American Renaissance

The Stigma of Inclusion: Racial Paternalism and Separatism In Higher Education

Ramin Afshar-Mohajer and Evelyn Sung, Texas Education Review, Winter 2003-04

Ramin Afshar-Mohajer is a second-year undergraduate at Harvard University. Evelyn Sung is a Harvard University alumnus and currently a student at New York University School of Law. They prepared this study as interns of the New York Civil Rights Coalition.

METHODOLOGY

The methodology of this study was to take a sampling of the bulletins, course catalogs, publications and official websites of various public and private colleges and universities to ascertain the ways they view and treat minority students and how they describe their programs and services for students of color . The project was supervised, and this report was co-written, by Michael Meyers, Executive Director of the New York Civil Rights Coalition.

Profiled Colleges Include: Amherst College Boston College Boston University Brown University Buffalo State College Columbia University Cornell University CUNY Brooklyn College CUNY Queens College Emory College George Washington University Georgetown University Haverford College Massachusetts Institute of Technology New York University Northwestern University Oberlin College Pennsylvania State University Princeton University Smith College Stanford University SUNY Cortland Swarthmore College University of California at Berkeley University of Pennsylvania University of Massachusetts at Amherst University of Wisconsin-Madison Vanderbilt University Vassar College Wesleyan University Williams College Yale University

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Amidst all the hue and cry over affirmative action programs, little attention has been given to the color-conscious policies of the colleges and universities that permit or encourage, and, oftentimes, fund a balkanized campus environment. While proclaiming their dedication to a phenomenon of so-called “ethnic identity, choice, and diversity” the officials of many colleges regard the self-segregation of minority students on their campuses as supportive of their efforts to foster the comfort of a culturally, economically, geographically, and racially diverse group of students. Stripped of its paternalism their policies and funding actually support a new form of ethnic and racial segregation in higher education. They proudly and increasingly pursue a segregationist agenda. 1

The same schools that use race as a factor to achieve inclusionary admissions will also permit its use as a factor in the selection of roommates and preferences for living quarters in campus housing, for scholarships, and even for the remediation and counseling of at risk students. Race and ethnicity considerations permeate almost every facet of campus life. Both public and private colleges, from CUNY Queens to Princeton University, have fostered this kind of racial and ethnic separatism. In so doing, college officials who ought to know better confuse the goal of “diversity” with the deification of race as a factor for treating students differently. These colleges abuse academic freedom and the open pursuit of knowledge by funding separatism and by placating or empowering students who advocate and practice separatism. Here are illustrations and examples of the campus separatism fostered and/ or supported by the colleges and universities in our study:

Colleges create special administrative positions and offices that strengthen separatist organizations with special facilities, funding, and advising.

“Multicultural” offices work primarily with minority student organizations, giving these groups separate funding, strategic consulting, and physical space. For example, George Washington University provides the Multicultural Student Services Center, offering a wide — range of services, educational programming, and social and cultural activities to enhance the multicultural ideals of cultural heritage, racial understanding, academic excellence and continuous personal development.” 2 This Center sponsors co-curricular activities and leadership training and provides a resource center with computers for student use, reference books and instructional materials, a test file, and an information center. These special departments measure their success by the proliferation of more ethnic organizations. In 1994, Emory University advertised its Multicultural Learning Center, claiming, “In the last seven years, the number of ethnic student organizations served by the office has risen from five to twenty-six.” 3 This number has continued to grow, a trend the school is most likely points to with pride.

Colleges organize separate events and programs for minority students. The offices organize cultural events and other means of bringing together minorities outside of the general population. Colleges have directed the advertisement of these events to minorities. Cornell has a Committee on Special Educational Projects ( COSEP) . COSEP claims that its goals are increasing the enrollment of African American students at Cornell and providing support services to facilitate both their adjustment to Cornell and their graduation. 4 To receive more information, minority students check off a box on their application.

Some campus events have offered special orientation programs for minority students, and at least one college has a special weekend that includes women students. For example, as of several years ago, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offered the Campus Preview/ Minority Spring Weekend in the first weekend of April for recently admitted women and under-represented minorities. Interestingly, Asians are not regarded as “under-represented” minority students at MIT. 5 Once the covered minority students decide to attend MIT, they can partake in Project Interphase. This is a seven-week summer program for admitted freshmen, offering a curriculum of physic, calculus, writing, physical education and a myriad of co — curricular activities in preparation for their first year at MIT. . Project Interphase annually enrolls one third of the incoming African American, Hispanic/ Latino, and Native American students. 6 Wesleyan University is nicknamed “Diversity University” for good reason. In recent years no less than the Dean of the College introduced black incoming frosh to Ujamaa, as “an umbrella organization for black student organizations.” The Dean’ s Office assures the black frosh that “Ujamaa has garnered the respect of students [ and ] faculty, because of its rich history of being an effective voice for black students.”7 The university also strongly supports MOSAIC ( Multicultural Opportunities for Students Achieving an Inclusive Community), providing faculty and resources to enhance the chances of success for campus diversity. 8

Administration-supported minority student organizations on campus separate minority students from the rest of the population, marginalizing their viewpoints and making generalizations about each group.

Minority students receive special listings of these cultural organizations before they even matriculate, indicating these groups seek to separate out minorities. For example, University of Pennsylvania, in the brochure it sends to minority students IN1996, provides “a sampling of offerings that are of special interest to students of color.”9 Some of these groups explicitly say they’ re intended for minority students only, claiming they provide a support system. At Penn, the Black Student League ( BSL) serves “as a support mechanism for African American undergraduates.”10

These groups claim to represent the “special-interest” population. Publications like Penn’ s The Vision claim to “serve as a vehicle of communication for minority opinions on current issues encompassing both the campus and the world,” but give no justification for marginalizing these students’ opinions in a separate publication and assuming that all minorities share the same opinions. 11 Interestingly, as students self-identify themselves into smaller and smaller categories, minority organizations have multiplied. For example, at University of Pennsylvania, Latino/ a students can join the La Associación Cultural de Estudiantes Latino Americanos ( ACELA), and Chicano students can join MEChA at which is the Penn’ s chapter of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán. Apart from the BSL, Penn also offers the Caribbean American Students Association ( CASA) as well as PASA, THE PENN AFRICAN STUDENTS ASSOCIATION.

Colleges provide remedial services specifically geared towards minorities, stigmatizing minority populations.

Remedial services available to minorities stigmatize these students as academically under — prepared. They imply that admission requirements are different, and lower, for minority students. For example, Georgetown advertises The Center for Minority Educational Affairs ( formerly the Center for Minority Student Affairs), aims to promote educational excellence and racial equality at Georgetown University by serving the interests of African American, Latino, Asian Pacific American and Native American students. The Center dedicates [ itself ] to the academic success and personal development of these students and works to ensure that they graduate, and that they do so prepared to lead meaningful, self-sufficient lives and to make positive contributions to society. 12 The colleges offering these services do not explain why remedial services are not offered to all disadvantaged students, including whites and Asians. Rather, they lump together minority students who may have had exceptional educational backgrounds with less fortunate minority students, implying that something inherent in their “race” requires special academic support.

