Statistical correction reveals increase in 2004 minority enrollment

The University Diversity Committee mistakenly reported a decline in minority student enrollment for the 2004 academic year to the Academic Senate last November.

Paul Brinkman, associate vice president for budget and planning, said Monday in a monthly Academic Senate meeting that an incorrect decline was reported to the Senate three months ago.

“The low-light of this report was a decline in the number of minority students,” he said. “These figures actually went up.”

Brinkman said the mistake occurred when the U’s Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis incorrectly posted the number of 2,340 minority students on the OBIA Web site. The Diversity Committee saw this number and used it in its report.

Local media-including The Daily Utah Chronicle, the Deseret Morning News and The Salt Lake Tribune picked up on the committee report and gave publicity to an apparent decline in minority enrollment.

The actual number of students for the 2004 academic year was discovered to be 2,700-higher than the previous year’s 2,534. This number was found using National Center for Education Statistics guidelines rather than historic U methods.

“Historically the U kept immigrant, refugee and non-citizen students out of a enrollment analysis,” Brinkman said. “They were put into an unknown category.”

However, NCES guidelines call for the inclusion of those students who have applied for U.S. citizenship as of the Fall Semester. This number eventually made its way on to the OBIA Web site, replacing the older number.

Ed Trujillo, chairman of the Diversity Committee, saw this number and noted that it was different from the number used in the report.

This discovery led to an investigation which resulted in the OBIA deciding to report both data sets to the Diversity Committee and let it decide which number to use, Brinkman said.

The change in statistics will not change the committee’s functions or its recommendations, Trujillo said.

“The new number just changed a few of the conclusions,” he said. “When you look at the overall picture, this last year didn’t matter, but we were concerned that the enrollments were going down. We were afraid a trend would develop.”

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