University of La Verne administration and a member of the student population disagreed on the efficacy of enrollment and retention rates in relation to ethnicity at the University during a recent ASULV meeting.
The meeting, attended by ASULV members, university administration and students, took place Monday in the Campus Center Ballroom.
According to the ULV fact sheet, 6 percent of the student population identified as African American during 2017.
“This institution is completing students across racial lines,” said Mary Aguayo, vice president of strategic enrollment management. “Not only are we doing a very good job socioeconomically, we also do not have gaps in student success by race and ethnicity and that is very, very powerful.”
Aguayo, who has been at ULV for a few months, said working for an institution with those accolades is exciting.
“Institutions across the country would love to be in that boat because these are things that everybody is trying to figure out, and guess what you guys, La Verne has it,” Aguayo said.
Yulvi Reyes-Solorio, president of the ULV Multicultural Club, questioned Aguayo about the university’s success in regards to African American students.
“I know you mentioned doing a great job graduating students considering racial ethnicity, but I don’t know how you can explain the dropout rate or the actual population of black students on campus,” Reyes-Solorio said.
Aguayo said that in order to address ethnicity issues on campus, the institution needs to think about who they want to be and strategize accordingly.
Aguaya added that there were positive parts of ULV’s minority admission and retention rates.
“The highest performing group for retention on the campus in the most recent data was our African American women who were retaining at 90 percent,” Aguayo said. “That’s not to say that there is not more that we can do. That is not to apologize for the fact there is a lot more that we could do for our African American students.”
“The demographics going from 5 percent to 3 percent is because of dropouts, it is because of financial aid, it is because they are not feeling the support that they are supposed to have,” Reyes-Solorio said after the meeting.
Reyes-Solorio said she does not believe that the University prioritizes race and ethnic issues and that past university town halls are a good example of the lack of consideration on these topics.
“Diversity and inclusivity were at the bottom of the list and they never got to it,” Reyes-Solorio said after the meeting.
“I want to make sure that in this town hall that they make sure that diversity and inclusivity is one of the topics that they present because it is one of our core values at the University.”
The next town hall is scheduled for Oct. 17 in the Morgan Auditorium.
Provost Jonathan Reed spoke about his obligation to the University’s values.
“One of the things that we are tasked with as administration is living up to our values and one of those is community and diversity, and I think we all know that on an annual basis we have failures in that area,” Reed said.
Christian Shepherd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.