The Temple Student Government Diversity Affairs Committee has been holding weekly meetings to raise awareness about the decreasing racial and ethnic diversity on campus.
The meetings, held every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in room 306 of Curtis Hall, are just a small step in an ongoing process to help increase minority admissions at Temple. Even though the number of minorities at Temple has increased, the overall percentage of minorities compared to non-minorities has decreased.
Based on compiled statistics from the Admissions Office, the ethnic distribution of new freshman and transfer students over the last six years has increased by 17 percent for black students and 14 percent for Hispanic students compared to 64 percent for white students and 39 percent for Asian students.
As a result, the TSG Diversity Affairs Committee has been collaborating with different organizations to increase student awareness of the problem and get more students involved. TSG has worked with groups such as Black Leaders United, DOVE Social Organization, Student Association of Black Social Workers (SABSW) and Spanish Speaking and Latino Students in Social Administration (SSALSSA).
In addition, Director of Diversity Affairs Rorri Geller, has met with various personnel in the Admissions Office to convey ideas and share suggestions that have come out of these meetings.
“So far we have come up with ideas for a Black Student Union and a mentoring program for high school and middle school students but as of now nothing is official,” Geller said.
Director of Admissions Timm Rinehart and Associate Director of Admissions Karin West have been working closely with members of TSG Diversity Affairs to hear all proposals but progress has been slow.
“We feel that admissions is not doing enough to increase diversity and even though they are willing to listen to our suggestions, we hope to gain more action and more cooperation from the admissions office,” Geller said.
TSG Diversity Affairs Committee started last year as a TSG focus group.
When they noticed the Latino and black new student population was decreasing, they decided to identify the admission trends among minorities.
Over the past year the Diversity Affairs Committee has obtained information and statistics from the Admissions Office in order to determine the intensity of the problem and to compare the results with other urban universities.
This year the admissions office has solicited the names of black and Latino students who received high SAT scores and have at least a B+ average. The information was then used to send post cards to qualified students and invite them to apply for admission.
“We feel that because academic standards for admission are higher some minorities are losing the opportunity to attend Temple University or are discouraged from applying,” Geller said.
All students are welcome to attend the committee meetings. “We are currently looking for new faces. Most members seem to be upperclassmen or those already in student government, but we would love to see more freshman and sophomores involved,” Gellar said.
The last TSG Diversity Affairs Committee weekly meeting of the fall semester was Tuesday but meetings resume in the spring semester. The time and place will be announced later. For more information, contact Geller at firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 204-8727.
Danean Nixon can be reached at email@example.com.