The University of Maryland has seen a significant drop in the number of Black students enrolled this fall and many believe the racist incidents on campus in recent years likely played a role in the decline.
According to the baltimoresun.com, African-American representation in the new freshman class has dropped to an eight-year low, and data shows that roughly 340 out of 4,700 first-year students is Black.
The 2017 on-campus fatal stabbing of Black Bowie State University student Richard W. Collins III, allegedly by a racist White former University of Maryland student, has reportedly increased tension and fear among current and prospective students.
“We would be naive to think that the tragic incidents of the last two years on our campus have not contributed to our African-American student enrollment decline this year,” vice president and provost Mary Ann Rankin said in a statement. “We must address the concerns about campus climate and hate-bias incidents that UMD and many of our peers are facing.”
White students represent over half of the freshman class at the university, Black students about 7 percent, Asian students 20 percent and Hispanic students about 7 percent, the report states. Last year, by contrast, 10.8 percent of the freshman class was African-American.
The university has pledged to enhance efforts to increase diversity among the student body. University President Wallace Loh intends to appoint an Enrollment Action Council that will be tasked with ensuring “all eligible Maryland students can access the extraordinary educational resources available to them at their flagship university.”
The University said in a statement that it will appoint an admission and diversity initiatives coordinator who will ramp up recruitment and application support initiatives.