Roanoke Times and World News
June 2, 1983

Enrollment of Blacks Improving
Goals in Doubt at Tech, Radford

RICHMOND - State-supported colleges and universities probably will meet overall enrollment goals set for the first year of Virginia's college desegregation plan this fall, a state education official said Wednesday.

Dr. Gordon K. Davies, director of the state Council of Higher Education, told council members that 11 of the 15 four-year public institutions have said they expect to meet or exceed enrollment goals outlined in the plan.

Although four institutions, including Virginia Tech and Radford University, reported they did not expect to meet their enrollment objectives, the fact that several colleges probably will exceed their goals could mean that the state's overall enrollment goals will be met, Davies said.

Virginia agreed to try to enroll 1,787 black state-resident freshmen and first-time transfer students at the 13 predominantly white senior institutions this fall.

As of the end of May, Tech had received 476 applications from black freshmen and transfer students and had accepted 200, according to Barry Dorsey, an associate director of the council. Tech has received room deposits or other commitments form 195 of those applicants, Dorsey said. Tech's goal under the plan is to enroll 260 first-time blacks this fall. This year Tech enrolled 183.

"We're still making every effort to meet the goal, although obviously I cannot guarantee we'll do it," said John Perry, Tech's acting provost. Perry said he had "not given up hope. We're still keeping some slots open."

Radford had received 119 applications from first-time black students and had accepted 82, Dorsey said. The university had room deposits or commitments from only 23 of those students. Radford's goal for the fall is 69, compared with the 34 black freshmen or transfer students it enrolled this year.

"I'm basically at the point now where I don't know what else to do," said Andy Bales, Radford's director of admissions. "We have traveled to every community college in the commonwealth, and despite our efforts to encourage minority students to attend (recruitment) programs, the programs were not well attended."

Virginia State University in Ettrick and Norfolk State University, both mostly black institutions, agreed to try to enroll a combined total of 237 white first-time freshmen and transfer students.

Davies said "extraordinary efforts on the part of the institutions" in trying to enroll transfer students from community colleges during the spring and extending application deadlines into the summer months accounts the projects success in meeting the enrollment goals.

The other two institutions that reported they did not expect to achieve their enrollment objectives were Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg and the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg.

However, several institutions expect to exceed their goals for enrollment of minority students this fall, Davies said

James Madison University in Harrisonburg has an enrollment goal of 129 black freshmen and transfer students, but already has accepted 325 and has room deposits or other commitments from 187 of those, Davies reported.

Old Dominion University in Norfolk has an enrollment goal of 207 minority students, Davies said, but already has accepted 404 and has room deposits or other commitments form 210.

George Mason University, with a goal of 118 black first-time freshmen and transfer students, already has firm commitments from 110 students, he added.

Among other institutions that appear to be able to meet or exceed their enrollment goals are Longwood College in Farmville, the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Christopher Newport College in Newport news, Clinch Valley College in Wise, and Virginia Military Institute in Lexington.

Davies said Virginia State and Norfolk State universities also expect to reach their goals for the enrollment of white students.

Dorsey said the council made no effort to interpret enrollment data but simply relied on reports form admissions officials as to whether a college expected to reach its goals.

In addition to the recent statewide recruitment campaign, the senior institutions have sent mass mailings of recruitment materials to high school guidance counselors and are providing special summer courses and tutors for entering students who may be academically disadvantaged, Davies said.

The state is under a court order from U.S. District Judge John H. Pratt in Washington to demonstrate "substantial progress" in meeting the enrollment goals of the state's three-year desegregation plan by February 1984.