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The alumni, including those who received masters and doctoral degrees at the school, called the unpublished study by Duke faculty members misguided scholarship whose results and methodology are both flawed and incorrect and based on problematic premises [that result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.
“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.