Written by Cathy Beuten • Issue: July 10, 2014 • Campus: Anschutz Medical Campus, CU Denver, CU system, CU-Boulder, UCCS • Tags: Board of Regents, Carrigan, diversity, Office of Diversity Equity and Community Engagement •
The University of Colorado Denver reported to the CU Board of Regents at its June meeting that more than half of its new resident freshmen are a racial/ethnic minority: CU Denver is at 51 percent, UCCS 36 percent and CU-Boulder 29 percent.
The board commended diversity officers from each campus for overall increased enrollment and graduation percentages of minorities. Some regents, however, voiced concern over the low number of African-American students attending CU, especially at CU-Boulder.
Each campus reported increases in the percentage of minority students, with the combined CU-Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus having the highest percentage of undergraduate minority students at 35 percent. UCCS’s undergraduate minority population is 28 percent, up 8 percent from four years ago and CU-Boulder’s undergraduate minority population is at 20 percent. The campuses also reported:
CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus
Bob Boswell, vice chancellor in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement at CU-Boulder, said that since 2007 the percentage of African-American students at CU-Boulder has decreased by 9 percent and American Indian students have decreased by 19 percent. He said some of the shift is because of a restructuring in how students’ ethnicity is classified in the admissions process.
“Clearly we have a challenge,” Boswell said. “The climate in Boulder – the city itself – there’s a perception that we’re not a welcoming climate.”
Michael Carrigan, D-Denver, chair of the board, said he consistently hears from his constituents about the lack of diversity at CU-Boulder. He said he’s often been told African-American students face an unwelcoming culture with fewer amenities than other students.
“I’m frustrated that there has not been a meaningful change in the 10 years I’ve been on this board,” Carrigan said. “It is a blemish on what is an otherwise outstanding institution.”
Boswell outlined current and proposed programs geared toward determining and eliminating barriers that keep minority students from enrolling at CU-Boulder and from earning their degree within six years.
CU-Boulder plans to conduct a student survey “to identify factors that impact students in the classroom; to address factors that impact their persistence, retention and graduations,” Boswell said.
The overall increase in the percentage of minority students was encouraging, he said.
“In 2007, our entering class was 356 Latino students and currently it’s 634, so that’s a 78 percent increase. In Colorado high schools, there’s only been a 28 percent increase of (graduating) Latino students in that same time period,” Boswell said.