Southern Maine Looks to Increase Minority NumbersJanuary 21, 1999 |
Southern Maine Looks to Increase Minority Numbers
PORTLAND, Maine — The University of Southern Maine (USM) is seeking to become more diverse by increasing the number of minority students and employees over the next five years.
While the Portland area’s minority population is growing, the university remains almost totally White.
The student body should resemble the local population and “if that isn’t happening, then we need to ask ourselves why,” says Sue Ellen Bordwell, executive director of USM’s office of campus pluralism and equal opportunity.
The university has roughly 330 minority students, representing about 3 percent of the student population. Of these, 106 are Asian, 60 are Black, 66 are Latino, and 114 are Native American. The university has 35 minority employees.
By contrast, minorities made up 6 percent of the student body in the Portland public schools in 1990. Now, minorities represent 14.3 percent of the student population.
USM is considering several steps to increase diversity and make its campuses in Portland and Gorham friendlier places for minority students. The measures include: creating a multicultural center where minority students could gather socially and hold programs to educate people about different cultures; increasing efforts to recruit minority students and employees; and educating faculty, staff, and students about racism and harassment.
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