeley, the number of blacks accepted for admission dropped slightly from 298 in 2007 to 294 this year. Blacks are currently 3.4 percent of all admitted students at Berkeley. In 1997, before the ban on race-sensitive admissions at Berkeley, 525 black students were admitted.

In 2006, 210 black students were admitted to UCLA and only 100 enrolled. That year, blacks made up only 2 percent of the entering class. In 2007 a new holistic admissions formula resulted in a major increase in admitted black students and a doubling of black first-year enrollments. This year, the number of black students accepted at UCLA is up again, although by a much smaller 5.3 percent. In 1997, before the ban on race-sensitive admissions at UCLA, 485 black students were admitted.

Therefore, at the two most prestigious campuses of the University of California, black opportunities for admission remain far below the level that existed when race-sensitive admissions prevailed.

At the San Diego campus, the number of black students accepted for admission dropped from 350 in 2007 to 307 this year, a decrease of more than 12 percent. Blacks make up only 1.8 percent of all students admitted to the San Diego campus.



Rating Colleges and Universities on the Racial Climate on Campus

When students choose a college or university they often consult a wide variety of ratings to see where a particular school ranks academically, in athletic competition, or even as a party school. Now The Tolerance Foundation of New York is developing a rating system to help students assess the climate for race relations on campus.

The foundation recently released a pilot study which attempts to rate three campuses — Michigan State University, Columbia College, and the University of California at Berkeley — on racial diversity issues. More than 1,000 students were surveyed for the study. At Michigan State University, nearly two thirds of all students said they personally witnessed some type of bias or harassment on campus. At Berkeley, almost half the students had witnessed bias incidents, as did 43 percent of the students at Columbia.

At Michigan State, 43 percent of the students said that racial bias is routinely expressed “behind closed doors.” A third of the students at Berkeley and a quarter of the students at Columbia agreed. At Michigan State and Berkeley, more than half the students surveyed said that students tended to self-segregate by race. At Columbia 46 percent said there was a high degree of self-segregation by race.

The Tolerance Foundation hopes to compile similar ratings for a large number of colleges and universities in the future in order to give students an idea of the racial climate on campus.

The report, If I’d Only Known, can be downloaded by clicking here.


Hampton University’s Horses Wander Onto Interstate Highway Causing Massive Traffic Jam

Rush-hour traffic on Interstate 64 near the campus of Hampton University came to a standstill recently when all eight horses from the university’s equestrian program escaped from their stable and wandered off campus. Three of the horses made it onto the highway. A five-mile backup occurred while state police caught the horses and escorted them back to campus.

Officials at Hampton believe that someone deliberately let the horses out. Additional security measures have been implemented to restrict access to the stable.


The GOP Congressman Who Has Sent Thousands of Black Kids to College

In 1999 Virginia congressman Tom Davis was chair of the House committee overseeing the District of Columbia. Davis cosponsored legislation and engineered its passage through the GOP-controlled Congress. The D.C. Tuition Assistance Grant Program allows high school graduates in the District of Columbia to enroll at any state-operated university in the United States and pay the in-state tuition costs afforded to residents of that particular state. Graduates of the predominantly black District of Columbia school system can also receive $2,500 to enroll at any private historically black college or university in the nation.

The program has been a major success. Since the tuition grant initiative was enacted in the year 2000, first-time enrollments in college among high school graduates in the District have doubled. Nearly 5,000 students each year receive tuition aid under the program.

Davis, who enrolled at Amherst College in Massachusetts on a need-based scholarship, was honored recently for his role in passing this legislation at a ceremony on Capitol Hill.


State of Pennsylvania Takes Control of Cheyney University’s Finances

James Dillon, the vice chancellor of the state system of higher education, was placed in charge of all financial operations of Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the historically black educational institution west of Philadelphia. The action came after the controller of the university was fired and the finance director took time off following the death of his wife. The university had a $2.1 million operating deficit in 2007.

Dillon immediately prohibited the use of all university-owned credit and debit cards and required all purchase orders for goods and services to be funneled through his office. Dillon calls the problems serious but not catastrophic.


Oberlin College Boosts Financial Aid for Low-Income Students

Oberlin College is eliminating all loans in financial aid packages for incoming and returning students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants. These students will now receive outright scholarship grants. About 50 students in each entering class at Oberlin are Pell Grant recipients. The new program, called the Oberlin Access Initiative, was made possible by a gift from trustee Clyde McGregor. Oberlin College will spend $41.3 million on financial aid in the coming year. This is an increase of 280 percent over the past 14 years.

