Could Racial Incidents on Grounds Impact Admissions?

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 26, 2005

It's been several weeks since a rash of racial incidents hit UVa grounds. Now it's left some wondering if and how it may affect the recruitment of future students. The incidents grabbed nationwide attention over the past few weeks, and even though the school is now banding together to say no to racial prejudices, it may already be affecting future enrollment of the school.

Ania Wieckowski believes recent racial incidents on grounds may have effected her decision to attend UVa to some extend.

"I would definitely have thought about it twice," said the grad student.

That is what UVa admissions is trying to prevent. News of racial slurs and epithets around grounds several weeks ago has circulated nationwide, possibly leaving future students with a bad perception of UVa.

"We hope not," said Dean of Admission John Blackburn. "We've had such a great experience here in the past generation with African American students."

The school's Office of African-American Affairs says it's too early to tell if the incidents will stop African American students from applying to UVa.

"I think that it might have some impact, whether the impact will be great is very difficult to tell," said Dean of African-American Affairs M. Rick Turner.

However, some students don't think they'll be much of an impact at all.

"I guess I sort of feel like they should, but I've been here as a grad student now for three years and I feel like the same sort of problems have occurred year after year and I don't know that it really has affected recruitment that much," said grad student Mark Meier.

"It seems kind of silly to say 'oh, if a university has problems, I'm not going to go.' Every university has problems. I would be more concerned about if they were doing anything about those problems," said transfer student Stephanie McGuire.

School officials are trying to do all they can to make sure that UVa will remains the top choice for students interested in the university.

"We're doing a lot of talking to one another, a lot of examining, trying to figure out just what is going on here," said Dean Blackburn.

At the end of October, UVa Admissions will be holding their annual "Fall Fling," which is an annual open house for about 1,000 black students. Dean Blackburn says it'll be a good time to talk to future students about what's been going on.

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