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Hechinger Seminar Covers Higher Education In a Multiracial, Multicultural Society

The Hechinger Institute held a three-day seminar from October 30-November 1 on "Covering Higher Education in a Multiracial, Multicultural Society." Among the topics discussed were: A history of exclusion and inclusion; preparation of minority students for college; campus programs to promote diversity; and covering diversity in the media.

More than 20 higher education reporters from a wide variety of large and small newspapers across the nation attended the seminar. The journalists attending represented The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Fresno Bee, the Orlando Sentinel, among others.

One of the featured speakers was William G. Bowen, President of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and former President of Princeton University. Bowen, who co-authored The Shape of the River with Derek Bok, the former President of Harvard University, spoke about "The Problem of Access." Bowen said, "We can pass an informed judgment on the wisdom of race-sensitive admissions only if we understand in detail the college careers and subsequent lives of the students."

He spoke about the unprecedented study he and Bok conducted. They analyzed the academic, employment, and personal histories of more than 45,000 students of all races who attended academically selective colleges between the 1970s and the early 1990s.

The study, according to Bowen, reveals how much race-sensitive admissions increase the likelihood that blacks will be admitted to selective universities and demonstrates what effect the termination these policies would have on the number of minority students at different kinds of selective institutions.

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