Push for more diversity

The University should create the Educational Opportunity Program.

by Daily Editorial Board

To members of a university that is increasingly being governed according to market logic, leading to dramatic increases in tuition, employee furloughs and departmental cuts, it was refreshing to hear someone in a position of power at the University of Minnesota reaffirm diversity, as incoming president Eric Kaler did recently.
Kaler said diversity would be one of his top priorities and that âÄúthe number of students of color in the University is too low.âÄù This is obviously the case, as whites have consistently made up 75 to 80 percent of the UniversityâÄôs student body for years. In order to encourage minority attendance, Kaler has proposed instituting the Educational Opportunity Program, which would offer intensive mentoring, advising and support services to minority students who are more likely to need these services to stay in school. It seems to have worked at KalerâÄôs former institution, Stony Brook University, where minorities graduate at a higher rate than whites.
This program is especially crucial at a time when skyrocketing tuition is denying access to the University for low-income students, who are disproportionately minorities.
While the University drifts more and more into the ruthless cost-benefit rationalizations of the corporate world, the Educational Opportunity Program is a defiant affirmation of the UniversityâÄôs role as a public and academic institution to which everyone should have access, regardless of race or economic status.