May 16, 2005

A new quota system at the U of Oregon

The University of Oregon's Office of Multicultural Academic Support has some blatantly racist and condescending attitudes about those students they purport to serve:

When senior Stephanie Ramey tried to sign up online for Math 243 Calculus for Business and Social Science for spring term she was denied access and informed she would have to contact the class professor. The professor asked her to contact the Office of Multicultural Academic Support about enrolling in his class.

A staff member at the office said she couldn't register for the class because she doesn't identify as a minority, Ramey said..."I guess I was just really surprised and irritated because I thought I had a right to get into the class too. ... I guess I felt a little bit discriminated against," Ramey said. "For a sophomore math class, I shouldn't have to wait just because I'm white."

Ramey attempted to enroll in one of six University classes this term that reserve the first 10 slots in an 18-student class for minority students, while requiring others who want to get into the class to arrive on the morning of the first day of class and meet with an adviser before being allowed to register for the remaining eight slots...Linda Liu, advising coordinator and academic adviser for OMAS, said the classes are meant to offer a safe haven for minority students and give struggling students a chance to work more closely with professors.

Why is the assumption here that minority students who are smart enough to go to college require a "safe haven" before they can perform the same classwork as other students? Will the next step be that such students require job set-asides so that they can be guaranteed of working in a "safe haven" and relieved of the responsibilities of having to work in the same structure as everyone else?

Greg Vincent, vice provost for institutional equity and diversity, said the University offers a smaller class setting for these "gateway courses" for students who could benefit from them. He said the classes also provide a comforting environment that minority students may not get in other classes. The classes aren't based on a quota, and after the initial 10 spots are filled, the classes are open to everyone, he said.

Why should colleges admit students who need comforting environments? Isn't this no different from saying these students cannot do the same work in the same environment as everyone else? I thought the purpose of college was the challenge, not comfort. How do these types of attitudes differ, fundamentally, from the old racist ideas that minorities were not smart enough to attend college?

I'm not being facetious; I just simply don't understand why it's okay for OMAS to lump together all students of certain races as needing special treatment and allowances, when anyone else would be castigated if they said that such students couldn't succeed without extra help.

(Via Fox News.)

Posted by kswygert at May 16, 2005 12:28 PM