Low enrollment keeps Yale off Hispanic list

About 6 percent of the students who enrolled at Yale last year are Hispanic, but according to a new college ranking by Hispanic Magazine, that was not enough.

The magazine rated the top 25 universities for Hispanic students last month, placing Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University at the top of its list. But not only was Yale absent from the rankings — it was not even considered. The magazine would only consider colleges with a 7 percent or higher Hispanic enrollment rate last year and stated that this number was “conservative” considering that Hispanics make up 12 percent of the U.S. population.

Hispanics make up about 12 percent of the student body at Stanford and M.I.T, and Harvard came in third place with a rate of 7 percent. The magazine’s list — which was compiled in coordination with Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education — considered universities placed in the first four tiers of the U.S. News and World Report annual rankings.

Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said Yale’s omission from the rankings does not concern the administration.

“I think Yale is always working to increase the diversity of our student body and that increasing enrollment of highly qualified members of traditionally underrepresented groups is very important to us,” Salovey said. “We especially need to make sure that the students who are admitted choose Yale, since it is likely they have other options.”

According to University statistics, Hispanic enrollment experienced a slight bump this year, rising to just over 7 percent of Yale’s undergraduate population for the 2004-2005 school year.

Jose Rivera ’08, who had to decide between Yale and Stanford, said his choice was not based upon the University’s Hispanic representation. But he did say that he feels Yale’s Hispanic enrollment is too low.

“I come from a school that was 50 percent Hispanic students,” said Rivera, who went to high school in Phoenix, Ariz. “I come to a school where I only know two or three and that’s not as many as I would have hoped.”

Several students said they felt that Yale’s Hispanic enrollment rate is too low, but that the University should not try to fill a quota in order to maximize minority representation on campus.

“I don’t think race should be an issue in recruiting,” Megan Salinas ’08 said. “It should be a true reflection of the students who deserve to get in and not universities trying to fill statistics and top-25 magazines.”

Maria Prieto ’07, the vice president of Yale’s Latin American Student Association, said that a quota system is not the way to prevent a relatively small minority enrollment.

“I think Yale’s Hispanic enrollment rate could improve — there are a lot of very underrepresented minority groups on campus,” Prieto said. “I don’t think there should be a quota, however. Better recruitment would be to try to get Latinos to come a day before Bulldog Days and give them an extra day.”

Salovey said he believes there are other ways in which to increase the amount of Hispanics on Yale’s campus.

“I believe that, for some students from these groups, our new financial aid policies may be helpful in increasing their numbers here,” Salovey said. “I think a strong and vigorous cultural center is important because it helps build a sense of a warm and supportive community for students who come here.”

Salinas and others said that Yale currently is doing a good job of giving Hispanic undergraduates a sense of community on campus.

“Hispanic organizations at Yale gave me a community feel during my first semester,” Salinas said. “My ethnic counselor did make my transition into Yale easier because my ethnic counselor was also from my home town.”

Prieto said she feels Yale does a solid job in funding ethnicity-based organizations.

“We receive a lot from the La Casa Cultural House,” Prieto said. “La Casa is absolutely great for Latino students. I feel that sometimes being a Latino is understanding yourself as a member of the Latino community.”

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