Despite 10 Years of Super Sunday Outreach, Black Enrollments Drop at California State University

California-State-University-logoFor the past decade, presidents and other administrators at campuses of the California State University system have set aside one Sunday in February to visit local African American churches in communities near their universities. The “Super Sunday” events were designed to increase awareness of educational opportunities for Black students at CalState campuses.

The recruiting effort has been successful in raising awareness of California State University campuses in the Black community. The university system estimates that more than 600,000 students have received information at these Super Sunday events.

But over the course of the decade-long campaign, enrollments of African Americans at CalState campuses have actually decreased. In 2004, Blacks made up 5.8 percent of total enrollments at CalState’s campuses. In 2013, African Americans were 4.6 percent of total enrollments.

The demographics of the California population are changing with Blacks now a smaller percentage of the overall population. Also, the Great Recession of 2008-09 dampened the educational prospects of many minority students as state cutbacks reduced the number of overall places available for students at many campuses.

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  1. These so-called California State University presidents and other upper echelon administrators should be ashamed of their incremental outreach to the Black community. For the past ten years, these so-called professionals met for a pathetic ten times to merely “increase awareness of educational opportunities for Black students at CalState campuses”. Yet, the numbers for Black students still decreased for the CalState campuses. I wonder why? It appears to be an apparent disconnect.

    Let’s be honest for a moment, both the UC system and the CalState system has a long track record of not being “receptive to Blacks”. Particularly for those who aspire to be only students and not the modern day slaves playing football, basketball, or running track. For those who dissent, I would suggest that you to examine the plight of Black students at UCLA. Moving forward, from a cost benefit analysis standpoint, these administrators’ should see a drop in their salaries and fiscal awards for not producing a desired outcome (e.g., an increase in enrollment of Black students).

    It would be most interesting as to what type of substantive information did these so-called presidents and administrators’ provide for these aspiring Black students they couldn’t locate themselves. The fact remains, at the majority of these flagship athletic powerhouses, they will expend time, fiscal and material resources in hopes of recruiting the next “blue chip athlete” to their respective institution.

    Unfortunately, not even a fraction of similar resources are expended to not only recruit Black students, but, increase their retention rates similarly. When that distorted paradigm changes, then, maybe we’ll an increase in the number of Black students at these institutions.

  2. I am disappointed that only percentages are used in the story. The numbers would be clearer. The addition of state high school graduate numbers by race would provide additional detail and insight. Thank you for being on top of this issue.

  3. As a point of clarification for Journal readers, the decline reflected in African American enrollments in California State University (CSU) campuses is a function of the IPEDS federal ethnicity/racial reporting criteria (see federal register guidance at: Students today are reporting their ethnicity differently with many more students self-identifying as multi-race. When appropriate multi-race classifications are also considered, the CSU’s enrollment numbers are stable and in some cases, slightly up. In the future, we would be pleased to work with Journal editors to ensure the data is presented more comprehensively.

    As the article stated, the CSU has been a leader nationally in its efforts to ensure college preparation among African American students. Over the last 10 years, our outreach efforts through the Super Sunday education fairs have reached more than 100,000 African American families and youngsters through 113 African American church partners. Our Summer Algebra Institutes for African American middle and high school students have benefitted more than 600 students – all in an effort to ensure that as many students as possible have the skills needed to succeed in A-G math requirements. Both of these efforts are designed to educate and inform not recruit for the CSU. We see our mission as supporting the African American community in raising college attainment levels.

    The CSU remains committed to ensuring that as many interested and qualified students as possible have access to the high-quality degree programs at the CSU.

    Laurie Weidner, APR, M.A.
    Assistant Vice Chancellor, Public Affairs
    California State University, Office of the Chancellor

  4. Wow. It’s quite obvious my previous comments struck at the core of the California State University (CSU) system when the titular head of the propaganda unit (e.g., Public Affairs/Spokesman) respond.

    Point one: Your meager attempt to justify the abysmal numbers of African American students matriculating to the CSU system based upon how students are self-identifying (e.g., multi-ethnic/racial) is typical “How to use statistics to lie” paradigm. Let’s be minimally honest for a moment. America is predicated upon a White monocultural construct and for those who are not part of that coethinc are more inclined to be the recipient of disparate treatment. Thereby, it’s not surprising that numerous African American students (and others) are eager to self-identify as multiracial because of the current accoutrements that’s affiliated with such distinctions.

