UC Riverside placed 24th among 30 best non-historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) for minority students in the United States, according to Dr. Matthew Lynch, the chair and associate professor of education at Langston University and author of the list. Published in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, the list factors in the percentage of enrolled minority students, freshman retention levels and graduation rates.

Among this list, UCR was recognized for the 29 percent of enrolled Hispanic students in the university. Lynch also compared the 65.4 percent graduation rate of Hispanic students versus the 60 percent graduation rate of white students. In an article written by Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post, UCR is recognized along with nine universities for the soaring graduation rates of both Hispanics and African Americans.

“In the 2010-2011 school year, three times as many minority students [across the country] received bachelor’s degrees compared to the 1990-1991 school year. Back then, minorities only represented 13 percent of bachelor degree earners; today, that number has jumped to nearly one-fourth of total degree recipients,” Lynch said.

Students, such as third-year sociology major Jade Young, were pleased with the recognition our campus has received for its varied demographics. “It is a great honor to be featured on this list amongst 29 other universities around the world. I am proud to be a student at this diverse campus.”

In an attempt to promote diversity on campus, UCR created the position of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Excellence and Equity (AVCDEE) to promote academic excellence and success. The position is currently held by Dr. Yolanda Moses. The office actively handles issues of discrimination, recruitment and retention assistance and diversity education training.

Although UCR is recognized for having a diverse student body, not all students are quick to praise this approbation. Fourth-year English major Khadija Bilal expressed her concern with this list, explaining, “Just because a certain number of minorities can earn degrees on a specific campus doesn’t necessarily make that campus or its climate ‘minority friendly.’ The reason why the attainment of degrees may be higher on certain campuses can be due to the fact that minorities have to work harder to prove their skill and worth.”

UCR ethnic studies professor Lorena Alvarado also challenged this list stating, “In celebrating racial diversity in higher education, we should expand the question: How are universities as a whole, at the academic and administrative level, addressing urgent issues that continually challenge campuses in regards to race and diversity?”

The list was compiled by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, a 29-year-old news magazine which covers diversity issues concerning higher education in the United States. Dr. Lynch’s research is centered around educational reform in urban areas.