Oberlin was one of the first predominantly white colleges to admit black students. The college was also very active in the abolitionist movement. Today, blacks are 5 percent of the student body at Oberlin.




James S. Guseh, a professor of public administration at North Carolina Central University in Durham, was appointed as legal consultant to the United Nations for mining in West Africa.

Professor Guseh holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Oregon, a law degree and a master’s in public administration from Syracuse University, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.

James L. Moore III was appointed director of the Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African-American Male at Ohio State University. Moore is an associate professor of physical activity and educational services in Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology.

• Gina Athena Ulysse, an associate professor of anthropology and African-American studies at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, was awarded tenure. A native of Haiti, Professor Ulysse holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

• Ashley Till was named coordinator of the historical collection and archivist at the Miller F. Whittaker Library at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.

Till is a graduate of Emory University and holds a master’s degree in anthropology from Colorado State University and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of South Carolina.



• Clark Atlanta University, the historically black educational institution in Atlanta, Georgia, received a $50,000 grant from the UPS Foundation. The grant will be used to fund the UPS Community Service Scholarship program at the university which gives $5,000 scholarships to 10 students who perform at least 300 hours of community service work during the year.

Family Wealth Plays a Role in the Racial Gap in Test Scores of School Students

It is well known to JBHE readers that there is a direct correlation between family income and success on college entrance examinations such as the SAT and the ACT. Now a new study by researchers at New York University has found an expected correlation between family wealth and standardized test scores of students in K-12 education. Census data shows that white families on average have 10 times the wealth of black families.

The study, published in the March/April edition of the journal Child Development, finds that family wealth had a greater impact on the racial gap in test scores for school-age children than is the case for preschoolers. This leads to the conclusion that families who are able to use their wealth to provide their children with access to cultural activities, travel, tutoring, and other learning experiences are able to increase their advantage over students who do not have such opportunities generated by family wealth.

In sum, wealth enables families to improve their children’s test scores relative to students who do not have the same level of family assets.


“I still believe in affirmative action as a means of overcoming both historic and potentially current discrimination, but I think that it can’t be a quota system and it can’t be something that is simply applied without looking at the whole person, whether that person is black or white or Hispanic, male or female.”

Barack Obama, at the Democratic presidential candidates debate in Philadelphia, April 16, 2008


Five African Americans Named Truman Scholars

This year the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation awarded 65 scholarships worth $30,000 to students who plan to pursue graduate study in law, public administration, education, environmental studies, international relations, or public health. Five of this year’s winners are African Americans:

• Danielle Maria Allen is a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is majoring in public policy and economics with a concentration in urban studies. She plans to go to law school and to focus on education law. Allen, from Monroe, North Carolina, has worked as a volunteer for a U.S. Department of Commerce research study on the effects of racial discrimination on economic relations.

Jennifer Collette Bailey is a native of Illinois. She is a political science major at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. At Tufts, she is the president of the local chapter of Emerging Black Leaders and codirector of the Tufts Social Justice Arts Initiative. After graduation, Bailey wants to pursue master’s degrees in both public policy and divinity.

Aysha Reniece Gregory was born and raised in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is currently a student at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Gregory is pursuing a double major in political science and Africana studies. She has served as an intern for Congresswoman Donna M. Christensen. Gregory plans to obtain a master’s degree in public policy and then go on to law school.

Jarvis Conell McInnis is a native of Gulfport, Mississippi. He is currently an English major at Tougaloo College, a historically black educational institution in Mississippi. He was honored as National Youth of the Year by the Boys and Girls Clubs of America for his effort in raising $25,000 to rebuild clubs devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

McInnis plans to seek a master’s degree in African-American studies and a Ph.D. in English literature.

Thomas Hayling Price, from New Rochelle, New York, is a student at the University of Pennsylvania. He is pursuing a double major in urban studies and Africana studies. He spent a summer abroad in Ghana researching economic development. He plans to go to law school and to concentrate on public interest law.


University of Massachusetts to Spruce Up the Site of W.E.B. Du Bois’ Boyhood Home

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst owns a five-acre plot of land in Great Barrington that was the boyhood home of W.E.B. Du Bois. The farm, which was owned by the family of Du Bois’ mother, was immortalized in his 1928 essay, “The House of the Black Burghardts.”

