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University of Houston Is Flourishing, But Black Enrollment Has Plummeted

By Victor Trammell

Big changes for the better are all around at the University of Houston. Currently, the high amount of money available for faculty research spending is at record-breaking levels.

Brand new campus facilities are under construction. Things are flying high in the school’s athletic department too. The Cougars football team is the top-ranked program of its class in the state of Texas right now. The driving motto behind the present growth at the University of Houston is plastered all over its banners: “Welcome to the Powerhouse.”

While infrastructural progress is skyrocketing, another aspect of culture at the University of Houston is declining: Black undergraduate enrollment. According to the Texas Tribune, the total number of black undergraduates attending the University of Houston has been significantly down over the last decade.

“From the 2009-10 school year to 2015-16, black undergraduate enrollment declined by 745 students to 3,644, according to university numbers,” wrote Matthew Watkins, a reporter for the Texas Tribune. Not only that, there has been an 18 percent rise in overall enrollment at the same time as a 17 percent drop for black students.

A state lawmaker also shared their concerns about the decrease in black attendance at the University of Houston.

“Students shouldn’t be shut out of the university that is right here in their backyard,” said state Rep. Borris Miles, D-Houston. “For it to be a real international university like we have to be, everyone has to be involved,” Miles continued. Officials at the University of Houston claim to be clueless over the reason for the drop in black enrollment there.

“We weren’t really paying close attention to the data, as close as we are now,” said Paula Myrick Short, provost at the University of Houston. “Admissions was kind of just who knocked on the door,” she continued.

Over the recent years, the University of Houston hired an administrator who was given the task of attracting more women and minority business owners to the school’s multi-cultural campus initiatives. Short also talked about utilizing more pro-diversity tools the University of Houston used in the past prior to current decade.

“We are doing the kinds of things that were not being done in 2008 and 2009 and even 2011 and we are already seeing results,” Short also said.

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