Harvard is far from being as diverse as every college campus needs to be, but the Ivy League university has reached a historic milestone as they have admitted the largest number of Black students they ever had.
African-American students have been slamming the media perception of them as they continue to be accepted into and graduate from the nation’s top universities.
According to the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the 2018 graduating class at Harvard University will mark the largest group of African-American students to graduate from Harvard.
The journal estimates that 170 of the 2,023 graduating Harvard students that year will be Black. That would make up about 12 percent of the total graduating class population—about the same as the percentage of Blacks in the U.S. population.
The numbers certainly are not perfect and there is still a lack of diversity on the university’s campus, but the progress is making some observers hopeful about the future.
Black students such as Kwasi Enin, who was accepted into all eight Ivy Leagues, and Akintunde Ahmad, whose 5.0 GPA and 2100 SAT score earned him an Ivy League acceptance letter as well, are making headlines and proving that the stereotypes of young Black men are far from accurate.
In the midst of all the celebration, however, there is still a need to remember the cause and recognize that success has not been reached just yet.
“While we are tempted to jump up and down in excitement over the school’s decision to accept the fact that Blacks are just as bright as whites, we might need to take a moment of pause,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins of Syracuse University. “Even though the presence of Black students is very important to a campus, the reality is admitting students of color neither requires significant courage nor shows any real sign of meaningful progress when it comes to truly shaping the direction of a university.”
Watkins said that the key is to increase diversity in the faculty as well.
The students at Harvard would certainly agree as they recently launched a campaign that is not only aimed at drawing more Black students to the university, but also taking aim at the micro-aggressions they face from non-Black faculty.
The “I, Too, Am Harvard” campaign is gathering a lot of attention from across the nation and abroad.
Students kicked off the campaign with a theatrical performance that featured 40 unedited interviews from Black Harvard students about their experiences.
They got the rest of the student body involved last month when Black students held up signs displaying some of the harsh remarks they have been faced with.
“I wish we didn’t celebrate the MLK holiday,” one sign read, signed by an “ ‘inconvenienced’ professor.”
Other signs displayed comments like “You don’t sound Black. … You sound smart!” and “You’re lucky to be Black… so easy to get into college.”
Now the movement has spread to 16 other colleges and universities across three continents, and continues to foster campus awareness about these micro-aggressions.