Skip to comments.Black alumni join students in concern over Duke study
Posted on 01/17/2012 7:55:23 AM PST by NCjim
DURHAM Echoing the concerns of black undergraduates at Duke University, some African-American alumni of the school have expressed outrage over a report that black students there are disproportionally more likely to switch from tough majors to easier ones.
We are deeply troubled and offended by the recent study emanating from faculty members at our alma mater, 17 black alumni wrote in a letter to The Herald-Sun.
The alumni, including those who received masters and doctoral degrees at the school, called the unpublished study by Duke faculty members misguided scholarship whose results and methodology are both flawed and incorrect and based on problematic premises [that result in] problematic conclusions.
We cannot sit idly by and allow this slander to be (mis)labeled as truth, the alumni wrote.
The paper, What Happens After Enrollment: An Analysis of the Time Path of Racial Differences in GPA and Major Choice, looked at two Duke freshman classes in their first, second and fourth years of college.
It found that among students who initially expressed an interest in majoring in economics, engineering and the natural sciences, a significantly greater percentage of black students ended up switching their majors to the humanities or another social science.
The authors of the paper suggested that the switch to what are considered easier, less rigorous majors was predominantly responsible for why the grade-point averages of black undergraduates ultimately mirrored the GPAs of white students as they progressed through school.
The papers authors professors Peter Arcidiacono and Kenneth Spencer, and graduate student Esteban Aucejo argue that their work calls into question other studies that play down the academic difficulties initially experienced by those who benefit from race-conscious admission policies.
The paper is included in a brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court by opponents of affirmative action. The court is considering whether to hear a lawsuit challenging race-conscious admissions the university of Texas.
News of the paper drew angry responses from members of Dukes Black Student Alliance.
In an email sent to the state chapter of the NAACP, officers of the alliance wrote that the implications and intentions of this research are hurtful and alienating, and questioned both the scholarship and why the university administration had done nothing to ameliorate any possible effects of what the researchers had noted.
About three dozen members of the alliance, including a few white students, silently protested the study Sunday evening outside Duke Chapel after the universitys annual Martin Luther King Jr. service.
They passed out fliers posing the question Duke: A hostile environment for its black students? and held signs that said, among other things, Does GPA have a color?
The students have called on the university administration to provide a complete public account of Dukes effort to ensure an optimal learning environment for black students and provide a public affirmation of the universitys commitment to diversity, as well as its full support for policies and programs that promote the success of black students.
It’s rough when you get into an excellent university based upon grade inflation or athletic ability.
There wasn’t much outrage when the 88 professors were proven wrong in the Duke Lacrosse case and they never apologized.
Soooooo, they don’t like the facts? Should Duke force minorities to stay in engineering and other “hard” majors?
(1 Change the anti-academic attitude in ANY culture that is anti-learning.
(2) Teach phonics.
(3) Bust your tail on homework. An engineering degree, for example, is VERY hard work.
Affirmative action and set aside “scholarships” are cruel teachers.
Oh yeah; here we go with the good ol' Race Card.
Duke provides an optimal learning environment, available to ALL students, and somehow they want special treatment for blacks? If you can't compete, maybe the problem is not with the program, but with the capability of the players???? Change the rules so that lowering the bar will allow lackluster to survive?
Seems that's what PUBLIC education has tried, and we STILL have blacks earning less, producing less, and living on the public dole MORE. Face the fact that the Cultural Issues of mental mindset/lack of work ethic is rife in that particular community (as it has been for 4 generations)
so far, i all i hear is the usual ‘outrage’, can these alumni show conclusively that the study is seriously flawed and thus gives a flawed conclusion???
Did these alumni consist of engineering or communications majors?
So let me get this straight. These are students who came from Africa, were born in Africa, matriculated at Duke, and who now refer to themselves in the collective as African-Americans. Do I have that about right. I had NO idea so many students from Watusi land were enrolling there. Quite amazing. Do they still do tribal dances and have witch doctors?
F Duke and F them.
“The alumni, including those who received masters and doctoral degrees at the school”
Would those degrees be in african-american studies and history?
I’m offended they’re offended.
I work at one of the world’s major companies and the head of the tax dept is a black guy who I’m certain isn’t there because of his color but because he worked hard and has an aptitude for this - and he’s an excellent leader. His admin assistant is a young black girl, nice as pie, fits in well. One of the people I support is a black who actually immigrated from Africa - also hard working and really nice guy.
It isn’t as though one size fits all - and that works both ways. Not all blacks who’ve been coddled through high school and given favoritism in college admissions are going to make it - nor would whites shown the same favoritism. These blacks who are being made uncomfortable by these statistics ought to realize this.
I’m confused that they’re offended...
Is “10-2=8” racist somehow?
