Fudging The Numbers

It’s no secret that diversity (or lack thereof) at University of Michigan has always been taboo. While the University boosters its inclusivity with statements like “Michigan Students come from all 50 states and 122 countries. Our students are a mosaic of races, cultures, languages, religions, and points of view. The result is a setting where students can continually learn and grow through interactions with each other, and prepare for a future in the global economy.” the data supporting such claims can beg to differ.

After a brief but informative trip to the University’s “Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion” page the reality of the UM’s supposed inclusivity was debunked. First i’d like to note that the infographic used below the statement mentioned above is deceptively scaled to make the minority student population seem to be a larger portion of the pie, while in reality they aren’t (UMICH 21). In fact after reviewing the University's self reported racial/ethnic statistics on another window I found that between the Fall of 2019 and Fall 2020 black students made up less than 1% of each school of thoughts total enrollment. Additionally the graphic used to report total undergraduate enrollment is stated to be a 50/50 split between Men and Women. Although In small print the numbers are listed as 14,551 Men and 14,432 Women (not exactly 50/50). To boot the images displayed have no collection period beyond the enrollment graphic which appears to have not been updated since the 2016–2017 academic year (UMich Link #2). Conversely Eastern Michigan University which has the highest minority student enrollment population in the State, gave the academic year in which the statistics were reported and a clean categorized breakdown.

Moreover, reporters can protect themselves from pitfalls like this by simply looking a bit deeper. In a field that is always hard pressed for time, attention to detail proves just as crucial. More often than not reporting errors can be solved by simply slowing down and giving things a second glance. The “on deadline” working condition may not always be optimum for accuracy but it is our responsibility as journalists to deliver the most concise, and effective message as possible. Don’t be afraid to be wrong or to seek out alternative resources in pursuit of the best most accurate article.

Resources:

“True Facts.” True Facts — Facts, www.emich.edu/facts/index.php. 5 Feb. 2021,

“Ethnicity Reports.” Ethnicity Reports | Office of the Registrar, ro.umich.edu/reports/ethnicity. 5 Feb. 2021,

Kozlowski, Kim. “Study: Michigan among Worst in Black University Enrollment.” The Detroit News, The Detroit News, 2 Apr. 2019, www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/04/02/michigan-universities-black-enrollment/3290299002/.

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