Union sets Feb. 10 goal for minority retention proposal

The Student Union should present a proposal for improving Boston University’s minority retention rate to the Boston University Board of Trustees by Feb. 10, Union officials said last night.

Vice-President of Multicultural Affairs Deborah Greene described the proposal’s submission as a ‘call to action to the board of trustees.’

‘It is a proposal saying what we’ve found, what we think needs to be done, and asking them to look further into the issue,’ she said.

Union officials started the process yesterday by distributing a 20-question survey at BU’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration yesterday, and will continue to distribute surveys for the next two or three weeks, according to Union President Ethan Clay. Union officials will compile and analyze the surveys and produce the proposal in a little more than two weeks.

The survey, developed by the Multicultural Affairs Committee, targets the African-American student population but includes other minorities and is open to all BU students, according to committee chairwoman Lauren Rodwell.

‘The survey is mainly focusing on African-Americans,’ said Rodwell. ‘They are one of the least-represented minorities on campus and they are speaking out on campus about having a problem with that.’

Greene said the questions range from academic life to social life to financial aid issues in order to determine what brings students to BU, what keeps them here and what they would change.

Over the next three weeks, Union officials are planning to distribute the survey to at least half of the minority population at BU, according to Rodwell. Clay said he would be happy with at least 200 surveys returned.

Greene said that surveys will mainly be distributed at the meetings of the minority student organizations on campus. The survey is also available on the Union website and Union officials will distribute it on the street.

Once all the preliminary research has been obtained and analyzed, a proposal will be compiled and submitted to the Board of Trustees and the dean of students, according to Clay.

Both Rodwell and Greene said that minorities are being accepted to BU, they just fail to matriculate.

‘Right now BU’s administration doesn’t actively fund, participate in or plan any programs that target minority recruitment,’ Rodwell said.

She said that as a result of this survey, she is ‘hoping BU administration, including the Board of Trustees will actually take part in African-American recruitment at BU.’

Clay emphasized that the goals of the survey are not related to affirmative action but instead are geared toward ‘making BU a more welcoming place.’

‘This is just part of our ongoing effort to diversify and unify this campus and this is one of the major issues affecting that goal,’ he said.

Greene said she hopes the survey will ‘make sure that BU administration is actively doing something more than looking into the issue and talking to themselves around a table about the issue.’

Rodwell said she feels the proposal will finally provide some hard facts to encourage action within the BU administration.

‘The administration is slow to move unless you give them hard facts,’ Rodwell said.

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