The colleges also pair minority students with minority “mentors” or “peer counselors,”prioritizing race over, say, academic or career interests. Wesleyan has one of these programs, called Wesconnection, which seeks to pair first-year students of color with upper-class students of color to aid in their transition from high school to Wesleyan. 13

Colleges provide courses and departments with a politically correct tilt. Some colleges now require coursework in multiculturalism or diversity training. Since 1991, Oberlin has required students to take “at least nine credit hours in courses dealing with cultural diversity in order to graduate. . 14 Oberlin offers a separate African-American Studies department, which at least once offered a course that requires students to participate in Nommo, a “black student newspaper covering aspects of life and issues of particular relevance to the Oberlin black community.” Credit hours are automatically distributed for various sorts of work done for the paper. 15

Colleges provide special-interest housing for minorities. Colleges, instead of discouraging self-segregation in housing, have chosen to facilitate segregation by creating ethnic or “identity” housing for minority students. Cornell University bowed to black students’ demands for Ujamaa, usually an all-black dorm, and to demands from Latino students for a “Latino Living Center.” Cornell also has Akwekon, a dorm focused on Native American culture. In 1995, we found that these dorms advertised themselves with stereotypical characterizations of their race. Akwe: kon dorm uses a Mohawk name, ignoring the range of Native American tribes, and brings its students in an atmosphere most reminiscent of an extended family. It’ ‘ s “housed in a handsome, eagle-shaped building.” Likewise, Cornell claims residents of the Latino Living Center discuss such controversial issues as gangs and urban life, and the future of immigration policy, and also learn more about Latino cultures, including dances like Salsa and meringue. “16 Generalizations and misrepresentations about these minority groups abound.

These racially-themed dorms still exist at Cornell, although the school s descriptions have changed substantially. Akwe: kon s description was not altered very dramatically. The extended family concept is still contained. . The description of the house does provide telling statistics about the house demographics: Usually half of the house’ s residents are of American Indian heritage, and the remainder are a diverse mix of cultures and heritages. 17

INTRODUCTION

Throughout history, American institutions ofhigher learning have served as political wind vanes, forecasting changes inintellectual thought that may eventually affect the entire nation. By bringing together a diversity of students and supplying the resources needed to engender new and original thoughts, colleges and universities have the potential to encourage their students to freely exchange their ideas and challenge each other’ s thinking. These students hopefully will go on to continue the growth and change necessary to contribute to a thriving democracy.

In recent times, educational leaders have been questioning how universities can best serve this goal of healthy intellectual discourse. Two controversial factors are race and ethnicity. Universities claim that they are only acknowledging and responding to the felt needs of minority students’ identity and race-based programs. They insist that “students of color” say they need cultural support and special service, and so the institutions provide them with special housing, separation orientations, fellowships, and publications to help them. Sometimes, whether or not under-represented minorities suffer educational disadvantages, some minorities are assumed in need of support and attention.

Universities and colleges in their literature and community standards sometimes offer patronizing statements of their support for sensitivity to minority students. . The general theme of these statements, which have at one time been included in so-called speech codes and conduct codes, is that intolerance of, or expressions of disrespect for, the background or culture of any person are unacceptable.

Boston University believes that “nondiscrimination does not ensure that equal opportunity is a reality.” 18

The philosophy of the SUNY system is perhaps best embodied in a statement recommended by the Cortland College Faculty Senate and approved, with editing, by the President of the College in 1995: “State University College at Cortland is dedicated to the affirmation and promotion of diversity in its broadest sense.” The College seeks to establish standards of behavior which honor the dignity and worth of individuals regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, age, physical or mental abilities, religious beliefs, sexual and affectional orientation, or socioeconomic class. An environment where it is safe to explore differences enables everyone to make more progress towards a campus community which celebrates, rather than merely tolerates, the richness inherent in the pluralism of the College.” 19

Implementation of these policies begins with the admissions process, where affirmative action programs bring in under-represented minorities and women.

Oberlin College’ s course catalog explains, “Recognizing that diversity broadens perspectives, Oberlin is dedicated to recruiting a culturally, economically, geographically, and racially diverse group of students.” 20 Although the Buffalo State College admissions process supposedly “is based on the academic and personal qualifications of the applicant and is granted without regard to race, sex, ethnicity,” a later statement by the college indicates that “Buffalo State accepts a limited number of freshmen students who would not normally be admissible if academic criteria were the sole basis for decision. [ This group includes ] applicants who are members of historically under-represented groups ( African American, Hispanic, or Native American) . . . Individuals who are accepted under this program may be required to take a reduced course load their first year and receive a variety of support services.” 21

The University of Wisconsin at Madison Admissions gives particular consideration to applicants who have been out of school two or more years, veterans, persons with disabilities, and those disadvantaged as a result of substandard education, family income level, or ethnic background. Indeed, the Office of Applications has a special Minority Applicant Service. Of the 41 schools surveyed for this paper, U. Wisconsin-Madison is the only school to mention such a service. The University does not qualify what constitutes being disadvantaged as a result of ethnic background. 22

The noble statements for bringing to campus a diverse population are contradicted by on — campus segregation that is college-sponsored in housing, counseling, orientation, and academic offerings. The research indicates that the colleges are strongly committed to ethnic separatism/ pluralism rather than to the melting pot, integration model of education students. The separatism funded and supported by the college oftentimes employs clever euphemisms and pretty facades.

CHAPTER ONE: “MULTICULTURAL” SERVICES

Many colleges have taken a pro-active approach to emphasizing racial differences by forming special departments and administrative positions for minority students. In fact, most of the colleges and universities surveyed for this study both offered and advertised special programs intended primarily or exclusively for the benefit of minority students.

In a later chapter, I will discuss programs providing minority students with academic, personal, and career support through special, color-conscious or color-matched advising, mentoring, and counseling. This section focuses on how these offices are connected with minority student groups through funding, housing, and resources. In almost all cases, the offices interact with student groups to plan special social and cultural events.

Smith College’ s Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs serves as “a support to African-American, Asian-American, Native American and Latina-American students.” This dean coordinates “cultural organizations,” i. e. minority groups; “convenes a monthly council of presidents meeting; [ and ] serves as a liaison for cultural events involving other area colleges.” 23 Today, Smith Offers the Office of Multicultural Affairs ( OMA) . The OMA is committed to fostering an awareness of cultural diversity and an appreciation of differences within a learning community. Tremendous importance is placed on the interests and needs of all students of color — African American, Asian Pacific American, Latina, Native American, and multiracial — beginning with their orientation as first-year students. As part of the office, the Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs/ Student Affairs and her staff offer a broad range of programs and activities which endeavor to support academic scholarship and enrich multicultural competence and individual empowerment. 24

SUNY Cortland has a Multicultural Affairs Coordinator who works through the Multicultural and Gender Studies Center. This office provides “The Fay Corey College Union” which includes the” Student Voice Office, a drop-in center and a location for multicultural programming. 25

The Multicultural Student Services Center at George Washington University “provides minority students with information, cultural activities, academic and personal mentoring, [ and ] leadership and community involvement opportunities. . Among other activities, the Center offers supplemental academic advising and tutoring services.”

