Jan 262003
Authors: Willow Welter

Administration will reevaluate a five-year diversity plan this spring designed to increase minority enrollment.

In 1998, the Provost’s Office worked with the Faculty Council, the Office of Equal Opportunity and other organizations to devise methods to enlist underrepresented individuals to CSU’s student body.

The planners will evaluate the success of the diversity plan within the next few months.

Minority students compose 11.3 percent of CSU’s undergraduates as of fall 2002, according to the Office of Budgets and Institutional Analysis.

The number of undergraduate minority students enrolling at CSU has continued to rise since 1998, perhaps an effect of a five-year diversity plan implemented in 1998.

Despite a one-tenth drop in fall 2001, students who identify themselves as African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American or Native American continue to enroll at higher rates each year.

A summary published by OBIA states that 1,383 Hispanic students were enrolled last semester, creating 49.4 percent of the minority student body and surpassing the number of other minority students.

The next most populous ethnic minority group, according to the same study, was Asian-American students, who composed 23.9 percent of minority students enrolled in fall 2002. Black students make up 23.9 percent, and Native Americans are the least populous at CSU, composing 10.5 percent of enrolled minorities.

While the number of all ethnic minority students has risen from 9.2 percent of the student body in 1998 to the current 11.8 percent, white students still compose 88.2 percent of undergraduates.

The five-year diversity plan intended to increase these numbers includes five main goals, according to the Office of the President and the University Planning and Vision committee. Each goal contains a slew of specific initiatives and instruction on how to carry out these goals.

The goals stated in the Diversity Plan include:

* Goal 1: Increase enrollment and graduation of racially and ethnically underrepresented students at Colorado State to a level that reflects a composite of factors

* Goal 2: Increase the number of underrepresented individuals (Asian/Pacific Americans, Black/African-Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Native Americans; White non-Hispanic women; and persons with disabilities) in faculty, administrative professional and state classified positions to be consistent with their availability

* Goal 3: Foster a total campus environment that respects and welcomes diversity

* Goal 4: Build and strengthen alliances with diverse communities, and civic, business, community and ethnic organizations to support multiculturalism in the university and external communities

* Goal 5: Identify strategies to ensure the continued evaluation of university diversity efforts, including opportunities for feedback and ongoing communication

Since many factors other than this plan could have contributed to this growth trend, it is hard to determine whether the plan has worked.

“There could be a number of things that could have contributed to our (minority) growth,” said Dana Hiatt, the director at the Office of Equal Opportunity. “I think our growth would have been less without the plan, but I can’t say there would have been none.”

The plan creators cannot say for sure how or even if the plan worked until the official evaluation this spring. Hiatt said a specific process for how the results will be evaluated has not yet been determined.

Another factor that could have contributed to the growth in minority students at CSU includes the overall increase in Colorado’s minority rate.

The percentage of minorities at CSU is less than the state percentage. Around 24.2 percent of Coloradoans identify themselves as African-American, Asian/Pacific, Hispanic or Native American, according to data collected by the Colorado Economic and Demographic Information System.

Last Tuesday, several media nationwide reported that U.S. Census data revealed the Hispanic population in the United States had surpassed the African-American population, making Hispanics the largest minority group in America.

While a U.S. Census Bureau analyst told the Denver Post these figures are not yet confirmed, the data also shows Hispanics contributed to almost 50 percent of population growth between April 2000 and July 2001.

While undergraduate minority rates continue to grow, the number of African-American or Asian-American graduate students has plummeted, according to the OBIA’s fall 2002 study.

The evaluation of the Diversity Plan evaluation will be released upon completion.

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