Archives for December 2011

Columbia Still Leads JBHE Rankings

Low Library, Columbia University

“Four years ago Columbia University headed the JBHE rankings for the first time. Now, for the fifth year in a row, Columbia has the highest percentage of Black freshman students among the 30 highest-ranking universities in the nation. There are 174 Black freshmen at Columbia this fall. They make up 12.5 percent of the incoming class.”


U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain Diversity


The New York Times

Published: December 2, 2011

The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Court rulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.

The new guidelines issued by the Departments of Justice and Education replaced a 2008 document that essentially warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. Instead, the guidelines focus on the wiggle room in the court decisions involving the University of Michigan, suggesting that institutions use other criteria — students’ socioeconomic profiles, residential instability, the hardships they have overcome — that are often proxies for race. Schools could even grant preferences to students from certain schools selected for, among other things, their racial composition, the new document says.

“Post-secondary institutions can voluntarily consider race to further the compelling interest of achieving diversity,” reads the 10-page guide sent to thousands of college admissions officials on Friday afternoon. In some cases, it says, “race can be outcome determinative.”

The administration issued a parallel 14-page outline on Friday for the nation’s 17,000 public school districts, explaining what government lawyers consider to be acceptable ways that educators can seek to reduce racial segregation, which has been increasing nationwide.



Income gap most extreme in Morningside, Hamilton Heights

By Naomi Cohen

Columbia Daily Spectator

Published December 2, 2011

The Morningside Heights and Hamilton Heights neighborhoods have the highest income disparity in New York City, with the top fifth of the population making more than 30 times that of the lowest fifth.

The median household income of the highest fifth of the population is $207,053—34 times $6,073, the median income for the lowest fifth, according to a report by the Census Bureau released in November. The metropolitan area of New York City and northern New Jersey already sees the greatest national gap in income between the wealthiest and the poorest.

Walter South, a preservation architect on Community Board 9, which represents West Harlem and Morningside Heights, cited the simultaneous increase in the salaries of educational administration and stagnation in the salaries of the working class as the main reasons for the inequalities in Morningside.

While the region has seen an influx of upper-middle class families, he said, it also features the highest concentration of public housing in the city.

“People that have lived here the longest have much lower incomes than people moving in here the past five or ten years,” South said.

As of 2010, 34.9 percent of residents are receiving income support, up from 27.4 percent in 2000. The local poverty rate, at 25.9 percent, is over ten points above the national level.

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