Butler University’s devotion to diversity might look good on paper, but the numbers say otherwise.
According to Butler records, the number of African American, Asian American, Native American and other students enrolled for the 2009-2010 year was 11.3 percent. This pales in comparison to the 31.4 percent national average for comparable private four-year universities in 2009.
Although the number of multicultural students who applied to Butler this past year increased, the enrollment rate of these students decreased dramatically. We at The Butler Collegian think this decrease in multicultural students is a problem that Butler should strive harder to remedy.
This year is the first year that the enrollment rates of multicultural students were noticeably lower than the application rates. Application rates are always higher than enrollment rates, but the gap between multicultural students that applied and multicultural students that were enrolled is what alarms us.
Although state funding has steadily decreased for the past three years, the current freshman class is the first and only one to be so directly impacted.
Butler claims the reason for the enrollment of fewer multicultural students is a lack of state funding for these students. Multicultural students are accepted to Butler but end up being unable to afford the education.
While the staff understands this, we wonder why Butler can’t fundraise or reallocate budgets in other departments to accommodate these students.
Although the debt ceiling debate this summer put more stress on students—especially low-income students—about paying for college, it is preposterous that Butler is using the debate as a shield to hide behind.
Butler has always promoted diversity as one of its priorities. As a liberal arts university, one would think that increased enrollment of multicultural groups would be a priority. However, Butler has shown that this practice is not as essential to them as it has been advertised to be.
Instead of spending millions on campus construction projects, tighten some budgets and give more multicultural students the opportunity to attend Butler.
If the university wants to follow up on its pledge and promise to promote diversity, then it needs to make more of an effort to give these multicultural students a fighting chance to be a Butler Bulldog.
A founding pillar of a Butler education is service learning. Almost every student that attends this university completes some form of service learning before graduating. Most of this volunteer work somehow involves visiting multicultural neighborhoods and high schools to explain the importance of a college education.
It seems to be a cruel double standard that the university goes out of its way to reach out to multicultural students and encourage them to attend college, accept them to Butler and then blame the economy when these students can’t afford to enroll.
If the university can simply not afford to help pay for multicultural students to attend, then it needs to stop advertising diversity as a staple of the campus.
Butler cannot have it both ways, so if it wants to continue to pride itself as a diverse, liberal arts university, it needs to take more aggressive steps to include multicultural students.