You should be required to stay in the field of study that got you admitted in the first place. You should have to reapply if you want to change to a different college of study (Engineering to Business) AND any scholarship money forfeited.
Among the politically correct we’re not supposed to bring up uncomfortable facts. I heard that somewhere recently.
The government should suppress all facts that are offensive.
One in particular caught my eye:
The study opens with a bold statement that affirmative action admissions in higher education allow for the college admission of minority students who have weak preparation for college-level work. This implies that students of color are not as intelligent or prepared as their white counterparts.
The rebuttal of these statements is so obvious, so tautological, it borders on the rhetorical. To wit: if students of color were as well-prepared for college as their white counterparts, there would be no need for affirmative action. In other words, if black candidates had similar high school grades, SAT scores, and other objective criteria for admission, they could be evaluated solely by that criteria. The fact that they do not have similar credentials is the raison d'etre that affirmative action exists.
Furthermore, the critics conflated "intelligent" with "well-prepared," which just muddles the issue, while enabling the race-card to be played. A student could have innately high intelligence and still be poorly prepared for a prestigious college if that intelligence had not been put to good use via a rigorous high school education.
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” ` Winston Churhill
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” ` Winston Churchill
This might fit the racist pattern and is anecdotal at best but:
When I started college in the computer science program there were several black students in my computer classes. By the time I graduated, there were no black students in my computer classes. There were some of the same black students in some of my math classes that had moved to the educational curriculum.
The best supporting facts are the GRE test scores by undergraduate major.
Please don’t misunderstand where I am coming from. I am at Duke University and have many black friends who I hold in very high regard for their academic achievements and abilities, even in the most rigorous programs.
Newt summarized it in his speech last night, “This is about providing equal opportunity for all.” Sad to say, many of the underprivileged are not provided with the academic opportunities from pre-K through 12 and don’t have the foundation necessary to handle the rigors of some programs. Fix the system, don’t just criticize the current results. Whatever you do, don’t lower the hurdles, especially in the Duke School of Medicine which has a reputation of excellence. Do what it takes to raise the quality of entrants into the programs.
It fails to mention - what they find “slanderous” about the study.
Everybody knows this. There are a few thousand Black kids/year that score over 1300 on the Math and Verbal SAT. Duke Eng is like “1400 to play”. (Duke average Arts = 1470 Math +Verbal. Average Eng is 1490). 1100 Black students/year in the US score over 700 on the math SAT. Duke Eng average Math Sat is like 760.
Duke has about 170 Black students/class. Duke would need to enroll 170 out of the 1100 TOTAL Black students with >700 Math SAT. 15% of all Blacks with >700 in the US would need to attend Duke - just to get CLOSE to the 760 average Math SAT of the Eng students.
There just aren’t enough of them - with enough horsepower - to fill all the slots that their Affirmative Action programs put them in.
The result is inevitable.
High horsepower ENG school is very uncomfortable place for someone without the horsepower. It is uncomfortable enough - for the guys with 760+ math SAT.
So of course the black kids move out.
The whiners document the racism - in their own comments. A real person with the “Duke typical” horsepower wouldn’t whine - they would present numbers, and demonstrate where the report is wrong. just giving these guys the time of day is racist in itself - lowered expectations. And also -= it demonstrates - they are USED TO having lowered expectations. They don’t even understand how their own whining demonstrates the point.
I'm sure that's not what they want. What they want is for those students to get rubber stamped diplomas in those degrees. Because hey, who doesn't want a nuclear engineer who couldn't pass basic algebra?
“F Duke and F them.”
You must wear the lighter shade of blue! LOL
Here is the money quote, supra, announcing that, despite the facts of the research, the conclusions were uncomfortable. Despite the truth of the research and findings, such studies impugn the nobility of a sacred, victim class.
“You should be required to stay in the field of study that got you admitted in the first place. You should have to reapply if you want to change to a different college of study (Engineering to Business) AND any scholarship money forfeited.”
I know from experience that many of the programs such as bio-medical engineering are so rigorous that students who fail in them and transfer to other majors are superstars in their new major.
Bingo! This is the “uncomfortable” premise of the research proffered.
Thank you for an excellent “on target” analysis of the situation.
JMHO, anyone who is offended by facts should stay the hell out of science.
It's easy to get better grades in those subjects- all you have to do is parrot back the left wing drivel the "progressive" professors spew...
There isn't a single valid criticism in that whole article; from start to finish, it shows pathetic ignorance of how science is done. I wonder if it ever crossed the authors' minds to consult a science major (which none of them were) before putting their names to this drivel.
What is your major? Seriously.
The best supporting facts - are the facts. Which is why - the whiners don’t comment on the facts, and why you want to change the goalposts.
If you were a student of these numbers, you would understand a bit better.
Even CORRECTED for income and Demographics - average poor White performs approx equal on SAT with affluent Black.