Through grants and direct interaction, these offices support race-conscious student organizations and encourage their growth. Often, the schools dedicate special resources and housing to encourage interest in minority affairs. Institutional support gives minority student organizations continuity, official recognition, and strategic guidance, but also gives the college influence over supposedly student — run activities.

Despite using inclusive words like “multicultural,” the programs’ focuses are on students of color on campus, and usuallycompartmentalize students by racial, not cultural backgrounds. Indeed, in of all places, the university, “race” seems to be a proxy for ( and confused with) culture.

Smith provides both the Mwangi Cultural Center, the headquarters for the activities of the Black Student Alliance. Unity House, furthermore, provides office space and resources to the top eight ethnic and racial groups on campus, claiming that it helps to celebrate and share their cultural heritages. 26

Yale has an Afro-American Cultural Center, an Asian American Cultural Center, and La Casa Cultural each of which offers meeting space, a library, a kitchen, computers, and a variety of other facilities. These resources, in and of themselves, must tempt some minority students to congregate at these centers. The school s literature also promotes this sort of congregation: The Asian-American Cultural Center serves as a “SECOND HOME to our students and is available for both informal and formal gatherings. Students are encouraged to come to the AACC to study, or to use the computer room, kitchen, TV room or conference rooms.” 27

At CUNY’ s Brooklyn College, the Africana Research Center “promotes research in Africana studies and in political and economic problems of interest to scholars and the African-American community. “28 Oberlin connects its ethnic housing with its academic programs. The Afrikan Heritage House, for example, works closely with the African-American Studies department to coordinate events and programming. Similarly, at Asia House, programming — including lectures, films, special dinners, performances of Asian music and dance, and other cultural events — often complements the academic offerings of the East Asian Studies department. 29

Emory University provides the Multicultural Learning Resource Center, part of its Office of Multicultural Programs and Services: The purpose of the Multicultural Learning Resource Center is to provide programs and activities designed to increase awareness and appreciation for multiculturalism at Emory University. The Center additionally serves as a repository for reference publications and materials on the African American, Asian American, Latino American and Native American populations. It offers academic support for students and information on ethnic populations, activities and events, career opportunities, scholarships and internships and state — of-the-art facilities, including a computer lab and audio-video lab. 30 Other issues abound though con

Founded in 1971, Princeton’ s Third World Center has, according to the university, come to play an invaluable role in providing a social, cultural, and political environment which reflects the needs and concerns of students of color at Princeton University. It stands as a symbolic reference point for alumni, current students, faculty, staff, and members of the surrounding community as it continues to represent the University’ s commitment to diversity and students of color. The center, furthermore, provides opportunities for students to explore and discuss political, educational, and social issues that engage people of color locally, nationally, and globally. 31 The automatic association of people of color and the Third World demonstrates the blatant paternalism and reinforcement of stereotypes that characterizes many universities multicultural policies. . Dating back to 1977, and into the mid-1990s, Brown proclaimed its Third World Center as a place to serve the needs of “Brown’ s Asian American, African-American, Hispanic — American, Native-American, and multi-racial students.” Brown does not justify their assumption that students of color have more interest in Third World issues than other students. Nevertheless, the center “sponsors a wide range of speakers, forums, and activities celebrating the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Brown community . . . The TWC boasts a small but growing library of books related to the experiences of ethnic minorities in America, full kitchen facilities, study rooms, both formal and informal lounge areas, an active gallery, office space for student organizations, and audio/ visual equipment.” 32

Boston College offers the Office of AHANA Student Programs, which today develops, implements and coordinates a variety of programs that support and enhance the academic performance of undergraduate AHANA ( African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) students. 33

Oberlin labels the Afrikan Heritage House “the College’ s black communal and cultural center.” 34

Vanderbilt asserts that the Bishop Johnson Black Cultural Center serves as a home away from home for African — descended students. 35 The student centers at Stanford University include the Asian American Activities Center, Black Community Services Center, El Centro Chicano International Center, and Native American Cultural Center. 36 University employees often take it upon themselves to organize events and activities to highlight different cultures. Most of the aforementioned offices for students did so. The following examples are indicative of such programs:

The Office of Minority Education ( OME) at MIT, whose mission embraces a strategy to address academic and graduation gaps between underrepresented minority and non-minority students on MIT campus, organizes several racially — based activities each year. 37 Such events have included the Campus Preview/ Minority Spring Weekend in the first weekend of April, for under-represented minority and women students. “The program begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday. A number of special lectures, discussion groups, and social events are arranged to introduce under-represented minority and women students to life at MIT.” 38

The Multicultural Resource Center at Oberlin College helps coordinate and oversee projects and programs on diversity at Oberlin College. The purpose of this office is to serve as a resource for people who have historically been disenfranchised from higher education including people of color, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The MRC also strives to address the concerns of low-income, international, and first — generation college students. The MRC is staffed by a Director and four Community Coordinators who provide support for students and student organizations, organize and implement social and cultural programs, as well as advocate for their respective communities. The MRC lists several of the cultural programs and activities it sponsored, including a trip to the Million Woman March and a Hip-Hop conference. 39

Smith College organizes Otelia Cromwell Day, an “annual slate of workshops, lectures, films and entertainment held to honor Smith’ s first known African-American graduate. The symposium continues the college’ s efforts to combat racism and to create a diverse and multicultural community.” 40

SUNY Cortland offered the Office of Multicultural Affairs. The 1995-96 catalog states, “[ The OMA ] provides culturally enlightening programs with the intent of facilitating an environment in which cultural diversity is both appreciated and supported. It is the hope of this office that through the programs it offers, all members of the Cortland College community will develop a better understanding of all people in our society in general and specifically people of African, Asian, Latino, and Native American descent. This office also serves as a primary resource for students of color and strives to ensure that their academic, personal, and social needs are fulfilled during their tenure at the college. “41 Today, SUNY Cortland offers The Multicultural and Gender Studies Center. According to the Center, All oppressed groups share a similar — though not identical — body of experience that promotes a common bond. While the separate identities of groups must be acknowledged and respected, the center strongly endorses the need for these groups to work collectively in pursuing social justice. The Multicultural Affairs Coordinator works through this center to support and organize different programs and activities. 42

Cornell no longer advertises minority programming as such. But it indicates in its general publicity materials that interested minority students may receive more information by request: “Cornell also has bulletins on the African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, and international communities.” 43 As well, “through New York State’ s Educational Opportunity Program ( EOP) and Higher Education Opportunity Program ( HEOP), Cornell offers a network of services ( including a pre-freshman summer program) for qualified under-represented students . . . Since 1963, COSEP [ Committee on Special Educational Projects ] has recruited under — represented minority students with outstanding credentials and supported them with a comprehensive array of programs.”

Interested students are told to check-off a box on their application in order to receive more information. [ Note: As patronizing and condescending these policies are towards minority students, the separatist character of Cornell student housing has been lessened because of recent scrutiny from a complaint filed by the New York Civil Rights Coalition with the U. S. Department of Education s Office for Civil Rights and the New York State Education Department. It was alleged that Cornell s Ujamaa dorm gave preference to black students and had a racial litmus test for admission, and that the resident assistants hired by the college were always black. The second allegation was that the then newly created Latino Living Center had boasted of having a 50-50 goal of housing Latino and non-Latino students.

