USF Tampa Students to Protest Low Black Enrollment Again, Call for More Black Counselors and Professors | Tampa Bay News | Tampa

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Justin Garcia

SDS students on low black enrollment at USF in February 2020

This Thursday, students at the University of South Florida in Tampa will hold another rally as part of a years-long effort to push university leaders to increase black enrollment.

Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) will stage the protest on the USF Tampa campus outside the Marshall Student Center near the Fountain of the Bulls at 1:45 p.m.

According to USF’s 2021-2022 “Pocket Fact Book,” the black enrollment rate is 9.5 percent for the current academic year. In recent years, the number of black students has fluctuated, but remains around 9%. During the 2008-2009 academic year, the enrollment rate was 12%.

These enrollment percentages contrast with the percentage of blacks living in Tampa, which, according to the latest Census Bureau figures, is 23.6%.

“The USF administration has failed to fully acknowledge this problem and has made flawed attempts to address it,” SDS wrote in a press release. “It is important that a college institution reflect the community in which it is located.”

SDS went on to say that the group has heard from black students on campus saying they find it difficult to connect with counselors who don’t understand what it’s like to be in a minority group at school. university. As part of the protest, they are also demanding that USF hire more black counselors for black students to identify with and more black professors.

Creative Loafing Tampa Bay has reached out to the university’s communications team for a response, but has yet to receive one. This story will be updated if it happens.

In February 2020, when CL posted about a similar on-campus protest, USF management said they were aware of the issue.

“We share the concern of SDS students and would like to further increase enrollment of black undergraduate college students,” USF Vice President for Student Success Paul Dosal told CL. “My interest is in maintaining the type of campus that resembles the diverse competitive global marketplace that students will enter.”

The SDS held meetings with the university and presented ideas to solve the problem. Yet nearly two years later, black college enrollment has remained stagnant.

Black student enrollment problems exist across the country.

In 2017, The New York Times published an analysis which described that “the share of black freshmen in elite schools is virtually unchanged since 1980. Black students make up only 6% of freshmen but 15 % of college-aged Americans.

While students of color have seen an overall increase in college enrollment, very few have seen enrollment at top-rated and Ivy League universities. Graduation rates for black students show a downward trend.

In 2019, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a report stating that “black students who started college in the fall of 2011 had higher dropout rates and lower six-year completion rates – 46% in public institutions, 57% in private institutions – than any other racial group. Black students also had more debt than other students after graduation, 15% more than any other racial group.

On Thursday, SDS will continue its efforts to resolve registration issues in Tampa.

“It is crucial for a college campus to preserve one’s identity and culture, the absence of this environment makes USF unattractive and unwelcoming to many,” SDS wrote.

About Teresa G. Wilson

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