Georgetown’s annual Official Enrollment Statistics report, released to University officials at the end of September, found that racial and ethnic minorities are shockingly underrepresented in the University’s graduate programs, particularly at the Law Center and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
According to the report, diversity at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is almost nonexistent: the school accepted over nine times more Caucasian people than people from any other racial or ethnic group. The program currently includes 1,305 White students. The next largest group by race is Asian Americans at 140 students.
In the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, less than three percent of students identify as black and less than nine percent identify as Hispanic. At the Law Center, only about fifteen percent of students identify as non-white. The Medical school also shows little racial diversity: less than seven percent of students identify as Black and less than five percent identify as Hispanic.
Racial diversity in Georgetown’s graduate programs is almost three times lower than in its undergraduate schools. In the the undergraduate class of 2017, eight percent of admitted students were African-American, while 11 percent were Hispanic, 13 percent were Asian-American, and six percent were biracial.
The underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in the University’s graduate schools is a widespread and pervasive problem that impacts universities across the nation. According to two studies presented at a conference for the Association for the Study of Higher Education in 2010, Hispanic people make up six percent of the nation’s graduate students and Black people account for 11 percent. In science and engineering the under- representation is even more exaggerated: both Hispanic and Blacks make up about four percent of graduate students in those fields.
This paucity of non-white students across the board suggests that racial and ethnic minorities are underrepresented in applicant pools as well as in graduate programs. While this does not point to discriminatory admissions practices, universities still bear responsibility to create diverse student bodies and must work to expand existing affirmative action initiatives and implement new pipeline programs to bridge this gap between non-minority and minority students.
Rather than submitting to this status quo of inequality, Georgetown, which, according to the University’s website, has dedicated itself to educate “the whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures and beliefs,” should lead the charge for fair representation of minorities in its graduate programs.