Such a goal the Coalition argued was a breach of the college’s responsibility to provide housing on a non-discriminatory basis. The U. S. Department of Education dismissed the complaint when it found that Ujamaa was not exclusively one race ( three white students were in residence) and regarded these dorms as program houses connected with the academic departments of the university. . Despite its integrationist policies that encouraged college officials to take actions that promote integration and to break up racial clustering on campus, the New York State Education Commissioner also dismissed the Coalition s complaint finding that Cornell did not violate any laws under its jurisdiction.

At Haverford, the Office of Multicultural Affairs lists “advocating for and supporting the interests and needs of students of color as one of it s primary responsibilities. 45

If and when such special resources are offered to minority students in separate centers or at separate events and programs, self-segregative pressures mount and can contribute to blocked communication, stereotyping, and intergroup rivalry and suspicions. As well, the colleges influence the growth and direction of student activity by providing minority organizations with special physical space, funding, and counseling. Tellingly, in 1994, Emory University advertised its Multicultural Learning Resource Center by claiming, “In the last seven years, the number of ethnic student organizations served by the office has risen from five to twenty-six.” 46 The minority offices thus measure their success in racial divisions.

CHAPTER TWO: STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

In Chapter One, we touched upon ways in which colleges support minority student organizations with special facilities and programming. These student organizations have acquired a strong and highly visible role on college campuses. While such organizations have the potential to organize activities that encourage interaction and understanding across racial groups, they too often encourage separatism and marginalization of minorities. They sometimes isolate minority students and divert potential leaders from mainstream campus organizations. When college — funding is attached to these identity gr oups, the college is an active player in separate “choices.”

Colleges such as Cornell have openly admitted their willingness to meet the demands of minority student groups. For example, Cornell’ s promotional materials explain that “a student protest led by La Associación Latina led ( in part) to the creation of the Latino residential house program and focused attention on Cornell’ s efforts to recruit and retain more Latino faculty members.” 47 Cornell’ s explanation suggests that without pressure they might not regard a diverse faculty as a priority for the university.

Favoring minority organizations and publications also gives credence to the notion that students should choose their associations according to race. Emory boasts of The Fire This Time, a newspaper devoted to promoting African American awareness and discussing related issues. The issues in The Fire This Time are intended to influence the minds, hearts and souls of the readers and to educate the entire community about the African American community and its concerns. 48

Such viewpoints also strangle “diversity of perspectives.” Professor Robert M. Costrell relates an incident that occurred at UMass Amherst:

“The Student Senate has set-aside seats appointed by the ALANA ( African, Latino/ a, Asian, Native American) caucus. Two independent elected senators, Carol Alvarez and Robert Chirwa, found the federal precedent declaring the set-aside illegal and demanded an end to it. As a result, Chirwa, a South African black, was kicked out of an ALANA caucus meeting and told to ‘ look in the mirror and check your color. ‘” 49

Extracurricular segregation creates an environment where differences of opinion, particularly within the minority population, get trampled instead of discussed in a free and open exchange of thoughts.

In a similar way, Penn lumps minorities together by offering publications and organizations geared towards defining the beliefs that minorities should hold. The Vision is Penn’ s “minority publication that serves as a vehicle of communication for minority opinions on current issues encompassing both the campus and the world.” 50 Penn also has the United Minorities Council to serve as an inter-racial alliance to address the issues of people of color in the University of Pennsylvania community. 51

In keeping with this philosophy of minority kinship, minority organizations both emphasize racial units and self-divide, into separate ethnic boxes. For example, at the University of Pennsylvania, Latino/ a students can join the La Associación Cultural de Estudiantes Latino Americanos ( ACELA), and Chicano students can join MEChA at which is the Penn’ s chapter of El Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán. Apart from the BSL, Penn also offers the Caribbean American Students Association ( CASA) . 52 Rather than acknowledging the futility of defining individuals by ethnicity and gender, these student groups simply create more divisions.

Many times, the college’ s promotional materials for these organizations explicitly say they intend to organize special “support” systems or “communities” for minority students. At Emory, the Black Student Alliance ( BSA ) maintains black identity on campus by creating an aware black community and serving as a forum for the expression of black ideas and goals. 53 Likewise, at Amherst, “Campus organizations and activities also exist which support students of color, while increasing appreciation of cultural differences. These organizations include . . . the Black Students’ Union which organizes campus activities focusing on issues of concern to African-American students.” 54 Oberlin College also has “numerous student groups dedicated to the special interests of students of color to provide peer support.” 55

Penn’ s 1996 brochure on “The Black Student League ( BSL)” provides a telling example of how colleges encourage separatism on the part of minority students. The BLS “serves as a support mechanism to foster the social, political, cultural, and intellectual development of the Black students at the University of Pennsylvania. 56 “Cultural awareness,” “community outreach,” and “academics” are the buzzwords that brochures use to make easy assumptions about race. What culture is being referred to? The use of the phrase “cultural awareness” masks and places in the college community old racist assumptions making blacks as “different” people without intragroup diversity. What is their “community?”

Additionally, the brochure discusses “Black Pre-Health Society [ which operates ] with the goal of increasing the number of minority students applying to professional schools and practicing in health care professions, thus improving health care in the African American community.” 57 The assumption therein is that the place for black physicians is the shelter. Of course, the brochure shows no evidence supporting its assumption that increasing black or minority doctors will necessarily improve health care services in the African American community. And it simplifies the nature of inadequate medical care in many black communities. The health care crisis reflects many flaws in the health care delivery system.

The colleges support these separatist organizations, as explained in Chapter One, through special resources. As well, the colleges begin instilling this separatism into students even before they matriculate. University of Pennsylvania, in the brochure it sends to minority students, provides “a sampling of offerings that are of special interest to students of color.” 58 Whatever the official stance of these organizations on participation by minorities, the selectivity of the mailings clearly sends a message of separatism. Many of these organizations, including ACELA.

MEChA, and BSL, include as one of their goals the recruitment of students of their specific racial/ ethnic category to matriculate at the school. This recruitment pattern indoctrinates students with separatist thinking even before they set foot on the campus. Minority students begin college with a sense of responsibility to the organization that made such efforts to recruit them.

On campus minority student leaders and organizations also start working on minority frosh. Vassar offers potential students a profile of Vassar student Torrey Maldonado: “As Community Relations chair for Poder Latino, an organization for Latino students, he worked with neighboring colleges to establish an Inter-Collegiate Hispanic Alliance. As a Freedom School intern in New York City, for the Children’ s Defense Fund, he organized and implemented weekly curricula for African-American, Puerto Rican, and Dominican children.” 59 Hence, these college students use their leadership skills and education to spread the racial community service gospel. These students design courses specifically geared towards minority students, encouraging them to see the world through the lens of race.

Several schools supply extensive lists of on-campus minority organizations to potential and recently admitted students. Swarthmore, Vanderbilt, and Williams are examples of such schools. 60 However, these three colleges have avoided the condescension of the University of Pennsylvania, which at least in past years listed dance and singing clubs alongside of racial organizations as activities of special interest to minorities. Furthermore, unlike Penn’ s, these three schools’ brochures are available to the general population of potential students such that at least non-minorities know about these minority-centered activities.

