UNLV’s black student population under Nevada demographics

Updated October 1, 2018 - 1:00 am

A few weeks after U.S. News and World Report ranked UNLV as one of the most diverse college campuses in the country, another report gave the university average marks for black student access and equity.

Shaun Harper, who co-authored the University of Southern California report, doesn’t dispute UNLV’s place at the top of the recent ethnic diversity ranking but said the designation masks an under-representation of black students.

“Sure, you’re probably one of the most diverse in the world,” said Harper, a professor and executive director of the USC Race and Equity Center. “That’s great … but just not when it comes to black students. Actually you under-enroll them relative to their representation in the population in Nevada.”

In the U.S. News and World Report ranking, UNLV was noted especially for its makeup of Hispanic students at 29 percent. This is the second consecutive year that the university has appeared at the top of the list.

But the USC report highlights that the university’s young black student population — 7.6 percent — does not match up with state demographics. In Nevada, the figure was 10.6 percent in 2016. Harper, and Isaiah Simmons, the report’s other author, gave UNLV a grade of C on this and three other measures. Nevada State College also received a C on enrollment equity, while the University of Nevada, Reno earned a D.

The USC researchers also examined black graduation rates.

“Across the system we have to do a better job on outcomes overall and for our minority students,” said Thom Reilly, chancellor of the Nevada System of Higher Education, adding that the report is reflective of the new strategic goals established by the state Board of Regents this year.

On Jan. 17, the board plans to hold a one-day student success summit, with an agenda that will be focused on boosting graduation rates and closing the achievement gap between white and minority students.

Reilly said part of the workshop will focus on examining best practices not only within Nevada, but beyond, with plans to bring in educators from the aspirational colleges and universities that NSHE schools have identified.

It’s similar to one of the broader goals that Harper envisions with the release of the report.

“I think it allows those institutions to figure out where to target those interventions, where to target their efforts for improvement,” he said. “I think it also creates a learning opportunity, particularly within state systems of higher education. We talk about how awesome it would be if a state chancellor’s office would bring together all of the schools in a public university system, pick out the ones that have an A, and have them teach everyone else in the system how they have been able to achieve such extraordinary results on that indicator.”

Barbee Oakes, chief diversity officer for UNLV, said parsing data in this way gives universities a starting point to ensure that the strategies being implemented on campuses are targeted to specific student populations.

“There’s not a one-size-fits-all mentality,” Oakes said. “What are the needs that are common across all of our students, and where are some of those specific niches that we need to do more work?”

An early-alert system that identifies UNLV students who are missing classes or are under-performing at the midpoint of a semester, is one new strategy that UNLV officials recently implemented.

Harper and Simmons also examined the enrollment gap between black men and women, and the black student-to-black-faculty ratio on college campuses.

They graded schools on an A-F scale, and then assigned schools an overall equity index score, computing it the way a grade-point average is determined.

Nevada as a whole came away with a middle-of-the-road equity score of 2.0, while four neighboring states — Arizona, California, Idaho and Utah — made the list of the highest performing states. Even so, 200 colleges and universities earned scores below 2.0 — including NSC with an overall score of 1.75. No campus earned above a 3.5.

Edith Fernandez, associate vice president for community engagement and diversity initiatives at NSC, said the small college in Henderson has been intentional about trying to create more pathways for African-American students, and held focus groups last November around this idea.

Transportation issues rose to the top.

“We suspected that,” she said. “Nevada State is a good 20 miles away from the west side or the north side of the valley. To hear it from the students was very important to helping us understand the challenge.”

Fernandez said investing resources into African-American outreach should be embedded into the college’s strategic plan as overall enrollment numbers continue to grow.

The college has experienced a 15 percent increase in student enrollment from last fall.

“Now that we are growing, how do we align our resources to reflect that this is a priority for us?” she said, adding that two summer retreats targeted toward young men of color have been growing over the past couple years.

Meanwhile, all three of Nevada’s public four-year institutions failed to achieve an A on any of the four measures. NSC earned one B on the completion measure, but conversely, an F on their efforts to enroll black men at close to or equal rates of black women. And UNR received two B’s — one for its black student-to-black faculty ratio of 27 to 1.

“The point that we make here is that these institutions are failing black students — too many of them across the country,” Harper said.

Contact Natalie Bruzda at nbruzda@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3897. Follow @NatalieBruzda on Twitter.

Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss React to Dennis Hof's Death
Ron Jeremy and Heidi Fleiss speak about their friend and prominent brothel owner Dennis Hof's death at Dennis Hof's Love Ranch. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof has died
Nevada brothel owner and Republican candidate for Nevada State Assembly District 36, Dennis Hof has died. He was 72. Nye County Sherriff's office confirmed. Hof owned Love Ranch brothel, located in Crystal, Nevada.
Las Vegas police investigate suspicious package at shopping center
Las Vegas police evacuated a southeast valley shopping center at Flamingo and Sandhill roads early Tuesday morning while they investigated reports of a suspicious package. (Max Michor/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Las Vegas Metro hosts the K-9 Trials
The Las Vegas Metro K-9 Trials returns to the Orleans Arena to benefit the Friends For Las Vegas Police K-9 group.
Kingman residents love their little town
Residents of Kingman, Ariz. talk about how they ended up living in the Route 66 town, and what they love about their quiet community. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Service at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery
Twelve unclaimed veterans are honored at Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City in Oct. 9, 2018. (Briana Erickson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas house prices reach highest level in 11 years
Las Vegas house prices are rising But so is the amount of available homes on the market Still, properties priced below $300,000 are selling fast And September was the first time since June 2007 that the median house price reached the $300,000 mark Las Vegas home prices have been rising at one of the fastest rates in the country over the past year Recent data show the market is now less affordable than the national average
National Night Out
About 100 Summerlin residents gathered at Park Centre Dr. in Summerlin on Tuesday for National Night Out. Lt. Joshua Bitsko with Las Vegas Metro, played with 3-year-old David who was dressed as a police officer. Face painting, fire truck tours and more kept kids busy as parents roamed behind them. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Rural homeless issue comes to a head in Pahrump
On Sept. 12, Pahrump sheriff deputies told residents of a homeless encampment on private property that they had 15 minutes to vacate and grab their belongings. That decision might face some legal consequences. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance blood drive on October 1
A blood drive was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center on the one year anniversary of the Oct. 1 shooting. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Remembrance Lights memorial unveiled at St. Rose hospital
A dedication ceremony was held at St. Rose to unveil a memorial and to read the names of those who died on October 1, a year ago. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive Remembrance Wall
(Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October Blood Drive
Vitalent hosts a blood drive at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, the first anniversary of the Las Vegas shootings. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
1October sunrise remembrance ceremony in Las Vegas
Myanda Smith, sister of Las Vegas shooting victim Neysa Tonks, speaks at the sunrise remembrance ceremony at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Chitose Suzuki/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
‪Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to crowd at Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬
‪Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval speaks to the crowd at the Oct. 1 sunrise remembrance ceremony ‬at the Clark County Government Center in downtown Las Vegas, Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Father of Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim talks about college scholarship in his daughter's memory
Chris Davis, father of a Route 91 Harvest festival shooting victim, Neysa Tonks, talks about a college scholarship in his daughter's memory to assist the children of those who died in the shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Oct. 1 survivor Malinda Baldridge talks about life after the shooting
Malinda Baldridge of Reno attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her daughter, Breanna, 17, and was shot twice in the leg when the gunman fired on the crowd.
Route 91 survivor talks about lack of progress in gun legislation
Heather Gooze, a Route 91 survivor, talks about lack of progress in gun legislation since the Oct 1. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas/Review-Journal) @reviewjournal
Review held in death of man after encounter with Las Vegas police
The mother of Tashii Brown, who died after an encounter with Las Vegas police on the Strip, not satisfied after public review of evidence. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County Museum opening "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials"
The Clark County Museum is opening an exhibit "How We Mourned: Selected Artifacts from the October 1 Memorials" of items left to honor the victims killed in the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Memorial service for former RJ lawyer Mark Hinueber
Mark Hinueber, the Review-Journal's former lawyer and defender of the First Amendment, died in Las Vegas on Aug. 23. Hinueber, who was 66, worked at the RJ and other newspapers for 42 years. On Saturday, his friends and family gathered for a memorial service.
Army veteran honored in Henderson event
Army Sgt. Adam Poppenhouse was honored by fellow veterans in an event hosted by a One Hero at a Time at the Henderson Events Center.
Michelle Obama and Keegan-Michael Key urge Nevadans to vote
Former first lady Michelle Obama and comedian Keegan-Michael Key urged Nevadans to vote at Chaparral High School in Las Vegas Sunday, Sep. 23, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
Nevada Task Force One Cheers Golden Knights
1 dead, 1 wounded in North Las Vegas standoff
A woman was hospitalized with serious injuries on Thursday morning after being shot inside a North Las Vegas house. Police responded about 11 p.m. to a shooting at a home on the 5600 block of Tropic Breeze Street, near Ann Road and Bruce Street. The wounded woman, police believe, was shot by a man, who later barricaded himself inside the house. SWAT was called to assist, and when officers entered the house, they discovered the man dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Las Vegas Teen Makes Clothing Resale His Side Hustle
Las Vegas resident Reanu Elises, 18, started buying and selling streetwear online when he was a high school junior. Like many other young adults, the world of online resale applications like Depop and Mercari have made selling clothing online for a profit easy. Now, Elises spends his free time at thrift shops looking for rare and vintage clothing he can list on his on his shop. Now in his freshman year at UNLV as a business marketing major, Elises hopes to open a shop of his own one day and start his own clothing brand. He estimates that he's made about $1000 from just thrifted finds in the past year, which he'll use to buy more thrift clothing and help pay for expenses in college. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Fruition Vineyards Encourages Young Entrepreneurs to "Buy, Flip, Dream"
Once a month, young adults gather at Fruition Vineyards on South Maryland Parkway near UNLV to dig through a stack of rare, vintage and designer clothing that's marked down well below it's resale value. Shop founder Valerie Julian began the vent, dubbed "Fruition Vineyards" in August after running her streetwear shop since 2005. The event gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to "buy, flip, dream" according to Jean. Meaning that they're encouraged to buy the clothing for sale and find a way to resell it for a profit, then reinvest that into whatever dream they pursue: college, a hobby or their own resale business. Shoppers lined up starting an hour before noon on the last Saturday in April for the opportunity and spoke about what they hoped to do with their finds and profits. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Local man goes under cover searching for answers to homelessness
Licensed mental health therapist Sheldon Jacobs spent 48 hours under cover posing as a homeless man in an attempt to gain perspective on the complex issue.
Social Work UNLV Lecturer's Calling
Ivet Aldaba-Valera was the first person in her family to graduate from both high school and college. The 33-year-old UNLV lecturer is now pursuing her Ph. D in public policy at the school and has used her degree in social work to engage with the young Latino and Latina community of Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @MadelynGReese
Gold Point townsperson talks about why he choose to live in a ghost town
Gold Point townsperson Walt Kremin talks about the ghost town in Nevada he calls home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like