- Last Updated: 12:39 AM, May 24, 2012
- Posted: May 24, 2012
When is ethnic diversity not real ethnic diversity? Apparently, when it involves Asian-Americans.
That seems to be the conclusion of a new Community Service Society study, which notes with some concern that the percentage of black and Hispanic enrollment at CUNY’s five senior colleges has declined.
The percentage of Asian students, on the other hand, has skyrocketed.
All this has come since Chancellor Matthew Goldstein dramatically toughened entrance and academic standards while making them race-neutral — with the result that CUNY admission is again prized.
But such logic doesn’t appear to matter to those whose principal interest is ethnic and/or racial bean-counting.
Fact is, the percentage of African-American and Latino transfer students — those who required remedial work at CUNY community colleges before entering senior schools — is up over the past decade.
But one author of the CSS study complains that “saying we’ll let in more black and Hispanic students, but only after they’ve already had a couple of years of success in college, really skews what we mean by opportunity and diversity.”
How so, exactly?
As CUNY notes, what matters is where these students end up — not where they start their academic careers.
Besides, half of CUNY’s transfer graduates started out in the CUNY system. And they’re graduating from colleges that have become markedly better and more prestigious.
Does the CSS want to return to the discredited days of open admissions, when much of CUNY amounted to an array of dysfunctional remedial high schools drawing students from a virtually nonfunctional city public-school system?
(In that respect, it remains troubling that groups like the NAACP, which claim to represent black and Hispanic students, continue to back the teachers unions in their efforts to cripple CUNY’s principal feeder — New York City’s improved, but still struggling, public schools.)
Besides, “diversity” is a much more complex subject than the CSS stats imply.
CUNY students can trace their ancestry to 205 countries and speak more than 100 languages.
The university is certainly an educator of less-privileged students. Its tuition remains one of the nation’s lowest — and 60 percent of students get enough financial aid to make their education essentially free.
Meanwhile, more than 40 percent of CUNY undergrads are foreign-born; a similar percentage are the first in their family to attend college.
CSS President David Jones insists he’s “not condemning CUNY,” but claims the university needs to address “the long-term effects of what’s happening.”
But that’s precisely what CUNY is doing: substantially raising the university system’s academic status (something many once suggested couldn’t be done) so that its graduates are well-educated and fully qualified for a 21st-century workforce.
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