Rice University (RU) administrators are being asked to establish a racially segregated non-residential Black House specifically made for Black students and Black organizations to congregate and hold events as a way to overcome “systemic oppression and inequity.” Only Black students would have access to this building.
The group has also demanded:
- the removal of a statue William Marsh Rice, which the university was named after because he was a slave owner.
- comprehensive decolonization of the curriculum with mandatory lessons for all students on systemic racial inequity that is built into our global and local society and how it affects Black people today.
- an increase in Black chefs, tenured professors, as well as other members of the Rice community. Representation plays a key role in increasing the well-being of Black students on campus.
- That RU cuts ties with Houston PD and decrease RUPD presence on campus
with the goal of complete abolition. i.e. defund the police.
- to allow black students to select their roommates based on race.
- Other demands are included in this link.
We were a bit surprised that these race activists couldn’t spell “Ku Klux Klan” properly (at the bottom of page 2).
The two most interesting statements were:
- This list is neither comprehensive nor does it speak for all Black students as a single, unified group…Neither did we collect names of Black students who gave suggestions, nor did we list the names of those we are aware of who “adamantly support” some of these items.
If they wish to make such demands, surely a plurality of black students would make a stronger case for those changes to be accommodated or at the very least considered (which RU is already doing). With little data to work with to gauge the extent of the problem, should RU blindly make investments based purely on identity which would undoubtedly come at the expense of some other areas which were benefitting the majority of students?
- “This list is not littered with quantitative data or studies of peer institutions. Rather, we decided to use this moment in history to give a social statement.“
Since the students freely admit that they haven’t done the homework, we decided to do it for them. Luckily for RU, they are well ahead of the pack and have grounds for congratulation, not censure.
First, College Factual (CF) notes that RU scores well above average for diversity in gender, ethnicity and geographic location. CF ranks RU a Top 5% university for diversity.
Second, the enrolled student population at Rice University is as follows. Whites are the largest cohort but not the majority:
Third, the faculty staff at Rice University is as follows:
In short, white faculty staff are the majority but lower than their population cohort. Compare this to around 80% in high schools in America.
According to the 2017 data, in terms of graduation rates at RU, black females complete their degrees (95.3% vs 88.9% in 2012) at a higher level than whites (94% vs 92.1% in 2012). Hispanic women have a graduation rate of 97% (vs 94.5% in 2012) and Asian women 98.9% (vs 97.9% in 2012). Native Americans had a 100% pass rate. No evidence of racial profiling by teachers.
For men in 2017, in terms of graduation rates at RU, black males complete their degrees (76.9% vs 84.2% in 2012) at a lower level than whites (89.8% vs 90.4% in 2012). Hispanic men have a graduation rate of 86.7% (vs 90.9% in 2012) and Asian men 91.8% (vs 95.7% in 2012). Why have men across all cohorts seen a lower level of pass rates?
There is little evidence that systemic racism is working against students of colour. If the students are triggered by the university’s history, removing a statue won’t change the fact that it was founded by a slave owner. No doubt these students picked RU for its curriculum and the opportunities that will flow from that, which clearly in their minds supersede its past to study there.
In summary, it is concerning to see more of this tribalism be pushed in society, especially when the evidence is so inconclusive. The biggest lesson these kids need to learn that merit, hard work and learning from history are far more important skillsets in the real world than lodging complaints that the equal treatment the institution appears to be showing is somehow discriminatory and that only special treatment will fix it.