Study Rips College Minority Programs; Sees 'Segregated' Campuses as result.(NATION)

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 16, 2002 | Go to article overview

Study Rips College Minority Programs; Sees 'Segregated' Campuses as result.(NATION)


Byline: Ellen Sorokin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Programs set up to help minority students are a form of racism and have led to segregation at many universities nationwide, concludes a new survey conducted by the New York Civil Rights Coalition.

Ethnicity-themed dorms, multicultural offices and centers, minority-specific orientation programs, and courses and departments with a politically correct slant are "apartheid policies" that do nothing more than encourage separatist thinking among minority students, the survey of 50 public and private colleges and universities shows.

"Segregated housing, courses, and programs disseminate poisonous stereotypes and falsehoods about race and ethnicity," the 28-page report states. "They limit interaction between minority and non-minority students, and reward separatist thinking ... They deny equal interaction on campus. Although they claim to have minorities' interests at heart, these colleges in fact take the civil-rights movement giant steps backward."

Michael Meyers, the coalition's executive director, who initiated the survey, said Thursday that such programs are paternalistic and racist, and that college officials who promote the programs assume minority students cannot succeed without help. The coalition is a nonprofit group that opposes most forms of affirmative action but promotes racial diversity.

"These practices are insidious because they betray the real purposes of higher education," said Mr. Meyers, who is also vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union. "I thought the whole purpose of higher education was to remove narrow constrictions of the mind, extirpate prejudice and remove barriers to the open pursuit of knowledge. But we found that many of these schools are mainly reinforcing the notion of separatism."

College officials, however, deny that their services foster segregation. Instead, they argue that the services promote diversity on campus.

"We would be remiss if we didn't educate our students about the beauty and richness of the world we live in," said Marisela Martinez, director of the Multicultural Student Services Center at George Washington University, which was one of the universities criticized in the report.

"Our center is an all-inclusive center. We have many students from all ethnic backgrounds who take part in the center's programs. It's all about teaching students to be better prepared to live and enjoy the diverse world we live in."

Officials at Georgetown University, which is also mentioned in the report, said the campus's Center for Minority Educational Affairs offers its services to all undergraduate students.

"It's an all-inclusive center," said Julie Green Bataille, a university spokeswoman. …

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