University of Maryland draws controversy for separating Asian students from ‘students of color’

University of Maryland

The University of Maryland drew backlash over its enrollment and admissions graphic that separated Asian students from “Students of Color” and put them in the same section as white students.

What happened: The graphic was shown during a presentation by Daryll Pines, the university’s president, for the university senate “State of the Campus” report on Nov. 10, according to Fox News.

  • The graphic gave statistical data on freshmen admission and enrollment between the fall of 2017 and 2021. The lower part of the illustration showed the separation of students into two groups titled “Students of Color, minus Asian” and “White or Asian students.”
  • [The university uses] us when they want to be diverse, and then not [use us in data] when they don’t want to,” President of the South Asian Student Association Anish Kakarla said via The Diamondback. Kakarla also pointed out that the wording of the graphic, which “made it to a University Senate meeting without anyone changing it,” is evidence that “people are not aware of those issues just yet, and there’s still more work to do.”
  • Amanda Vu, the co-vice president of external affairs of the Asian American Student Union, said the graphic reinforced the idea that Asian Americans  are “in close proximity to whiteness.” It just puts us in a box where … forms of structure can just be like, ‘Hey, they’re doing well and they’re close to white people,’” Vu said.

The aftermath: The university explained in a statement that the graphic “was intended to show student populations that have historically represented 11% or less of our campus community.”

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  • During his annual State of the Campus address, President Pines shared information about the demographics of the freshman class, including information about the diversity of the class,” the statement reads, adding clarification that “Asian students are students of color.”
  • Sociologist and demographer Philip N. Cohen also echoed the same sentiment released in a tweet last week. “Whites and Asians are the two groups that are not considered ‘underrepresented,’” he said. “Last year Asian students were 23% of the freshman class.”

Featured Image via carmichaellibrary (CC BY 2.0)

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