University of Washington Struggling With Racial Diversity Under the Constraints of Initiative 200

In 1998 voters in Washington State passed Initiative 200, which banned the use of race in college admissions decisions. The next year black freshman enrollments at the University of Washington, the flagship campus in Seattle, dropped by 40 percent. Slowly black freshman enrollments began to rebound and increased each fall until this year. In the fall of 2005 the number of black freshmen dropped to 118, the lowest level since 1999.

Blacks make up 2.8 percent of the student body at the University of Washington. This is only slightly below the percentage of blacks in the state’s population, which stands at 3.2 percent. But blacks are 8.4 percent of the population of the city of Seattle and make up 22 percent of all students in the city’s public school system.

Blacks make up 1.7 percent of the tenure-track faculty at the University of Washington.


Copyright © 2006. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. All rights reserved.