“Socioeconomic Diversity”

The new president of William and Mary, Gene Nichol, has made an early policy pronouncement to the editors of the Newport News Daily Press. Nicol told the paper he will encourage “socioeconomic diversity,” defined as increasing the number of students from low and moderate income families receiving Pell grants. Right now, 8% of William and Mary undergraduates meet that criteria.

“In terms of racial and economic diversity, we have more work to do,” Nichol said. “We are educating the privileged.” The article did not give the racial breakdown of current Pell recipients at the college, so it’s hard to tell if Nichol expects racial diversity to be expanded as a by-product of socioeconomic diversity, or if some separate program will be used to increase racial diversity.

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    It won’t be long before we look back with longing on the days of Tim Sullivan, who at least didn’t allow his lefty politics to mess with the success of the institution. Sullivan just wanted money, this guy is going to turn out to be a True Believer.

  2. Stuart Horner Avatar
    Stuart Horner


    So you’re saying we should only educate the privileged?

    IMO it’s a worthy goal to seek out people who have the intelligence but not the means to go to college. I can’t imagine someone wishing to deny people an education, just because they’re poor.

  3. Terry M. Avatar

    Well, you might need to take a look at the goals of the higher education restructuring act passed last session. Nichol’s announcement not only reflects CWM’s intent to comply with goals 1 and 2, it also reflects the reality that they have a sense of how they will be measured in order to qualify for the “immediate financial benefits” under the restructuring act beginning June 1,07.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Actually, I had forgotten that some of this was coming from the new legislation. Gee, whatever happened to merit as an admission requirement? Race, gender, and now economic status? I’m sure I’ll get pounded again, but there already are grants available and work study programs and there is no reason that price should preclude a qualified student seeking a William and Mary degree. How do you run an affirmative action program for po’ folk? Shall we pad them some points on the SAT? Have the Northern Virginians figured out yet that this is one more way to reduce their numbers in these schools, since they are rich by comparison? Where are the real Republicans? (Oh, and on the Callahan post, didn’t you know that poltical hacks have the morals and manners of four year olds?)

  5. Terry M. Avatar

    There is insufficient aid for many poor students to attend college, especially at today’s rates. Students will still have to qualify under CWM’s admission criteria and that will adress some of your concerns.

    However, this really is big news. Up until two weeks ago, CWM was refusing to increase in-state undergraduate enrollment at all…regardless of need or lack of need. Not only did they submit revised (upward) enrollment projections to SCHEV, now they are going broaden the base of their admissions pool. This is a fundamental shift that will in deed promote greater access to one of VA’s elite institutions.

    Recall that in SCHEV’s southside reprot, there was discussion that in some region of the state, the average four-year tuition and mandatory fees total represents up to one-third of the median family pre-tax income. Family income, not per capita. CWM’s tuition and fees are well above the average for the state’s publics.

  6. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    The Liberal Holy Trinity is Race, Class and Gender(s). Making these marks of faux diversity the defining criteria for a student body is like a holy sacrement for Liberals.

    An alternative is to do a totally race, need, gender, you-name-it blind admissions process and pick the best and brightest students. Then find the money to help the poor kids. Wm and Mary is up to finding the cash for the needy in their endowments, assistance with loans, etc.

    Diversity of individual thinking is far more important than race, class and gender. Especially, if colleges and universities are serious about expanding the universe of thinking for students to learn and consider.

    When I retire from my day job, I’ll see if William and Mary wants me back (adjunct faculty once)and check out other schools. Or, will they be looking for an economically disadvantaged (poor) professor or some other measure of Liberal diversity?

  7. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Note to bloggers: I have deleted all references to the Vince Callahan “obituary.” It was a mistake, and keeping the comments on the blog would create unnecessary confusion.

  8. Anonymous Avatar

    Me again. You are darn tootin’ its an elite institution, and I want to remain proud of my degree from there! Forget it, Bowden, even I’m too right wing for them.

  9. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Anonymous. I taught an upper level course of my own design at Wm and Mary before. Are you saying their standards have declined so much since then, that I can’t go back? LOL.

  10. Anonymous Avatar

    W&M is a nerve-wracking place and they need diversity in the form of hotter co-eds. Never have I seen such a homely bunch as was in edition after edition of W&M’s yearbook.