It is straight numbers.
Nothing against smart black folks - but there aren’t enough of them to support the AA drive for equality. it is not a question of how many smart black friends you have - I have them too - it is a simple fact - proportionately - there aren’t enough.
CAROLINA Blue, baby!!!!
This is how things roll here in Zimbabwe With a Ballpark. Five years here and you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but somehow they keep surprising me.
I am sick and tired of hearing we don't provide academic opportunity for people. We have more opportunity here in this country than any place in the world.
If you want to rehash that canard, then let's discuss providing more athletic opportunities for white folks k-12 so more can get the 'opportunity' to play college football and basketball. Let's get some quotas for them. Then let's get offended if they drift off to the golf team and the synchronized swimming team.
effort to ensure an optimal learning environment for
black, students and provide a public affirmation of the universitys commitment to excellence in teaching and learning diversity, as well as its full support for policies and programs that promote the success of all black students.
Here's another that blows my mind...
Thus, affirmative action does not call for the admission of students of color who lag behind their peers. It simply serves to increase the representation of women and minorities in areas where they have been historically underrepresented...
“CAROLINA Blue, baby!!!!
I keep getting caught in the “Blues!”
First I was at Penn State.... (Blue & White)
Then I moved to Duke in 2010 (lived in Duke Forest right on the edge of campus)(Dark Blue)
And this year I moved my home to Chapel Hill! Funny thing, one of the UNC coaches lives in my neighborhood. He planted the wrong grass seed in his lawn and it all died and left him with a brown lawn. The homeowner’s association said something to him about it so he had a company come in and spray his lawn with paint to make it green. But instead of green, the paint left him with a “Carolina Blue” lawn! LOL
This has been the case for 30 years.
In top schools, in high horspower majors, plenty of decent smart folks just get filtered out.
A guy in my frat - 30 years ago at Cornell - failed out of eng in like a semester. Didn’t make it to finals - just - boom. Went back to big State School - and got A- average - still in Eng.
There is a secondary effect of AA - and that is - even the smart black kids - don’t have to be as smart - and they know this. So - they can get into grad school, or business, with lower numbers. This actually works to disincentivize them from achieving. It is in the numbers.
It is pretty logical - a kid failing out of Eng or Chemistry (getting his butt kicked) - moves to business - and gets B+/A- - and can get into MBA school. The admission requirements for blacks - are just lower. They just - are.
In fact - a white kid - might HAVE TO keep fighting in Eng school - because he is not going to have the “hand on the scale” for admissions to Law School or MBA that the black kid will have.
Look at our President - average student at Columia in Poli-Sci - gets into Harvard Law? I’m sorry - but >90% of my college friends meet or beat that requirement - and we wouldn’t even apply to Harvard law.
That's the other 9%.
The deck just isn't stacked for them, they own the deck.
Oh, yeah, and on the "black side of the family", his baby-daddy (putative of course) was a Harvard grad ~ making Obama himself a "legacy" of more recent vintage.
My major... I’m retired. Wife is an MD on faculty at School of Medicine.
I taught tax law for years, returned to class, picked up a degree in psychology (talk about a piece of cake in comparison to the business & science curriculum) and went on to study cognitive neuroscience and religion. I’ll be studying and learning until I am pushing posies.
Love it here as I can attend all the Grand Rounds at two wonderful Hospitals (Duke & UNC) and the neuroscience programs and lectures. Both are absolutely wonderful programs.
I’m pretty sure you still have to request to change majors.
Also - just fyi - the people in the “more difficult” majors are usually higher performing than the regular majors.
They do things like - take classes in the weaker majors - so they don’t have to study for the class, to leave time for their regular classes.
But - for Duke and Black kids - they would never let them go. They would hold into them as long as they could - they need the numbers. Just like in industry.
What is really happening - is there just aren’t enough qty of smart black kids to meet the demands of AA and equality numbers. So - Duke takes - say - 170 Black kids. 85 are as smart as average Duke. 85 are “diversity” plenty smart, just not at the level of he first 85.
This second 85 - would be fine at UNC, or NC State, or etc. But now they are at Duke - getting high pressure tested.
It actually hurts blacks - because the same kid would do fine at NC State, be a great engineer or Chemist, etc. But - because he is put in a slot too hard for him - feels out of place, and a failure.
This is repeated every day at every school in the country. It is very damaging.
Thus, you cannot possibly get to  without totally embracing the affirmative of . If one merely seeks to provide equal opportunity for all starting at Kindergarten, then a whole generation of "deserving" victim class citizens will be underrepresented in professional careers.
Furthermore, after striving for a generation to provide equal opportunity in education for all, what does one do when the hoped-for results in the professional career demographics do not materialize? Blame racism and sexism again and re-institute hardcore quota affirmative action?
Maybe 20 or 30 tears ago. Not now.