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Minority enrollment, diversity essential to CMU

Imagine walking around Carnegie Mellon’s campus and seeing students who all look the same. Though this may seem a bit extreme, it is an example of what universities could be like without affirmative action.
Carnegie Mellon research suggests that if affirmative action were to be banned at top-tier universities, minority enrollment in those schools could decrease by 35 percent.

This research comes after a number of major court decisions that call the constitutionality of affirmative action into question, and question its further use at universities.

We believe that diversity is one of Carnegie Mellon’s strengths, and are against implementing a ban that might cost us this diversity. Affirmative action helps to ensure that applications from minority students are reviewed separately from their non-minority counterparts. Because there are fewer minority applicants, their applications might be overlooked without affirmative action and the diversity of our student body would suffer. We cannot imagine that Carnegie Mellon would be the same top-tier university that it is today without the diversity that is so vital to its success.

This study provides a new way of looking at affirmative action and its effects on higher educational institutions. Rather than merely contributing to the same debate that has been going on since the program first began decades ago, the study provides possible answers about the issue: If we eliminate affirmative action, minority enrollment will fall and universities will be less diverse.

While the researchers may not have intended for the study to support a certain side of the debate, the results indicate that getting rid of affirmative action would be detrimental to the diversity of top-tier universities in general and Carnegie Mellon in particular.

Diversity is what makes Carnegie Mellon such a unique university, and increased minority enrollment benefits our campus and our community. Diversity is such a priority here that each year President Cohen delivers his annual diversity address just to talk about diversity and minorities at Carnegie Mellon. Carnegie Mellon’s minority population is currently about 14 percent, and the university has benefited greatly in terms of its interdisciplinary approach to learning from this relatively high percentage of minorities.

Having students from a variety of backgrounds improves students’ experiences and provides unique perspectives. Any decrease in minority enrollment would damage the balance of perspectives on campus and would have a negative effect on the college experience.