The Fall Fallacy: How Not to Report Diversity Increases

To report increasing diversity requires two percentages: last year’s ‘percentage’ of minority enrollment vs. this year’s. To compare last year’s ‘total number’ of minority to this year’s total may prove an increase in minority enrollment, but it does not prove an increase in ‘diversity,’ because growth in white enrollments must be factored in. Yet some reporters and editors persist in the fallacy of reporting ‘increasing diversity’ in terms of growth in minority enrollment.

Name that fallacy? How about the fallacy of standalone diversity?
Not only do raw numbers of minority enrollment fail to track diversity, but diversity percentages on campus fail to supply their own significance. The significance of a diversity percentage on campus has to be assessed in terms of the off-campus ratios. This is because the whole question of diversity arises in the context of civil rights and de-segregation.

“Together, African-Americans and Hispanics represent about 55 percent of Texas’ 15-to-34 population, but only approximately 36 percent of the students in Texas higher education,” says a July report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (Closing the Gaps). These are the sorts of numbers that should accompany every report on campus diversity. There is a target we are trying to achieve through diversity.

At Texas A&M, this year’s numbers illustrate the fallacy of reporting increases in minority enrollments as simple facts of ‘increasing diversity’. Although total numbers of first-time Black and Hispanic students increased, there was no increase in the percentage of diversity.

The failure to increase on-campus Black and Hispanic diversity past a combined 17.6 percent is significant in light of what the Coordinating Board says above. With 36 percent of college aged minorities enrolled across the state, A&M fails to produce half-a-loaf in terms of the relevant talent pool.

But the significance of the flat-diversity curve is further dramatized by the fact that ‘minorities’ make up most of the college-age population. They are not ‘minorities’ at all.

Under “Read More” please find our updated chart of first time enrollment by gender and ethnicity at Texas A&M University.

CHART BELOW
Enrollment Ratios 2000-2004
for Texas A&M University

by

Race/Ethnicity & Gender

First Time Student Ratios by

Gender / Race / Ethnicity
(Fall Semester)

Category 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
Total 6,685 6,760 6,949 6,726 7,068
Female 3,497 (52.3%) 3,476 (51.4%) 3,665 (52.7%) 3,532 ( 52.5%) 3,643 ( 51.5%)
Male 3,188 (47.7%)

3,284 (48.6%) 3,284 (47.3%)

3,194 ( 47.5%) 3,425 ( 48.5%)

White 5,389 (80.6%

)

5,544 (82.0%) 5,758 (82.9%

)

5,538 (82.3%) 5,640 (79.8%

)

Black 173

(2.6%)

198 (2.9%) 182 (2.6%

)

158 (2.3%) 213 (3.0%)

Hispanic 669 (10.0%

)

674 (10.0%) 664 (9.6%)

692 (10.3%) 865 (12.2%)
Asian/Pacifc Island 251 (3.8%

)

222 (3.3%) 230 (3.3%)

234 (3.5%) 267 (3.8%)
Am. Indian 35 (0.5%)

37 (0.5%) 27 (0.4%) 27 (0.4%) 38 (0.5%)
International 47 (0.7%) 48 (0.7%) 56 (0.8%) 67

(1.0%)

40 (0.6%)
Other 121 (1.8%) 37

(0.5%)

32 (0.5%) 10 ( 0.1%

)

5 ( 0.1%)
Source opir/ep/F2000

(p.76)

opir/ep/F2001

(p.67)

opir/ep/F2002

(p.80)

opir/ep/F2003

(p.82)

opir/ep/F2004

(p.95)

CHART BELOW
Enrollment Ratios 2005-2009
for Texas A&M University

by

Race/Ethnicity & Gender

First Time Student Ratios by

Gender / Race / Ethnicity
(Fall Semester)

Category 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Total 7,104 7,816
Female 3,573 (50.3%) 3,919 (50.1%) – (-%) – ( -%) – ( -%)
Male 3,531 (49.7%)

3,897 (49.9%) – (-%)

– ( -%) – ( -%)

White 5,443 (76.6%

)

5,881 (75.2.0%) – (-%

)

– (-%) – (-%

)

Black 256

(3.6%)

280 (3.6%) – (-%

)

– (-%) – (-%)

Hispanic 1001 (14.1%

)

1097 (14.0%) – (-%)

– (-%) – (-%)
Asian/Pacifc Island 321 (4.5%

)

399 (5.1%) – (-%)

– (-%) – (-%)
Am. Indian 28 (0.4%)

53 (0.7%) – (-%) – (-%) – (-%)
International 51 (0.7%) 75 (0.9%) – (-%)

(-%)

– (-%)
Other 4 (0.1?%) 31

(0.5%)

– (-%) – ( -%

)

– ( -%)
Source opir/ep/epfa2005 (p.81) opir/fffa2006.pdf (p.2) prelim opir/ep/2007

(p.-)

opir/ep/F2008

(p.-)

opir/ep/F2009

(p.-)

Note: Between 1994 and 1998, the ratio of:

–Black first time students fell steadily from 4.8% to 2.7%

–Hispanic first-time students

peaked at 14.7% then fell to 9.1%

–White first-time students increased steadily from 76.3% to

82.0%

Source: OPIR/ip/Profile98(p.8)

Note: without ratios to overall population, the raw numbers of minority enrollments have little civil rights significance.–gm

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