University to keep race as admissions criteria

Paige Zinsou, a sophomore premajor, checked the box for Black/African-American when applying to college, but she feels that if she would’ve checked the box as white, she would still have all the qualifications to be admitted at TCU.

Zinsou has checked black most of her life since middle school, but occasionally she changes it up. Zinzou’s mother is Caucasian and her father is of African descent. When Zinzou asked her mother about what she should choose, her mother told her about a pre-kindergarten application she filled out on Paige’s behalf.

“She said ‘when you were in Pre-K I chose black because I knew you would have more advantages and opportunities that way,'” Zinsou said.

In the 2008 election, Nebraska became the fourth state to approve a ban against affirmative action in public colleges admission decisions. Voters in Washington, California and Michigan have passed similar bans in previous elections to prohibit public colleges and universities from giving preference to students based on race or gender.

The ban didn’t affect diversity at Washington State University because race or gender was never a factor in admission decisions, said Wendy Peterson, director of admission at Washington State University.

TCU applicants are told on the application that information regarding their ethnicity is optional, and it will be used in a “non-discriminatory manner, consistent with applicable civil rights laws.”

The academic record bears the substantial weight in admission, said Michael Marshall, assistant director of admission.

Admissions offers diversity programs such as Black Senior Weekend and Fiesta de los Frogs to encourage a diverse student body.

It’s important to have diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, geographically and people with different religions when creating a global community, Marshall said.

In 2007, 15 percent of students enrolled at TCU were from a minority group, and 58 percent of the student population were women, according to the Office of Institutional Research at TCU.

In 1998, more than 50 percent of voters passed Initiative 200 to prohibit public institutions in Washington from using race and gender in admission decisions.

“We do a lot of diversity training to help students learn about cultures other than their own,” Peterson said. “Across the board, we could all learn from other cultures.”

Colorado would have become the fifth state to ban race as a consideration, but 51 percent of voters rejected the ban. Colorado is the first state to reject a ban regarding affirmative action.

Zinsou said she feels that affirmative action is still needed in society, but there’s a few people who use it as an excuse instead of working hard to do the best they can.

“I think there is a few people who ruin it for everybody,” Zinsou said.