    Point two: You should be really embarrassed for even attempting to make it appears as if the CSU is doing an excellent job in its outreach efforts to the African American community. If the CSU system have reached out to approximately 100,000 families over the course of 10 years and still have a significantly low numbers of African American matriculants, they’re something inherently wrong with this picture. Point three: you have the Chutzpah to say “CSU remains committed to ensuring that as many interested and qualified students”. Talk about racial code language. This type of implicitly racist response is akin to admission counselors saying “ we avail opportunities for everyone, but, we just can’t enough African American students who are qualified”.

    Final point, the state California has the tendency to portray itself as so democratic, pluralistic along with being “so diverse”. However, once you peel the layers of the broad and ambiguous language as codified by CSU, the UC, along with its lawmakers (e.g., Democrats and Republicans), it functions similarly to the southern Confederate states. Let’s be clear, your so-called title or position does not afford you any more validity and only uncovers the hiring practices of the CSU. For example, how can anyone with only a MA degree and hold the position as an Assistant Vice Chancellor position. Talk about White privilege.

  5. I am a white male that helped mentor and guide a wonderful African American young man from California thru the extremely challenging college application process. This student has stellar grades (4.5), incredible rigor – especially in the math and science courses, scored within the top-150 black men in the country on the ACT, and scored a perfect 800 on the SAT level 2 math. His common app and supplemental essays were some of the best I have ever read in my life and his letters of recommendations from his teachers and employer were nothing short of spectacular. He had awesome extracurricular activities and his college applications represented one of the most competitive students I have ever seen.

    He was accepted into 6 of 8 Ivy’s, Stanford, many other elite universities – including many honors programs, and he was waitlisted at Princeton and Yale. The only shocker for me was that he was flat out rejected from UCLA and UC Berkeley and this is something that is hard for us to understand as his grades, rigor, and standardized test scores were way above the averages for those schools and clearly leaps and bounds over other African American students.

    I believe that California Prop 209 is 100% responsible for his rejection to the two flagship California public universities and their “color-blind” policy has resulted in a system that overlooks extremely well qualified African American students in favor of those much less qualified. Unfortunately, this student attended an upper middle class, predominantly white, high school in California and his class rank was in the top 40 out of 525 students and it seems to me that UCLA and UC Berkeley only took the top 5 or so kids from his school in terms of class rank. In my opinion, with 80,000+ applications, they did NOT even read the essay or look at the complete picture – sometimes referred to as holistic evaluation.

    Although this student will probably end up enrolling in Harvard or Stanford (he has not formally decided yet) it was his dream to attend UCLA. It is frustrating for him to see athletes (that the UC system seems to take credit for in terms of diversity numbers, but are held to a MUCH lower standard) given full scholarships and students with far less credentials that attended schools with high black percentages get accepted.

    I am confident that this student will continue having great academic success in the future, but I must ask – why is it that he was denied admission into UCLA and UC Berkeley, yet was accepted into most of the top 10 universities in the World and why did so many lower performing African American students get into UCLA and UC Berkeley when he could not?

    What is the point of admitting African American athletes when most will probably not graduate and what point is there in admitting so many underqualified students that won’t be able to compete against all the other students at these institutions when they flatly rejected a super qualified black male that could easily compete with the best of their students.

    The entire UC system wants to profit from black athletes and also likes to include lots of black faces in their brochures and websites, yet clearly the system is broken when they fail to admit a student like the one I describe above. Now, I do realize that if he attended an all black high school, he probably would have been admitted into UCLA and Berkeley, but why can’t the UC system modify their criteria to include outstanding black students that can compete with everyone else?

    The UC system has great diversity, on paper, but what they lack is qualified black students and this is a 100% fixable problem, yet they keep claiming that Prop 209 prevents them from doing anything about it, yet that is overlooked when it comes to athletes and the so-called outreach programs.

    I personally think it is time for African American professional athletes, Hollywood actors, musicians, and politicians to demand action and stop denying so many qualified black students an opportunity to obtain a UC degree. It is also time for the UC system to hold all student athletes to the same academic standards as they do for the rest of the population and stop creating manufactured photo-ops where they bring in some black faces for their brochures and web site pictures, but that will probably never happen.

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