Wesleyan University has an earned reputation as “Diversity University.” The various racially-based student organizations on campus proudly declare that they promote racial consciousness, a goal they for some reason feel is admirable. For example, the Asian/ Pacific American Alliance Remarks that it is committed to promoting Asian American consciousness and identity as well as awareness of Asians in America. Its black incoming freshmen are given information about black student organizations and multicultural programming on campus from the Office of the Dean of the College. A letter to the “Class of 2003” welcomes them to Wesleyan “on behalf of Ujamaa.” It explains, “Ujamaa is an umbrella organization for Black student organizations, and is recognized and respected as the voice of Black students at Wesleyan. Ujamaa has garnered the respect of students, faculty, and because of its rich history of being an effective voice for Black students. We invite you to help Ujamaa continue its legacy as a powerful voice for Black students.” 61

Incoming Wesleyan students of color are also bombarded with mailings from and about MOSAIC ( Multicultural Opportunities for Students Achieving an Inclusive Community) — which pushes a one-view perspective of affirmative action, and introduces the frosh to friendly professors. One such professor wrote to the Class of 2003 that “Affirmative action is an issue that affects every member of American society — economically, politically, and psychologically. For that reason, I thought it might be worthwhile to spend some time discussing what affirmative action is, what its consequences are, whether it is accomplishing its goals, and whether there is anything that might be done to improve upon affirmative action as it currently exists.” 62

CHAPTER THREE: REMEDIAL SERVICES FOR MINORITIES

Many colleges provide special remedial and orientation services for minorities, fostering stereotypes about minority students as educationally disadvantaged students. As well, minority students who do not have need of special help are stigmatized.

Remedial services often begin before the students matriculate. Pre-orientation and special orientation programs abound. A sampling follows:

Smith offers Bridge, “a pre-orientation program for women of color.” 63 MIT offers Campus Preview/ Minority Spring Weekend in the first weekend of April, for under-represented minority and women students. “The program begins on Thursday and runs through Sunday. A number of special lectures, discussion groups, and social events are arranged to introduce under-represented minority and women students to life at MIT.” 64 Additionally, the school provides Project Interphase, which annually enrolls one third of the incoming African American, Hispanic/ Latino, and Native American students. A curriculum of physic, calculus, writing, physical education and a myriad of co-curricular activities fully involves them for a seven-week period in the summer, in preparation for their first year at MIT. 65

In 1992, Boston University encouraged its minority students to participate in an “AHANA orientation, which introduces students and family members to the University and to the local minority communities, and lecture series that enhance the collective understanding of issues that are important and of interest to the AHANA community.” 66

Wesleyan College offers MOSAIC — Multicultural Opportunities for Students Achieving an Inclusive Community. In this optional orientation program, first-year students of

African, Caribbean, Asian/ Pacific, Latino, and Native American ancestry are introduced, not only to specific support systems and resources in the community of color, but also to the larger diversity celebrated by Wesleyan. Although the school states, the events are open to the entire entering class, the targeted group is made very clear. . 67

In 1993, Yale University offered PROP, a week-long Pre-Registration Orientation Program for ethnic minority students. 68

The effect of these programs is to indoctrinate students of color even before they matriculate. They also encourage minority students to self-identify and segregate themselves by giving them a period of social interaction before the rest of the students arrive on campus.

Once the semester begins, colleges offer academic support to minority students, further insinuating their unreadiness for a rigorous collegiate experience. Students can receive “academic,” “personal,” or “career” support. They’ re sometimes paired with racial peers or adult mentors, from the faculty or larger community. While these programs can prove beneficial to individuals, they also stigmatize minorities as distinctively separate and different from the rest of the student population. Moreover, the pairings prioritize race and ethnicity over academic factors, such as areas of interest. Here follows some examples of the remedial programs offered minority students. The range of schools that offer these programs indicate that even at the most elite schools that presumably choose minority students with the most exceptional credentials, minority students are tagged as differently or under-prepared.

Boston College offers the Office of AHANA Student Programs, which today develops, implements and coordinates a variety of programs that support and enhance the academic performance of undergraduate AHANA ( African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American) students. The office offers a myriad of services and programs, including mentoring programs, personal and group counseling, academic and career advising, tutorial services, and writing workshops. 69

Brown University provides “Minority Peer Counselors now serving not only students of color, but all first years within their units. Although the focus has changed over the years, the program remains committed to the goals of the past, which include but are not limited to addressing issues of oppression and diversity both within the unit and campuswide. 70

MIT provides a broad and comprehensive spectrum of remedial services for its minority students. The school s Office of Minority Education offers tutorial services, a mentoring program, and a buddy program, in addition to the Project Interphase orientation described earlier.

Georgetown’ s Center for Minority Educational Affairs promotes educational excellence and racial equality at Georgetown University by serving the interests of African American, Latino, Asian Pacific American and Native American students. The Center, furthermore, work [ s ] to ensure that [ these students ] graduate, and that they do so prepared to lead meaningful, self-sufficient lives and to make positive contributions to society. The center s services include advising programs, scholarships, and tutoring. 71

New York University targets minority students with OASIS, the Office for African American, Latino, and Asian American Student Services ( replaced the Office of African-

American Student Services. OASIS offers support, programs and services to address the aspirations, challenges and issues of students from ethnically diverse backgrounds. OASIS offers a plethora of innovative programs that range from academic support to cultural enrichment. In addition, students can utilize the new state-of-the-art Timbuktu Computer Resource Center. Programs offered include social and community programs, time-management courses, and other study skills services. 72

Likewise, CUNY’ s Brooklyn College offers support to minorities through the Minority Affairs office. The school asserts, As an advocate for minority students, the Minority Affairs Office works in collaboration with academic, administrative, and support units to ensure effective outreach toward, support of and sensitivity to the needs of minority students. Furthermore, In cooperation with the Pre Health Advisory and Pre Law Committees, the office provides academic and social support to minority students interested in entering pre professional and professional courses of study, including graduate school and the business world. 73

Princeton offers special Minority Affairs Advisors or MAA s. MAAs provide unique and invaluable support for incoming students of color, and, like RAs, provide support, advice, and guidance to new students in their transition to Princeton. MAAs also help develop programs and events centered on race relations for the entire college community as well as program and events designed specifically for students of color. 74

Wesleyan offers a very comprehensive collection of remedial services for its minority students. For example, the Wesconnection mentoring program seeks to pair first-year students of color with upper-class students of color to aid in their transition from high school to Wesleyan. Furthermore, the school s The Mellon Program is a mentoring program designed to increase the number of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans earning the Ph. D. and entering the professoriate in the humanities, the physical sciences, mathematics, and demography. The school offers different summer programs for students of color and even created a program for minorities student visits: Annually, the Admission Office sponsors bus trips from the five boroughs of New York, and from New Jersey to bring students of color to campus. The Columbus Day Fly-in Program, similarly, is An annual 3-day program that targets high-ability students of color outside the Northeast. The Admission Office sponsors roundtrip visits for these students to visit campus in hopes that they will apply and matriculate at Wesleyan. 75

Emory offers its minority frosh a range of orientation activities and seminars, as well as Multicultural Outreach and Resource ( MORE) . MORE is a mentor program in which upperclassmen assist incoming students of color with the transition to college. Students are paired with an upperclassmen, usually of the same ethnicity and gender. In case the peer counselor does not suffice, Emory s office of Multicultural Programs also offers Mentoring for Success, a program whereby upperclassmen are matched with faculty and/ or staff who can advise them on their quest to their ambitions. 76

George Washington University’ s Multicultural Student Services Center offers work and career opportunities, scholarships, course advising, tutorial services, and campus andcommunity mentoring programs. The Multicultural Student Services Center (MSSC) provides a wide-range of services, educational programming, and social and cultural activities to enhance the multicultural ideals of cultural heritage, racial understanding, academic excellence and continuous personal development . 77 Northwestern University has an Office for African American Student Affairs, which offers advising and remedial support for black students, as well as the usual “cultural and social outlets.” Though this office purports to “voice to the needs and concerns of the black student community,” 78 it seems more inclined to provide that voice for them.

