CUNY's newest minority distinction
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 17:06
It is no secret that Baruch is one of the most ethnically diverse institutions in the nation, but a committee tasked by Chancellor Goldstein with highlighting this diversity chose to add religion to the mix, leading to severe backlash within the community. While there have been several new additions, the one that seems to have caused the most uproar is the White/Jewish category.
The new distinction came about after the results of a study conducted by the Asian Research Institute led to the inclusion of several new minority choices on application forms. An unknown number of Jewish faculty members felt that their religion should be included, despite the aim of the initiative being to increase diversity, according to Michael Arena, CUNY’s University Director for Communications and Marketing.
“Focus groups were organized with faculty volunteers serving as participants for a variety of diverse groups. Arena said, “The focus group of Jewish faculty came explicitly at the request of Jewish faculty.”
Chancellor Matthew Goldstein tasked an Ad Hoc Committee directed by the Asian Research Institute to find a way to further specialize and note the mass diversity found within the CUNY system. The name of the project is the “Diversity Action Program” and its goal is to further identify the identity of the CUNY faculty.
Joyce Moy, who is the director of CUNY’s Asian Research Institute, led this study with an aim to further bolster the minority hiring rates at CUNY. The program was created to enhance the City University’s position as a national leader in diverse hirings. The results of the study were supposed to encourage a “system-wide climate of inclusiveness and establish innovative programs to support faculty,” the mission statement of the program dictates.
The initiative resulted in the creation of many new ethnic, gender and lifestyle choices on the application form, some of which have caused a stirring of contempt for the project..
CUNY undertook a comprehensive review of its ongoing efforts to enhance its leadership role in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse faculty,” Arena said.
Some of the groups included are African/American/Black, Asian, White/Jewish, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender, Italian/American, Hispanic/Latino and individuals with disabilities.
The new distinctions were generated from the efforts of faculty focus groups, which were comprised of current CUNY faculty. According to information from the Diversity Action Program, the study that has led to the new distinctions, minorities at Baruch have been on the rise over the past 20 years. The focus groups were comprised of Black, Hispanic, Puerto Ricans, Asian and Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Whites and Italian Americans.
Overall, minority faculty groups in CUNY have risen over the past two decades. In 1990, 21 percent of the staff represented all minority categories. Now, 20 years later, minorities represent 32.3 percent of the faculty hired by CUNY.
Of these groups, the Asian category has increased the most over the 20 year span, showing percentages of 4.2 back in 1990 and 10.6 in 2010. Trailing behind them is the Hispanic with Puerto Ricans included. the two ethnicities coupled together represented 5.1 percent of CUNY faculty back in 1990, but in 2010, the staff members from these backgrounds has increased to 8.8 percent. An interesting note is that the American Indian population within CUNY faculty has increased over the two decades. in 1990, there were no American Indians employed within the CUNY system. by 2000, that figure bumped up to .2 percent and has remained the same since.
While minorities saw a rise in employment figures over this period of time, faculty who listed themselves as White have been on a decline. in 1990, the category held a large chunk of the population, a whopping 73.6 percent. Now in 2012, Whites still hold about two thirds of the pie, averaging out to about 61.8 percent of faculty at CUNY.
Since 1990, the percentage of male and female employees has almost leveled out, 52.2 percent for males and 47.5 percent in females in 2010, but minorities have also jumped over the 20 year period.
The study also accounted for student numbers as well. Over the two decades, Hispanic students saw a rise in numbers, jumping from 20.1 to 27.1 percent. Asian students enrolled in CUNY also increased from 10.6 back in 1990, to 17.1 percent. The two larger ethnicities amongst students, blacks and whites, saw a decrease in population over the course of the twenty years measured. 39.3 percent of students in 1990 were white and 29.8 percent were black. Now whites account for 30.1 percent of the population and blacks have dipped to 25.4 percent.
Among all the information in the 153-page document, there were no figures to be found on the number of Jewish students or faculty.