Yale enrolled a higher percentage of black students in its freshman class than any other Ivy League school, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education.
Yale placed fifth overall in the study of 25 top universities. Black students made up 8.5 percent of the Class of 2006 at Yale and at the University of Michigan.
First through fourth place in the study were, respectively, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Stanford University, Duke University, and the University of Virginia. The study included the top 25 four-year universities, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
Administrators had mixed responses to Yale’s ranking and emphasized the importance of continued efforts to recruit minority students.
Yale President Richard Levin called Yale’s ranking “pretty good.”
“The data would seem to reflect that those [recruiting] efforts have worked well,” Levin said.
He said he was pleased with Yale’s special efforts to recruit minority students and emphasized the need to remain competitive with other top schools in attracting minority applicants.
The study found that Yale’s percentage of black freshmen has fallen since 1993, when 12 percent of the freshman class was black. Since 1993, however, the percent of black students has remained relatively stable.
Levin said Yale evaluates applicants on an individual basis. This explains fluctuations in the admissions statistics, he said.
“It’s not like we’re targeting a specific number [of black students to admit],” Levin said.
Dean of Student Affairs Betty Trachtenberg said she was disappointed with Yale’s ranking.
“Of course, I want to see more African-Americans admitted,” Trachtenberg said.
But she said she thought the University worked hard on minority recruitment.
“I have to think that the admissions people work hard and are as fair as they could possibly be,” Trachtenberg said.
Katrina Gipson ’04, co-president of Black Students at Yale, said one of her major considerations when choosing a college was the percentage of minority students there, as well as the activities and support offered to them. She said when considering several schools that were similar in reputation and resources, minority life became a large factor in her decision.
While Gipson said she did not get a sense of welcoming or belonging when she spent a weekend at Princeton, Duke’s Black Student Alliance made her feel as if they wanted her. At one point, she said, she felt inclined to attend Duke.
But in the end, Gipson chose Yale.
“[Yale is] not necessarily a perfect utopian society,” she said. “But at least they put forth an effort.”
She said Yale provides a “forum to be able to strive for change, politically and socially.”
BSAY co-president Julianna Bentes ’04 said she did not feel as actively wooed by Yale as she did from other universities. But she said Yale made efforts to show her the cultural houses and introduce her in an informal way to minority student life at the University.
Bentes said Yale does a good job of recruiting minority students.
“I think [Yale is] doing well, especially within the context of the Ivy League,” she said. “[But] in terms of nationwide [performance], they could be pushing it further.”