Wedged between San Francisco to the north and Los Angeles to the south, California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), in San Luis Obispo, is a relatively small school — with a massive thirst for diversity.
Tucked within the pages of Cal Poly’s voluminous 30-page report on diversity action initiatives is a reference to the school’s blatant efforts to decrease the white student population.
The report, authored by the “office of university diversity and inclusion,” was first obtained by The College Fix, according to reporting by Campus Reform.
“Over recent years, numerous programs and initiatives have been implemented to improve diversity and create a campus community that more closely reflects the demographics of the state of California,” reads page two.
“In 2011, the campus was 63 percent Caucasian; in fall of 2017, it was less than 55 percent. Applications from underrepresented minority students doubled between 2008 and 2018, while overall applications during that time increased by just half that much. Progress is being made — and the university is more diverse now than at any time in its 117-year history — but there is still much work to do.”
The salient question is exactly how the school’s white population dropped so dramatically — 8 percentage points in six years — in so short a span of time.
“Cal Poly’s admissions applications do ask for incoming students’ information regarding race, because it is a federal requirement,” Matt Lazier, the school’s media-relations director, told LifeZette. “However, that information does not influence selection for admission to the university in any way.”
He could not account for the significant percentage decrease among white students since 2011.
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“Cal Poly does seek to have a student body that reflects the demographics of the state that it serves,” he added. “In order to help reach that goal, the university can and does work through admissions outreach to encourage students of color to apply. As well, the university has programs in place that offer scholarship opportunities to low-income students in California — many of whom also happen to be underrepresented minority students. However, to repeat, at no time in the admissions process is a student’s race or ethnicity considered.”
The “federal requirement” that Lazier refers to is Title IV of the Higher Education Act, but it’s unclear how that particular statute justifies Cal Poly’s diversity and inclusion policies.
The university also has cut a program that many colleges consider standard: Administrators “eliminated the early decision admissions option after discovering that the process disadvantaged low-income students because they would not know the full extent of their financial aid prior to making a commitment,” their report reveals.
“They’re not referring to the only form of diversity that should matter within in an academic context: diversity of ideas.”
Cal Poly and other universities focused on diversity and inclusion may be doing so at the risk of abandoning Caucasian students who have earned the opportunity to attend those schools through their academic efforts.
“Progressives should stop using the term ‘diversity,’ which simply means difference or variety,” Laurie Higgins, a cultural writer for the Illinois Family Institute (IFI), based in Tinley Park, Illinois, told Lifezette. “It’s an obvious rhetorical device to conceal that they’re really referring only to skin color, homosexuality and opposite-sex impersonation. They’re not referring to the only form of diversity that should matter within in an academic context: diversity of ideas.”
Higgins added, “Maybe during their ‘unconscious bias’ re-education workshops, they could expose the not-concealed bias against conservative ideas that transforms education into myopic indoctrination.”
With an undergraduate population of fewer than 21,000 students, it’s worth noting that Cal Poly is a public university funded by hard-earned taxpayer dollars — which is somewhat ironic, considering it seems to shun meritocracy, per its report.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.