Honors college diversity lagging

Our View

Since its establishment in 2003, the Honors College has become home to many of the University’s brightest students and most engaging activities. It is now a central part of student life and a valued recruitment tool.

Unfortunately, the Honors College has also opened new divides on a campus that was already deeply divided. The Crimson White reported Monday that the Honors College student body is 91 percent white, while white students make up only 81 percent of the overall UA student body. Black students are enormously underrepresented, making up 12.4 percent of enrollment but only 3.3 percent of the Honors College.

This discrepancy not only reduces the number of minority students who can benefit from Honors College programs, but it also reduces the benefit students in the Honors College would receive from a more diverse environment.

Like the prestigious universities it models itself after, the Honors College could do more to recruit talented minority students. Programs such as the diversity committee in the Honors College Assembly are a good first step, but the Honors College could make a more concerted effort to show that the University is a generally accepting environment. More programs geared toward connecting minority students would be a strong recruitment tool for top scholars.

The Honors College has great potential to be a tool for bringing intelligent, motivated students together across racial lines. Currently, though, the Honors College is pulling talented white students from the rest of the student body, and further isolating them from diversity. The gradual progress we have made since integration will not be sustainable if the University doesn’t make diversity a priority for all of its programs.

We have confidence in Honors College administrators. However, going forward, we hope the college will be more ambitious in educating different student groups and minority applicants about its many opportunities. Through education and encouragement, the college can identify qualified minority applicants and get them involved.

Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White’s editorial board.