Sharp Dropoff in Black First-Year Enrollments at the University of Michigan

Next Tuesday, voters in Michigan will go to the polls to vote on the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative, a referendum that aims to ban race-sensitive admissions at the University of Michigan.

At the moment, the University of Michigan is still able to use race as a positive factor in the admissions process. But black first-year enrollments dropped 25.5 percent this year from the 2005 level. In 2005 there were 443 black freshmen at the University of Michigan. This year there are only 330 black first-year students.

The University of Michigan appears to have one eye on the approaching referendum. Up until this year, the university had always supplied data to JBHE on the number of black students who applied to the university and the number who were accepted. This sensitive data, especially if it were to show a higher acceptance rate for blacks compared to whites, would undoubtedly be used by proponents of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative to appeal to racist sentiments of some white voters in the state.