Haverford has a program entitled The Minority Scholars Program, which sponsors workshops that help to create a strong academic and social base for students of color. The science aspect of the program was originally begun to encourage students of color to participate in laboratory sciences. As a result, Haverford has seen a significant increase in the number of students of color majoring in the sciences. 79

One school, the University of Wisconsin provides different remedial support systems for each of its undergraduate and graduate schools, from its School of Engineering to its School of Nursing:

— One such remedial support program is entitled PEOPLE, the Pre-college Enrichment Opportunity for Learning Excellence. PEOPLE is a pipeline program to increase the enrollment and graduation at UW-Madison of African American, American Indian, Asian American ( especially Southeast Asian American), Latino/ a, and disadvantaged students with strong academic potential.

— Another program of note is Expand Students of Color, or SoCO. The school justifies the need for this remedial service, Students of color in a predominantly white campus contend with particular needs and challenges that can be addressed through targeted programs. The orientation program is designed to create a welcoming environment and continuing support for incoming students by providing information about those resources on-and off-campus that are particularly relevant to students of color.

— The mission of the College of Engineering s Diversity Affairs Office (DAO) is to facilitate and enhance the College of Engineering’ s effort to recruit, retain and graduate more women and students of color. DAO, working in partnership with many departments and offices campus-wide, is committed to developing and implementing programs that assist graduate and undergraduate women and students of color to achieve their academic, career and personal goals. These aid programs include summer programs and work and research opportunities.

— Minority Student Services at the School of Nursing claims, the school is committed to recruitment, admission, retention, and graduation of minority students to increase the number of minorities in the nursing profession. The Minority Affairs Coordinator, according to the School of Nursing Bulletin, 21 assists students with the adjustment from high school to college and, in addition to counseling, provides information about financial aid, housing, overall procedures of the University and the School of Nursing, and employment opportunities. Support services include academic advising, tutorial assistance in science and nursing courses, and assistance with study skills, time management, and test taking. A variety of financial aid and employment opportunities are available to minority students.

— The School of Pharmacy offers the Participation in MAPP ( Minority Affairs Program in Pharmacy), claiming the program is “open to all School of Pharmacy students and to students preparing for admission to the School.” Of course, this claim ignores the fact that the program is in fact closed to whites, providing its “professional, academic and nonacademic activities and support to students of color, and providing opportunities for students who are interested in promoting cultural and ethnic diversity within the School of Pharmacy.” 80

In a not-so-subtle way, some colleges tell students of color that they as minority students need special help to succeed in a competitive environment.

CHAPTER FOUR: COURSES

Colleges are increasingly using curriculum as a way to influence students’ racial sensitivity. Some colleges offer classes in “multiculturalism” or have added” diversity training” in their requirements. Since 1991, Oberlin has required students to take at least nine credit hours in courses that deal with cultural diversity in order to graduate. Likewise, while only 8 of 16 SUNY campuses surveyed by the National Association of Scholars required any courses in Western Civilization for a liberal arts degree, all 16 had required courses in “multiculturalism.” Other colleges simply make strong suggestions, such as the University of Pennsylvania. Penn singles out Afro-American Studies as a major or minor that can enhance one’ s ability to understand the social and cultural aspects of work in a variety of fields such as business, teaching, counseling, social service, medicine and law. 81

Colleges justify their suggestions and requirements with assumptions of racism on the part of incoming students. The Director of the Office of Human Relations at one Northeastern state university, where students must take two social and cultural diversity courses, explains his reasoning behind such requirements.

“[ Students come from ] communities with little diversity, from rural areas, and from de facto segregated suburbs outside of cities, and arrive at the campus full of naive prejudices and stereotypes . . . literally unprepared in many ways for the kind of cultural, racial, and ethnic diversity that this campus offers and they have no preparation in high school . . . they have [ not ] had multiculturalism education. . As a consequence, we as an institution are placed in the position of having to do multicultural education for huge numbers of students every year.”

It is unclear whether such courses actually do break down prejudices and stereotypes — or what impact extracurricular separatism may have to counteract the educative goal.

Some academic departments lionize and romanticize ethnic studies. Oberlin claims that its African-American Studies Department aims to “engender among all students an intellectual appreciation of black life in Africa and the Americas ( especially in the United States) ; to enrich the Oberlin College curriculum; and to increase the relevance of an Oberlin education in a culturally diverse world. Thus, the Department strives to provide the student body, in general, with substantive knowledge of the black experience and values that maximizes possibilities for racial harmony.” Presumably, the college backs up its view of black life with a rigorous curriculum and disinterested scholarship. On closer examination, at least once, Oberlin offered an African-American Studies course in this department is affiliated with Nommo, a self-proclaimed “black student newspaper covering aspects of life and issues of particular relevance to the Oberlin black community.” This course is open only to students who work on the paper. 82

At other colleges, ethnic courses are tailored for minority students. In 1996, Cornell explained that the Latino Studies Program and the Latin American studies program “are of special interest to Cornell’ s nearly 900 Latino students and to many others. Both sponsor lectures, conferences, and exhibits; recruit Latino faculty members; promote further academic programming; and increase campus awareness of the Latino experience.” 83 Today, Cornell s Latino Studies Program still aims to enlarge the size of the Latino faculty at Cornell through permanent appointments, visiting scholars, and post-doctoral fellowships. 84

Cornell is not alone in linking courses to student activities, increasing the possibilities for ethnic enclaving on campus. For example, the Oberlin African American Studies department advertises its link to the Afrikan Heritage House, which serves as “the College’ s black communal and cultural center.” 85

CHAPTER FIVE: HOUSING

A fashion on some campuses is “special-interest” or theme housing, which includes racially-identifiable dorms and floors of dorms.” Freedom of association” is the cover offered by the colleges by this so-called “self-segregation.” How the colleges describe such housing is instructive.

