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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

UF receives a grade of “F” for race equity

A noose left on campus. A white nationalist rallying. A man displaying a Swastika. All within a year. 

UF has been given an F ranking for racial representation by a University of Southern California Race and Equity Center study. The study was released Tuesday. It shows the university was one of eight in Florida that received the lowest grade in the racial representation category, which is measured by how black undergraduate student enrollment reflects the population of 18- to 24-year-old black Florida residents.

A look into the center’s data shows that only 6.1 percent of UF’s Student Body is black. This is the fourth-lowest percentage out of the 13 public Florida universities. 

Mackintosh Joachim, a 19-year-old UF finance and women’s studies sophomore, and the treasurer of UF’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter, was not surprised that UF failed in racial representation equity.

“They claim they care about diversity, they claim they care about inclusion,”  Joachim said. “However, none of it has happened.” 

Eight other Florida universities received F rankings. Only three schools were given a D rating, including Florida International University. Florida Atlantic University received the highest ranking in the state at a C, according to the report.

UF was also given a C for gender equity, a B for completion equity and a B for black student-to-faculty ratio. 

Joachim said he feels out of touch as the only black student in some of his classes. It’s difficult to go to class with a white female professor discussing the experiences of an African-American woman, he said.

“If UF hired more black faculty members, then students would most likely feel welcome at this university,” Joachim said.

UF practices a race-blind admissions process, which means race is not considered when selecting a student said Rick Bryant, the UF director of admissions operations. Reports like this don’t take into consideration students who don’t disclose their race or those who are multiracial, he said.

“We want the University of Florida to represent the best and the brightest who are in the state of Florida,” Bryant said.

UF has been working to improve its race equity by reaching out to students as young as eighth grade through recruitment and partnership programs, Bryant said. He also said UF was one of the founding members of Coalition, a universal college application service that promotes diversity in race and income in college applicants.

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But for Joachim, to improve the race representation equity rates, UF needs to listen to the black student body more. 

“This is a wake-up call to UF and President Fuchs to try to change things on campus,” Joachim said.

Contact Dana Cassidy at dcassidy@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @danacassidy_ 

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