Minority enrollment up despite overall drop

David Yochum

More minority students are sitting in classrooms this year, despite a 2.5 percent decline in overall Kent State enrollment.

According to figures from the Office of Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, 32 more African-American students and 25 more Asian or Pacific Islander American students enrolled across Kent State’s eight campuses this year than in Fall 2005. However, Hispanic-American enrollment has dropped by 15 students, while Native American enrollment decreased by 14 students.

Comparatively, Caucasian-American enrollment has gone down by 928 students.

Pete Goldsmith, vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, said the spike in African-American enrollment can be attributed to aggressive recruiting in urban cities such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and even Trenton, New Jersey. He dismisses any idea that the increase in African-American students has a connection to the loss of Caucasian students, reiterating that the enrollment process is independent.

“We’ve had a surge in applications from New Jersey, as students are leaving the state for education,” Goldsmith said. “Enrollment is challenging, but it’s always the university’s goal to do better.”

Kent State’s Stark campus had the biggest increase in African-American enrollment, adding 56 students. The Kent campus had no change in African-American undergraduate enrollment, yet lost 22 graduate students.

Goldsmith said the university “thinks a diverse student body is a good thing.” It helps reflect the diversity in the country and prepare students with a better understanding of the world. However, he didn’t know if the university would make any changes or new programs to adapt to the increase in minority enrollment.

One change that could further spark minority enrollment is the upcoming renovation to Oscar Ritchie Hall, which houses the Department of Pan-African Studies. The out-of-date building has been in poor condition for years, but is scheduled to be gutted and rebuilt almost entirely beginning next summer.

Fran Dorsey, associate professor of Pan-African studies, has heard people say Kent State’s Pan-African department is the “university’s best kept secret” and believes the renovated Oscar Ritchie Hall will “blow students away.”

“I feel everyone will be envious of (Oscar Ritchie Hall) across the country,” Dorsey said.

Contact minority affairs reporter David Yochum at [email protected].


• African-American +32 students

• Asian or Pacific Islander American +25 students

• Hispanic-American -15 students

• Native American -14 student

• Caucasian-American -928 students