UT continues to finalize student demographics data

Matthew Adams

Following the 12th class day, data shows little changes amongst the percentages of minorities and ethnicities on campus.

Joey Williams, communications coordinator for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, said this information is preliminary and will be finalized by the end of the month. The Office of Institutional Reporting, Research, and  Information Systems at UT is completing the data that will be published in the annual statistical handbook and on their website.

Despite growth of Hispanic and African-American students from this year’s freshman class, the overall count has not shown much growth. From the information the University has currently gathered, the total percentage of Hispanics increased to 19.5 percent and African-Americans increased to 3.9 percent.

This percentage only comes out to a total increase of 114 Hispanics and 34 African-Americans from last year’s numbers.
The new data shows 45.1 percent of the student body is white. This is about a two percent decline from the year 2014 and a loss of 1,075 students.

Gregory Vincent, vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE) at the University, said

improving diversity is still an important goal for UT President Gregory Fenves.

As part of this improvement, Vincent said continuing the University’s goal of diversity, UT must continue to prevent minority students from feeling isolated.

“What we have shared is that while there has been progress made, there is still work to be done because there are students of color who still feel isolated, and UT can be a chilly place,” Vincent said. “In the permissible use of diversity, race and admissions is that you want to look to get a critical mass where students don’t have to feel like they represent their entire group.”

David McDonald, an African and African diaspora studies senior and previous president of the Black Student Alliance, said he has worked with many student groups and appreciates what the DDCE has done to put on events and programs for students to feel included at the university.

Despite the increase, McDonald said he has not noticed more African-American students on campus because their demographic has always been around four percent or lower at UT.

McDonald said the increases in student diversity are only marginal to students of color.

“It may be an increase numerically, but it makes absolutely no difference to the experience of being black at the University,” McDonald said. “I feel the same as I’ve felt when I first stepped on campus, and that is that UT is not as diverse as it claims to be.”

While the data will see some small changes by the time the center publishes the information in the statistical handbook, Williams said anyone interested in the information can ask for it and people can see the data so far.  

“[The office] makes sure the university is reporting everything we are supposed to,” Williams said.