MADISON (WSAU) The U-W System took steps many years ago to make its campuses more racially diverse. Now, a conservative group that opposes affirmative action says the university has gone too far. The Center for Equal Opportunity in Virginia says black and Hispanic applicants are more likely than whites to get admitted to the flagship Madison campus – even though the minorities have lower test scores and class rankings.
The center’s chairwoman, Linda Chavez, says the racial disparities at the U-W are the biggest her group has seen in 15 years of studying admissions data at colleges around the country. It said that in 2007-and-’08, Madison admitted eight-of-every-10 Hispanic students who applied, and seven-of-every-10 blacks – while admitting only six-of-every-10 whites and Asians. And while the admitted white students average 29 on the A-C-T test, blacks only averaged 25 and Hispanics 26.
The U-S Supreme Court has ruled that colleges can consider race in their admission policies, as long as it’s one of many factors. Madison admissions director Adele Brumfield says her school considers student interests, urban-and-rural backgrounds, and more in deciding admissions. U-W officials say academic achievement should not be the only factor. They say it’s more important to have students from a variety of backgrounds – and diversity adds value to everyone’s experience.
The Equal Opportunity Center filed suit to get the admissions’ data after the U-W denied the release on the basis of student privacy. The State Supreme Court ordered the data to be released in 2002.