Diversity Urged At UC Berkeley Engineering School

Ann McClure's picture

UC Berkeley is one of the world's great universities for engineering, scholarly rankings show. Yet its engineering department suffers when measured by a different standard: diversity.

Walk into any first-year engineering class at Berkeley, graduate or undergraduate, and you'll find nearly everyone, about 95 percent, is white or Asian American. And the scene is as male as a sports bar in football season: roughly three in four new engineering students are male.

Now, a number of black, brown and female graduate students are speaking out about what they say has been the administration's inattention to recruiting a diverse pool of future engineers. They are demanding that Cal live up to years of promises to admit more women and underrepresented minorities: African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans.

"We can no longer tolerate the inaction of (the) College of Engineering to systematically address this issue," eight student leaders wrote the program's Executive Committee in a sizzling critique of a largely stagnant or declining minority presence. They copied it to more than 200 scientists and university funders across the country.

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