October 13, 2003

Correction Between The Lines

Posted in General at 8:54 pm by Ian

I noticed this correction in Pomona’s Student Life Newspaper this morning:

[quote]As appeared in the 10/3 issue, Mike Rush’s article “Student’s of Color Used to Enhance White Experience” incorrectly stated that “admissions reports a 1% increase in enrollment for students of color.” This is incorrect in that the final data, while noting an increase, has not been quantified empirically.[/quote]

Clearly, there’s no way that admissions could know that the population of black students had increased, but not know by what amount. It’s not like they wandered around campus and said: “Hey, I see more black people. Enrollment must have gone up.” They’re looking at two columns of numbers. So this correction, which claims that the increase has not be quantified, is bullshit.

Here’s the way that I’ve interpreted it. You may decide if I am being too cynical.

Clearly, we want to show that the population of black students has increased. At such a lily-white institution, such changes can only be the result of Progress. Said Progress here has taken the form of racial diversity, a very popular form of Progress at educational institutions. Hurrah, for we are more accepting™.

But… that vicious number managed to make it into the report. Either 1% was not enough of an increase, suggesting that our Progress is in name only, or, worse, the mere presence of a number might make people think that (gasp!) we were considering the bottom line and (heavens!) our diversity score in US News and World Report more than individuals who fit well with the school. It even brings up the dreaded spectre of quotas! (several faint-of-heart faint and fall to the floor).

And, ::sigh::, yes, I noticed that there’s a typo in the correction: “Student’s”

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