  11. Anonymous Avatar

    As a W&M student going into his junior year, I must agree with the previous Anonymous – we could indeed do with a bit more diversity, including in terms of “hotter co-eds.” I undergo culture shock every time arrive back at Williamsburg from home (Alexandria), and it’s just…well…silly; I seem to forgot that there is a world outside of WASPery. And I’m a gay Jew.
    That’s not to say underqualified or unprepared students should be admitted…but “diversity” should certainly be a factor in considering admission.

  12. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Gene Nichol is a product of that great southern liberalism that is UNC-Chapel Hill, and the still considerable reach of it’s defining president, Frank Porter Graham, who, among other things, chaired the Roosevelt commission that lead to passage of the Social Security Act, was appointed by the governor to fill an unexpired U. S. Senate term in 1948, and lost the 1950 Democratic primary (there being no Republican presence in North Carolina in 1950) in the dirtiest, race-baitingest, campaign in U. S. political history–a campaign managed for Graham’s opposition by a wall-eyed Raleigh sports writer, a kid, named Jesse Helms. You see, wet pups, this struggle for hearts and minds we’re in predates us in a way that is long and continuous. And just so you know, Time magazine’s assessment of Graham was simple and straightforward: the “ablest” state university president in America. Maybe this acorn has taken root close to this oak. Nichol has already lost a U. S. Senate bid in Colorado–at least that is my recollection. Either way, I know the enlightened tradition that produced him and I can tell you–having never met the man–that he will hold his own.

  13. Anonymous Avatar

    You know things have gone too far when a self-described “gay Jew” complains of a lack of diversity. There is an assertion that disproves itself. As to the female students, sadly it was true in the 70s and I’m sorry to see that the complaints continue. As I recall the guys were not exactly off the pages of GQ, either, and thanks to streaking there were few secrets come springtime. Admit the best, stop raising tutions, raise lots of money for scholarships, and forget the politically correct claptrap. There is no more wasteful areas of government than higher education, with its incredible adminstative bureaucracies — there is your culprit on cost.

  14. Bowden:

    If they admited students blindly without regard for “class”, they’d have a 95% rich white class.

    Is that the outcome that you secretly prefer?

  15. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Paul, I have no secret desires in education. Once upon a time Gov Reagan was told that merit-based admissions in the Univ of CA system might result in an Asian majority at the top schools. His response was, “So?” I share Reagan’s open mindness.

    Ask the basic question: What is the selection criteria for the top public schools in the Commonwealth? Is the selection based on scholarship achievements and their potential for greater learning – the bestand the brightest in educational merit or some social engineering?

    Is educational excellence more important than political correctness? I think so.

    Especially, when the diversity of Liberals is the utter rot of their trinity of race, class and gender. Those divisions make for good politics for demagogues, but are exceptionally bad in establishing quotas for scholarship.

    Diversity of thought is more significant in education than the diversity of race, class, gender(s) but Liberals are loath to open that door for quotas based on different thinking.

    We ought to go with educational excellence and see what sorts out. Find the money for the poor geniuses.

    If there are any questions about what is fair, right and just – put my idea and Liberal’s diversity up to a vote to the Good People of the Commonwealth – we win.

  16. Terry M. Avatar

    All okay with me, Mr Bowden…as long as the high standards apply to all students…especially athletes.

    It is a dirty little truth that even those few public institutions that set minimum score criteria for admission make many exceptions for students with other than academic merit.

    So, as long as colleges and universities remain intellectually dishonest on this topic, let’s not rage too awful much for elitism.

  17. GOPHokie Avatar

    Terry, thats still entrance based on ability (even if its not scholastic). Theres a difference between allowing someone in for their abilities and those who are admitted for their “minority status”.
    Personally I think colleges and universities should have their own list of things they want to do and their own admittance process. The only thing I am opposed is tying their public funding to diversity percentage criteria.

  18. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Terry M. No argument from me. I believe in truth in advertising, lending, electioneering, you name it. The Colleges and Universities can be all about educational excellence or whatever – but call it what it is – and don’t pretend that ‘diversity’ as presently defined is anything other than very pretentious politics.

  19. Terry M. Avatar

    But GOPHokie, I was responding to the comments above that were specific to “admissions process and pick the best and brightest students.”

    The Code of Va provides boards of visitors sole authority in admissions decisions – that includes standards, characteristics, and numbers of students.

    They have the freedom now to admit students based on any criteria they wish to set, safe those that are unlawfully discriminatory.

  20. GOPHokie Avatar

    Terry M: Best and brighest students. Alot of atheletes are the “best and brightest” stars in their game. They are also students. I know where you are coming from though.

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