VCU conducts ethnicity survey

Jamie Trice

Contributing Writer

In the beginning of the fall 2010 semester, students and employees were required to take a two-part race and ethnicity survey.  The survey had to be completed before for access to eServices was granted.

The first question asked for ethnicity identification as Hispanic, Latino or neither.  The second question asked for the race identifications that applied to the survey-taker.

Many students were not annoyed about the survey, but are wondering why VCU is asking ethnic questions.

“It didn’t bother me that they asked,” VCU senior Tayyaba Syed said. “It bothered me when they asked again when I put my race information on my college application.”

VCU requested the information because the U.S. Department of Education has adopted new guidelines for obtaining and reporting race and ethnicity data for all institutions of higher education. Both federal and state governments require colleges and universities to report the racial and ethnic make-up of its students and employees.

“The difference now is that we are being asked to report that information differently, using different criteria,” Kelli Parmley, assistant vice provost for the Center for Institutional Effectiveness at VCU, said. “As a result, VCU had to convert the information that we have previously reported into a new format.”

On the VCU website in the early 1990s, the Office of Management and Budget began researching the best way to capture racial and ethnic demographic information. The research included defining new race and ethnic categories, and identifying the best process for acquiring more accurate self-reported data.

The data will have no impact on admission or job security, according to the VCU website.  Like the U.S. Census, this data will be reported to the federal government and used in federal decision-making. The information will be used to illustrate the full extent of diversity on campus.

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