In 1996, Cornell explained that its Akwekon dorm houses “35 Native American and non-Native American students together in an atmosphere most reminiscent of an extended family. It’ s housed in a handsome, eagle-shaped building.” 86 Ujamaa, Ki-Swahili is described as housing 140 students who share an “interest in African heritage, Third World politics, and community action.” 87 Here, Cornell made assumptions about the interests of all African American students, implying that Africa and Third World are synonymous, that students with African heritage share an interest in Third World politics, etc. Cornell’ s “Latino Living Center,” established in 1994, “attracts about 40 socially conscious Latinos and non-Latinos. Residents discuss such controversial issues as gangs and urban life, and the future of immigration policy, and also learn more about Latino cultures, including dances like salsa and meringue.” 88 Cornell in establishing this special interest housing did not even mask its sweeping generalizations and stereotypes of Latinos and their supposed areas of interest.

The names of the dorms are demonstrative. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there is “Chocolate City,” 89 possibly named after the Parliament/ P-Funk song. Oberlin has named one of its dorms “Third World House.” Cornell’ s Akwe:kon is taken from the Mohawk word for “all of us.” The primarily black dorm there is known by its Swahili name, Ujamaa, Ki-Swahili — for “cooperative economics and family hood.” 90 Likewise, Stanford University names its Asian American dorm with the Japanese word Okada, 91 notwithstanding the centuries-long hostility between Japan and many other Asian countries.

Like Cornell, the other colleges claim that students of all colors may live in these dorms, notwithstanding the cultural, racial themes of these houses. The colleges will claim the students need only share an interest in the culture, not share skin color, but give no justification for compartmentalizing supposedly “American” cultures — African American, Asian American, etc. — into “theme houses” 92 or special-interest houses. 93 In 1995, Amherst comments that, “housing options include an African-American cultural residence . . . and an Asian cultural residence. Each special-interest residence is open to all students.” 94

Amherst, as other institutions of higher education, seems confused as to whether the theme houses represent a focus in foreign cultures, like the Asian culture, or subsets of American culture. At Columbia University, there is a Special Interest Housing Program. The Special Interest Housing Program promotes the cultural, intellectual, and social development of students living in the undergraduate residence halls by allowing students with common interests to live together within the residential community. The special — interest suites include Pan-Africa House, Casa Latina, and Students for the Performing Arts. 95 On the West Coast, UC Berkeley’ s catalog advertises the fact that Housing and Dining Services sponsored Theme Programs provide a learning environment for students who share an interest in a particular cultural theme. The African — American Theme Program, Asian Pacific American Theme Program, and Casa Magdalena Mora are examples of such programs. 96

These houses divert minority students from random housing assignments. For example, Haverford, offers a Drinker House, La Casa Hispanica, Cadbury House, Yarnall House, and the Black Cultural Center (now the De A. Reid House) 97 Curiously, colleges both defend and embrace ethnic housing as “theme housing,” saying, in effect, that self-segregation by race or ethnicity is the same as clustering by interests in music, art, and particular languages: The nine program houses at Oberlin bring together students who share common interests. Four of these houses focus on languages other than English. Residents of the French, German, Russian, and Spanish houses converse in those languages and learn about those cultures through films, special events, celebrations, and lectures. The other five program houses Asia House, Afrikan Heritage House, the Women s Collective, Hebrew House, and Third World House focus on ethnic or other specific interests. 98

An op-ed editorial by Robert M. Costrell, professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, recounted the actual experiences of students who try to live in minority “special-interest” dorms on that campus:

“Owen Hurlbut and Kha Le learned better. Best friends from home, they lived on the Asian floor ‘ for students of Asian descent and for others interested in Far Eastern culture. ‘ Hurlbut, a white student, majors in Japanese. In the spring of 1996, residents were summoned to a meeting and, as Le told me, the authorities ‘ kicked all my non-Asian friends off’ the floor for the following fall. ‘” 99

This anecdote illustrates a possible reality: that racially-segregated campus housing is not so because of a segregated “interest” in culture, but rather because of an interest in group segregation.

Many of these racially-based houses make it very clear in their mission statements that their goal is racial consciousness and identity, thus precluding the concept of a unified campus. MIT s Chocolate City makes it very clear in its mission statement that it s goal is racial consciousness and separatism: The primary purpose of Chocolate City at MIT is the promotion of black culture. Chocolate City at MIT also strives to maintain our African-American community, promote our ethnic identity, encourage social and intellectual improvement, and provide support for our brotherhood throughout and after our years at MIT. 100 Stanford explains that Members of the ethnic groups living in the [ racially-based ] houses have an opportunity to be a part of a supportive community because of the clustering of members of that ethnic group in the house, and because the educational program emphasizes and values the cultural identity of the group. 101

The University of Pennsylvania also links each ethnic house with a major, but claims success in racial integration. The college advertises the “W. E. B. DuBois College House is named for the famous sociologist and civil rights pioneer whose research at Penn in 1896-97 resulted in the landmark sociological study, The Philadelphia Negro. This dorm is the place to live while exploring African-American culture and literature. Small and intimate, the House is often the center of activities sponsored by African-American faculty, staff, students, and the West Philadelphia community. The house promotes the purposes and goals of the House through a variety of learning groups. These include Black Thought, a Creative Arts group, a Hip Hop group, the Black Yearbook group, and a Literature/ Reading group. 102 In 1996, we found that Penn offered the “East Asia Living-Learning Program,” which “allows residents to explore the cultures, languages, and societies of East Asia, particularly those of China, Japan, and Korea. About half of the residents of this active community are of Chinese, Japanese, or Korean descent.” 103 Along the same lines of providing a learning experience, Penn has the “Latin American Living-Learning Program,” which “seeks to explore and celebrate Latin American cultures, institutions, and national identities through personal interaction and intellectual dialogue. The program attracts a diverse group of Latino and non-Latino undergraduates.” 104 However, the website does not make any reference to either the East Asia Living-Learning Program or the Latin American Living-Learning Program.

However, one of their published quotes shows that the diversity of this group lies within the color lines. A Penn student tells of how “Last year, I lived in DuBois House, which was a great experience . . . I was exposed to a real mixture — to Africans, Haitians, African Americans, other black Americans like myself.” 105 At best, this student learned about the diversity within an otherwise skin-color racial grouping. Yet, it also highlights the fact that a diverse group of individuals from three different continents and holding a range of viewpoints have either chosen or been steered into a single house based on skin color.

Stanford University has several ethnic theme houses — Muwekma-Tah-Ruk ( Native American), Okada ( Asian-American), Ujamaa ( African-American), and Casa Zapata ( Chicano/ Latino) . According to the university, Members of the ethnic groups living in the houses have an opportunity to be a part of a supportive community because of the clustering of members of that ethnic group in the house, and because the educational program emphasizes and values the cultural identity of the group. By giving each minority separate support systems, the college suggests that ethnicity-specific support is preferable to general student support services. Paternalism is clearly at work. Luz Herrera tells of her first year at Stanford-” I was surprised to find such an incredible support system within the Latino/ Chicano community at Stanford; I didn’ t expect there would be so many resources available. As a frosh, I lived in Casa Zapata, the Chicano theme house.” 106 Her comments sound positive, but highlight the fact that not all minority students come to the University expecting or asking for special treatment. Rather, they’ re indoctrinated into the separate track.

