University Of Wisconsin-Madison Faculty, Students Fight Admissions Discrimination Charge

Ann McClure's picture

UW-Madison waged an all-day offensive Tuesday against a charge that it engages in discriminatory admissions practices — as students and staff rallied on Bascom Hill, hijacked a press conference and disputed the findings of the admissions allegation.

Interim Chancellor David Ward, staff and students defended the campus against what officials called an "attack" on its diversity efforts by the Virginia-based Center for Equal Opportunity. The conservative think tank alleged in a report unveiled Tuesday that UW-Madison discriminates against whites and Asians by admitting less qualified black and Latino students.

"I took it as a slap in the face and an insult, almost presuming that none of us worked hard and just got here because of the color of our skin," Mia McKinney, a UW-Madison senior from Racine and a member of PEOPLE, a program to encourage minorities to apply to the school, said of the study. "I think that's a huge presumption and assumption."

The subject is a sensitive one at UW-Madison, which has tried hard to increase the numbers of minorities in recent years. The school suffered an embarrassing scandal in 2000 when an official superimposed a black student on the photograph of a white crowd on the cover of an admissions catalog.

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