Studies show that LHU isn’t as diverse as it claims to be in their admissions literature.
“The great thing about Lock Haven University is getting to know people who are different than you are – people of different races, different cultures and different beliefs. Understanding our differences helps make us better people and creates a better world to live in.”
According to LHU’s Institutional Research, in 2013, 86 percent of the student body was white, and only 9.6 percent were either African American or Hispanic. This is not shocking though. In the last 10 years, the minority population has only increased 5.6 percent.
To put this into perspective, in the last 12 years, the white student population has been steady – averaging about 4,500 per year – while their African American counterparts have increased from 135 in 2002 to 389 in 2013.
One might suggest that the increase of minorities on campus is a good thing, however students feel like this is not enough.
“I always feel out of place here. Most times, I am the only African American in my classes. In some social gen-ed classes where we talked about black culture, all of my classmates and even the professors would look to me to share my ‘black’ experiences. It gets really awkward,” Jasmine Johnson, a junior health science major, said.
Some students think the lack of diversity mirrors real world experiences.
“Being at Lock Haven I feel like I have a better understanding of the real world. Most businesses are predominantly white, therefore my being here is teaching me how to maneuver in a business where everyone looks different from me,” Olivia Williams, a senior business major, said.
Other students long for more diversity at Lock Haven University; they wish for more people of color.
“I wish there were more students here that look like me. I wish there were more Hispanics and Native Americans. I wish Lock Haven were more colorful. In a majority of my classes there are only three or four people of color,” Leslie Miller, a senior nursing major, said.
Minority students have an issue with the lack of diversity on campus. One problem could be that the retention rates for minority students are considerably low compared to their white peers.
For example, from 2012 to 2013 the retention rate for black students dropped from 124 to 106. When it comes to the four-year term only about 14 percent of graduates in 2009 were black or Hispanic compared to whites, which made up just over 32 percent of graduates.
Kenny Hall, director of multicultural affairs, explains the diversity rate and the retention rate.
“The Majority of the African American and Hispanic students that come to Lock Haven are recruited from inner cities like Philly. They already have three strikes against them: financial stability, social adjustments and academic setbacks.”
He said that minority students often come from low performing schools and they typically start off with lower SAT scores than their white counterparts. The lack of academic support coupled with the tremendous social adjustments and financial issues are the reason why the retention rate is so low.
It’s clear minority students are negatively affected by the lack of diversity. If Lock Haven wants to continue positive growth in the acceptance and retention of students than they are going to have to work harder on providing social and economic resources for minority students.