Race Relations at Trinity College Get Slammed by The New York Times

Recently The New York Times published a major story on the racial climate at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The article focused on the fact that white students at the college held a “ghetto fabulous” party at which several students were dressed in blackface. Photographs from the party were posted on a Web site and students added racist comments online about the photographs. Earlier in the semester, a black student found a racial slur written on the message board on her dormitory room door.

We at JBHE are amazed that The New York Times singled out Trinity for this negative story. Yes, there is plenty of racism at Trinity College but this type of behavior is rampant on colleges and universities across the nation. In fact, JBHE research shows that many hundreds of such incidents occur on college campuses nationwide each year.

The Times article singled out Trinity for reprimand despite the fact that over the past decade, black first-year enrollments at Trinity are up nearly 46 percent. About 80 percent of the black students who enroll at Trinity go on to graduate, a level just below the rate for white students. This is a most unusual achievement because, nationwide, the black student college graduation rate is 20 percentage points below the rate for white students.

JBHE is not condoning the racist behavior at Trinity College. But it is wrong to publicly denigrate one college when many others are guilty of the same offenses.