CONCLUSION

We have shown in this study how colleges and universities of some distinction have shirked or redefined their responsibility to foster an atmosphere of freedom on campus. Many have embraced ethnic and racial separatism as freedom of choice on the part of minority students they bring to campus sometimes ahead of the rest of the campus population because minority students are seen by college officials as at risk or as culturally different than white students. Minority students who resist separatist dogma are stigmatized as politically incorrect or as Oreos who want to be white. Hence, their freedom of thought, action and independence as students are seriously compromised. The so-called militants on campus get the attention, recognition, and largesse of the colleges and universities. They re accorded incentives in the form of residential facilities, and social centers. special funding for their minority student organization, academic support in the curricular, as well as intellectual support from the faculty and administrative leaders of the colleges and universities. Through such methods, some colleges inculcate students with separatist thinking in both curricular and extracurricular campus life. Through housing, some colleges separate minorities from the general, mostly white, population. That separation in turn fosters racial stereotyping, generalizations about each other’ s groups. Finally, by offering special events and remedial services for minorities, some colleges stigmatize minorities as having inferior capabilities.

In a Boston Globe article, Professor Robert M. Costrell, a professor of economics at UMass Amherst explains:

“The culture of racial preferences is woven deeply into the policies and infrastructure of UMass-Amherst, and it will not yield gracefully to the law. High administration officials denounce court decisions they are obliged to uphold as “evil,” rooted in “greed” and “political malice. The fundamental problem is that UMass-Amherst has expanded its mission from education to ‘ social justice. ‘ Contrary to the judiciary, UMass defines justice in terms of official group identity. That impoverished notion undermines the individuality of students like Chirwa, Alvarez, Hurlbut, Le, and Lenny Holston, a Cape Verdean from Providence who told the Springfield Union-News that racial preferences put ‘ asterisk on our achievements’ that suggests ‘ you are only here because you are a minority.’“107

The paternalism of color-conscious policies in higher education stigmatizes not only minorities, but also creates anxiety and hostility on the part of majority-group students. They never get to know themselves or others without regard to skin color differentiations. Moreover, separatist thinking infects students and faculty alike, resulting in more racial tensions and resentment. Clearly, psychologist Kenneth Clark s early studies of racial segregation are confirmed by the climate fostered in academia today that is, racial segregation harms both the majority and minority student, especially and particularly when it is supported and reinforced by college officials.

Their own literature reveals that these colleges accentuate racial differences among students. An Amherst pamphlet quotes a Latino male explaining how he has found his blood-roots at Amherst. “For me, there’ s more consciousness of my background as a Latino male. Before I came to Amherst, I wasn’t thinking about race or class or gender or sexual orientation, I was just thinking about people wanting to learn.” 108. The student then explains how he’ s come to realize such distinctions, labeling them “a real awakening.”

The special treatment given to minorities at schools like UMass also results in sloppy student sentiments like that found in the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, one of the major campus papers: “People of ALANA [ African, Latino, Asian, and Native American ] descent cannot be racist because we don’t hold the economic power in this country, though we may feel anger which is provoked by racists.”

Colleges and universities have a responsibility to educate and challenge their students. Through color-coding, today’ s institution of higher education have done a disservice to both minority and non-minority students. Segregated housing, courses, and programs disseminate poisonous stereotypes and falsehoods about race and ethnicity. They limit interaction between minority and non-minority students, and reward separatist thinking. By discouraging whites and, sometimes, Asians from minority-specific programs, they deny equal interaction on campus. Although they claim to have minorities’ interest at heart, these colleges in fact take the civil rights movement giant steps backward.

All of this separatism is fostered in the guise of helping minority students. And trustees have accepted their presidents excuses and explanations for the balkanized campus, presidents who have argued with much success that separate orientation programs and housing and other such programs make campus life more comfortable for the minority students. They liken racial comfort zones to sports teams, fraternity and sorority groupings, and to even language houses where students who want to learn a foreign language live together in support of their special interests. This is mostly doubletalk, of course, laced with racial paternalism. It is their alibi for not fostering racial integration, for reversing themselves, midstream, about the value of interaction and discourse premised on the rigorous pursuit of knowledge and truth. The purpose of higher education is to remove narrow constrictions of the mind, to extirpate prejudice, to remove barriers to the open pursuit of knowledge. Separatism in all of its forms, but especially when it is aided and abetted by college and university officials and resources, is a betrayal of that mission. Shame on the colleges and universities that do this to successive generations of their students!

END NOTES:

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  2. George Washington University. 29 June 2002. <https://www.gwu. edu>
  3. Emory 79, no. 4 ( September 1994) : 34.
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  5. MIT Bulletin 129, no. 1 ( September 1993) : 11.
  6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1 July 2002. <https://www.mit. edu>
  7. Documentation on file.
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  9. Minority Students at Penn. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1996. 4-5.
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  16. Cornell University 88, no. 3 ( May 15, 1996) :34.
  17. Cornell University. 29 June 2002. <https://www.cornell. edu>
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  60. Documentation on file.
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  74. Emory University. 29 June 2002. <https://www.emory. edu>
  75. George Washington University. 29 June 2002. <https://www.gwu. edu>
  76. Northwestern University Undergraduate Study XIV, no. 2 ( June 1991) : 8.
  77. Haverford College. 8 July 2002. <https://www.haverford. edu>
  78. University of Wisconsin at Madison. 2 July 2002. <https://www.wisc. edu>
  79. University of Pennsylvania. 1 July 2002. <https://www.upenn.edu>
  80. Oberlin College, 1993-94 Course Catalog. Oberlin, Ohio: Office of Communications, 1994. 39.
  81. Cornell University 88, no. 3 ( May 15, 1996) : 30.
  82. Cornell University.29 June 2002. <https://www.cornell. edu>
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  85. Ibid.
  86. Ibid.
  87. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1 July 2002. <https://www.mit. edu>
  88. Cornell University. 29 June 2002. <https://www.cornell. edu>
  89. Stanford University. 4 July 2002. <https://www.stanford. edu>
  90. Amherst College. 2 July 2002. <https://www.amherst. edu>
  91. Columbia University. 9 July 2002. <https://www.columbia. edu>
  92. This is Amherst. Amherst, MA: Amherst College, 1995. 37.
  93. Columbia University. 9 July 2002. <http:/ / www. columbia. edu>
  94. University of California at Berkeley. 9 July 2002. <https://www.berkeley. edu>
  95. Haverford College. 8 July 2002. <https://www.haverford. edu>
  96. Oberlin. Oberlin, Ohio: Office of Communications, 1993. 31.
  97. Costrell,Robert, Ph. D. Racial Preferences have Taken Their Toll at UMASS, Boston Globe. March 6, 1999.
  98. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1 July 2002. <https://www.mit. edu>
  99. Stanford University. 4 July 2002. <http: / /www. stanford. edu>
  100. University of Pennsylvania. 1 July 2002. <http: / /www. upenn. edu>
  101. Minority Students at Penn. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1996. 3-4.
  102. Ibid.
  103. Ibid.
  104. Stanford University. 4 July 2002. <https://www.stanford.edu>
  105. Costrell, Robert, Ph. D. Racial Preferences have Taken Their Toll at UMASS, Boston Globe.March 6, 1999.
  106. This is Amherst. Amherst, MA: Amherst College, 1995. 38.32