After the recent surge in enrollment of minority students, TU’s student population is expected to become majority-minority

By: Caitlyn Freeman, Editor-in-Chief

Towson University is set to become a minority-majority campus after several years where nearly half of its incoming classes identify as a racial or ethnic minority, the school announced Monday.

About 57% of TU’s incoming class identify as a racial or ethnic minority, according to university data. Based on the rise in minority student enrollment over the past two years, TU spokesman Matt Palmer said the four-year trend shows the possibility that TU is a majority minority institution. .

He said the final number of students enrolled for the fall semester is still under review.

About 50.8% of TU undergraduates identified as a racial or ethnic minority in fiscal year 2021 and 47.8% in fiscal year 2020, according to data from the University System of Maryland. In comparison, the 2017 fiscal year saw 39.5% minority undergraduate students.

Senior Kamryn Brown said she felt joy hearing about the possibility of TU becoming a majority minority school. Brown, president of Bettering Black Minds, an on-campus group focused on destigmatizing black mental health, said it shouldn’t be necessary to attend a historically black college or university to have a majority minority student body. .

“Historically, black and brown people have been underrepresented in higher education,” Brown said. “And to see Towson specifically become a majority-minority campus, that’s very progressive.”

The number of white undergraduate students has steadily declined since 2017. In that year, 56.5% of undergraduate enrollment was white, down from 46.9% in 2021.

Chart: University System of Maryland

The university said the data matches the state’s trends of a growing minority population. US Census data showed that in 2020, 47%, less than half, of Maryland residents identified as non-Hispanic white, The Baltimore Sun reported.

Eighty-nine percent of freshmen are residents of Maryland, the university said. In total, the fall semester will see 2,678 freshmen, 1,532 transfer students, and 731 graduate students.

“Preparing students to work in a global society is critical to the future of the world,” said Patricia Bradley, vice president of TU’s Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity, in a statement. “Just as the demographics of the world have changed, so has the demographics of Towson University.”

Echoing Bradley, Jordan Colquitt, president of the Student Government Association, said the rise in minority enrollment is representative of the work the university is doing to support a diverse student body.

“Through our many programs, departments and initiatives, I think it’s great that more diverse students are flocking to our college community,” Colquitt said.

Compared to TU, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County saw 59% of undergraduate students identify as a racial or ethnic minority in fiscal year 2021. That same year, the University of Maryland, College Park saw 47% of minority undergraduate students.

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Despite the growing number of minority students, TU faculty and staff are less diverse. In fiscal year 2021, 66.9% of faculty and 70.8% of staff identified as white. By comparison, in fiscal year 2017, 74.4% of faculty and 73.5% of staff identified as white.

The OIIE has made recruitment and retention one of its action points in its strategic planA More Inclusive Union: Promoting Equity and Diversity, The tower of light reported. The office intends to review TU’s current programs and infrastructure to assess its effectiveness in fostering an inclusive environment for students and staff.

They hope to increase the number of minority staff and faculty at TU by 2025.

In a statement, Iona Johnson, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion, said the university is working to increase diversity among its faculty and staff. Accordingly, TU requires training for all faculty search committees to reduce potential bias in the hiring process.

“We have specific guidelines for recruitment to ensure there is broad outreach to ensure a diverse candidate pool, including outreach and building relationships with graduate programs at institutions across the country. minority service…to reach out to potential applicants,” Johnson said.

Additionally, to help with faculty retention, Johnson said TU will implement a new faculty mentorship program.

“We know that mentorship is important for all faculty and will be especially beneficial for faculty who are new to our campus and/or from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups,” Johnson said.

TU first integrated in 1955 after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which ruled separate schools unconstitutional, according to the Unearthing Towson History Project.

The university saw its first black graduates in 1959 with Marvis E. Barnes and Myra A. Harris. The women were honored by TU in June with the renaming of two apartment buildings in their honor.

Previously, West Village 1, built in 2008, was called William Paca House, and West Village 2, built in 2015, was called Charles Carroll Hall. Carroll and Paca were both slave owners.
West Village 1 will become Harris Hall, and West Village 2, Barnes Hall. The buildings will have an official ribbon-cutting ceremony during the fall semester of 2022.