W,E.B. DuBois’ assessment of American higher education’s posture toward black students in 1926 — “The attitude of the northern institution toward the Negro student is one which varies from tolerance to active hostility” — could have been written today based on several investigations. The American Council on Education reported recently that “the higher education community must continue to address the issues of losses in participation at all levels for blacks; the segregation of Hispanics; the retention and graduation of minority students, both undergraduate and graduate; the lack of growth for minorities in faculty and staff ranks.” The College Board reports that “although many of the legal barriers to educational opportunity have been removed, education — to a large extent — remains separate and unequal in the United States.” The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights reports a significant drop in the number of minorities receiving bachelor’s degrees, from 14,209 in 1975 to 6,792 in 1983. There are many other indices showing deterioration of a black (and Latino) presence in American higher education.


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