Essentially, the fundamental role of recruitment officers has not changed, even in the wake of the admission percentage plans at state institutions in California, Texas and Florida. The underlying role of college recruitment officers, especially those charged with the task of recruiting students of color, remains to recruit a diverse clientele of students to a given institution. Now, what is meant by diverse? I do not agree with advocates who infer that diversity exclusively means the multiple hues of skin found on students at our nation's campuses. Instead, I submit, beyond students' race, diversity of academic, social, cultural, regional and personal experiences ,also are critical components to consider.
Disturbingly, the percentage plan approach to diversifying college campuses fails woefully. The very crux of this measure appears to offer a Band-Aid approach to a much larger wound: American colleges and universities are still by and largely predominantly White. Elitist in its construct, percentage plans seek to award top-class percentile high school graduates with automatic admission to states' top-ranked colleges and universities, leaving those who do not make the cut to choose other institutions, in some cases medium- and lower-tier schools. The percentile approach does little, if anything, to address the inadequacies in course offerings at suburban high schools versus those at urban ones. Equally disturbing, percentage plans also fail to address the disproportionate representation of students of color in graduate and professional school programs across the nation.
Although affirmative action is by no means flawless, its attempt has always been to remedy past and present inequities by instituting policies to diversify and create equal access to education for all.
College and university officials who truly seek to diversify will have to look much further than percentage plans for an equitable measure to bolster enrollment numbers for undergraduate, graduate and professional students of color.
Percentage plans, in my view, do not adequately address the issue of parity and equality in the college admissions process. Further, this approach underscores the danger in using a single criterion to make admissions decisions and sends a clarion message that colleges and universities still have a ways to go in diversifying our nation's student populations.
GHANGIS D. CARTER
Director of Recruitment and Retention
College of Education
University of Illinois at Chicago
The "minority recruitment officer" is a thing of the past in the state of California, and Proposition 209, the statewide referendum that Ward Connerly got on the ballot that banned the consideration of race in hiring and college admissions in California, ensures that this will remain the case. …