Black students advised not to apply at CU's dental school because of discrimination, study finds

Faculty report suggests taking immediate action

AURORA, Colo. - A faculty committee asked to look into the experience of minorities at the University of Colorado's School of Dental Medicine found the school has such a bad reputation that potential black students are advised not to apply.

The committee reported that there is "A generalized perception that the climate is especially adverse to African Americans."

"These findings reveal a need to address the climate as related to race and ethnicity, as well as other categories of identity (e.g., gender, nationality, social class, religion and sexual orientation)," the report states.

In their report issued this week, four CU staff members strongly encouraged the school to immediately address certain action items, including:

  • Increase the number of students, faculty and staff from underrepresented minority (URM) groups.
  • Acquire substantial resources to fund scholarships for students from URM groups.
  • Develop and promote clear and transparent internal and external mechanisms for students, faculty and staff to report climate concerns related to mistreatment or discrimination, without fear of reprisal.

Researchers stated that there is a recurring sentiment among alumni of color that students of color experience "routine, ongoing discrimination in the School, to the extent that potentials applicants are being dissuaded from considering the School."

According to a survey, 24 percent of students said they witnessed other students making disparaging remarks or exhibiting hostile behavior toward minority groups; 11 percent said the same was done by faculty members.

Twenty percent said the school had a sexist environment; 13 percent said it was racist; and 12 percent said it was biased against certain sexual orientations.

There have been 10 black graduates of the school since 1977, compared with 1,600 white graduates, according to our partners at the Denver Post, who spoke to Eugene Brooks, an associate professor at the school.

CU's dental school is located at the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.

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