The parcel of land was sold by Du Bois in 1954. Today there is only a foundation of what was the farmhouse that served as Du Bois’ boyhood home. The lot is overgrown with grass and weeds.

Now there are plans to restore the site. A trail will be created along with an information kiosk and commemorative markers. The university has allocated $50,000 to the restoration.

Rachel Fletcher, trustee of the Great Barrington Land Conservancy, told the Berkshire Eagle, “It’s considered by many to be a sacred place.”


Fairfield University Offers Free Tuition to Low-Income Graduates of Predominantly Minority Bridgeport High Schools

Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut, announced a new scholarship plan for low-income students from inner-city high schools in the nearby city of Bridgeport. Any student from a family with an income below $50,000 who graduates from one of the city’s seven high schools and is admitted to the university will receive a full-tuition scholarship. Blacks and Hispanics make up a large percentage of the student body at the public high schools in the city of Bridgeport.

At the present time, blacks make up only 2 percent of the 4,000 undergraduate students at the Jesuit university.


The Prohibition of Affirmative Action in Medical School Admissions Is Causing a Shortage of Black Physicians in California

Since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996, state-operated medical schools in California have been prohibited by state law from considering race in admission decisions.

A new report, prepared by the Center for California Healthcare Workforce Studies at the University of California at San Francisco, shows that this law may be having an adverse impact on public health. The report identified 2,034 black physicians in the state. Blacks, who are 7 percent of the state’s population, are only 3 percent of all medical doctors in California.

The report also showed that black physicians are more likely than whites to work in primary care and are more apt to practice in underserved minority communities.


93.5%  Black percentage of all public school students in New Orleans.

90.5%  Black percentage of all public school students in Detroit.

88.8%  Black percentage of all public school students in Baltimore.

source: U.S. Department of Education


New Journal on Racial Issues to be Published Online by Widener Law School

The Widener University Law School is launching a publication that will deal with issues concerning economics and race. The Widener Journal of Law, Economics and Race will be published online only. Students from both campuses of the law school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, will be involved in the project.

The journal was founded by three students, all of whom will be earning their law degrees next month. To access the journal, click here.


The Never-Ending Legal Battle Over the Fisk University Art Collection

Fisk University announced that it will appeal the decision of the Tennessee chancellery judge which not only prohibited the university from selling any piece from its Georgia O’Keeffe collection but also ordered the university to put the works on display. The artwork was placed in storage in 2005 because the exhibition gallery where it was displayed had fallen into disrepair.

Fisk says that if it is obligated to display the collection the paintings may be put at risk due to unsafe conditions in its exhibit space.

For several years Fisk has been trying to sell one or two of the paintings in order to raise operating funds. But the terms of the original donation to the university stipulated that the 101-piece collection remain intact.


In Memoriam

Daniel Thomas Skinner (1916-2008)

Daniel Thomas Skinner, a professor of foreign languages at Morgan State University in Baltimore for more than three decades, died of respiratory failure at a retirement community in Northwest Baltimore. He was 91 years old.

A native of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Professor Skinner graduated from Boston English High School and went on to Harvard College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Romance languages in 1938 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He held a master’s degree from Boston College and a Ph.D. in Romance languages from Harvard University.  Dr. Skinner was fluent in French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish and proficient in Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, and Portuguese.

His first teaching position was at Virginia State College near Petersburg. He also taught at Dillard University in New Orleans. In 1946 he joined the faculty at Morgan State University and remained there until his retirement in 1981.



• Dorothy Cowser Yancy, president of Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, was inducted into the Women’s History Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is administered by the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs and the Levine Museum of the New South.

• Henry Lewis III, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, received the 2008 Onyx Award for Health Initiatives given by Onyx Magazine. The award is given to individuals who have made an effort to assist minority and low-income communities.

• H. Todd Bullard, partner at the law firm Harris Beach in Rochester, New York, received the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award from the organization Students of Color at the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

• Beverly Moran, professor of sociology at Vanderbilt University and professor at the Vanderbilt Law School, was named a 2008 Top Lady of Distinction by Top Ladies of Distinction, a national organization promoting opportunities for youth, improving the status of women, and assisting senior citizens.


Copyright © 2008. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.