Home » Editorial » Please publish accurate information on SCSU Black graduation rates

 

 

As St. Cloud State approaches the 2012-2013 school year, projections are that the university will continue its trend of welcoming growing numbers of students of color, including Black or African American students. In the last decade, enrollment of Black or African American students has increased at St. Cloud State from 173 total students in 2000 to 842 in the fall of 2011. This has been a gradual, purposeful growth as SCSU has sought to enhance the diversity of its student body to reflect the population of Minnesota.

In a recent Spokesman-Recorder, a commentator implied that while the university attracts growing numbers of Black students, only a small percentage of those enrolled will successfully reach graduation. That statement is false, as we have informed you previously.

In fact, we provided extensive information to show that the “facts” presented by the writer are most often knowingly and intentionally incorrect. I appreciate that you do not have the staff to do fact checking in pieces submitted to you. However, in this case you have easy access to our staff, and the writer has an established pattern of misrepresentation.

When analyzing graduation rates for any segment of the student population, it’s important to calculate the rate using the correct comparisons. In 2005, 49 new Black students entered St. Cloud State, and 16 of those students had completed their degrees at St. Cloud State six years later, the national standard for degree completion comparisons.

The Spokesman-Recorder has repeatedly published outcome information that violates the only valid approach to talking about student success, i.e., of the cohort that starts, how many graduate six years later. The calculation of graduation rates of Black students at the university as reported in the Spokesman-Recorder has been based on a comparison, for example, not with the group of 49 new Black students who entered in the fall of 2005, but by the total number of Black students enrolled at St. Cloud State in that fall, i.e., 303.

The correct approach yields a graduation rate of 33 percent. The false approach yields a rate of five percent.

Overall, St. Cloud State has had a 35 percent six-year graduation rate for Black students over the last six years for which data are available, beginning with rates for the class enrolled in 2000. According to the most recent statistics available for the university’s six-year graduation rates, the overall graduation rate is 48 percent for all students during this period of time.

While a gap remains between graduation rates of the majority population and that of Black or African American students, the university is committed to continuing to close this gap. We would be happy to share our work on this commitment at your request.

 

Earl H. Potter III

President, St. Cloud State University

 

Editor’s note: This letter responds to reader commentary published on the MSR’s editorial page, not to information in any published news stories. 

 

One Response to “Please publish accurate information on SCSU Black graduation rates”

  1. Myrle B. Cooper August 27, 2013

    (“Please publish accurate information on SCSU Black graduation rates;” Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder; 8/29/2012) Posted by admin on August 29, 2012
     
    “In the last decade, enrollment of Black or African American students has increased at St. Cloud State from 173 total students in 2000 to 842 in the fall of 2011.” 

    However: (1) the several fold total Black student increase since 2000 has’t produced a corresponding proportionate increase in Black graduates; (2) granted most schools (e.g. Cal Tech,
    Carlton, Mankato State, Oberlin, Princeton, University of Minnesota and/or SCSU), use roughly the same formula for calculating graduation rates, but they don’t have the defend themselves against blatant and historical racism like SCSU; and (3) daring to consider the TOTAL number of Black students enrolled compared with the number or percentage of yearly graduates is certainly valid (unless there’s a conflict with what recruiters are saying, it departs from the party line and/or there’s something to hide).

    The calculation of graduation rates of Black students at the university as reported in the Spokesman-Recorder has been based on a comparison, for example, not with the group of 49 new Black students who entered in the fall of 2005, but by the total number of Black students enrolled at St. Cloud State in that fall, i.e., 303. The correct approach yields a graduation rate of 33 percent. The false approach yields a rate of five percent.

    What percent of SCSU’s total white students’ total enrollment for fall 2005 graduated six years later in 2011? Why Potter admit a much higher percentage of total whites enrolled graduated in 2011 (like 65% of whites compare with “5%” of Blacks). Why is the ratio of whites enrolled compared with the percentage of whites graduating so much higher than Blacks?

    In a recent Spokesman-Recorder, a commentator implied that while the university attracts growing numbers of Black students, only a small percentage of those enrolled will successfully reach graduation. That statement is false, as we have informed you previously.

    In fact, we provided extensive information to show that the “facts” presented by the writer are most often knowingly and intentionally incorrect. I appreciate that you do not have the staff to do fact checking in pieces submitted to you. However, in this case you have easy access to our staff, and the writer has an established pattern of misrepresentation.

    Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder editors asked for SCSU/MnSCU for data/statistics four years ago, but wwere told the data wasn’t available or they were simply ignored. Evidently, Potter didn’t offer “easy access to [his] staff” at that time. Why not? 

    The Spokesman-Recorder has repeatedly published outcome information that violates the only valid approach to talking about student success, i.e., of the cohort that starts, how many graduate six years later. 

    Potter successfully diverted MS-R’s attention from blatant racism in “white Cloud” and why so few of total Blacks enrolled graduate.

    There is enough race-based dirt in “white Cloud” (campus and community) so that NOBODY would EVER have to exaggerate or fabricate ANYTHING. By simply using the key words, “St. Cloud racism,” for an Internet search, anyone able to read English will find more than he/she can possibly read without eye stain. Evidently, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Division in Chicago, the U.S. Department of Education’s Inspector General and the Higher Learning Commission found enough evidence of SCSU conniving to launch the most humiliating and intrusive investigation of a Minnesota college or university in history.

    Minnesota Public Radio, Associated Press and the Star Tribune
    broadcast/published the following reports chronological order: (1) “Grades vanishing from some SCSU students’ transcripts;” MPR, 6/10/2013; “Feds asking about transcript changes at St. Cloud State University;” MPR, 7/3/2013); (2) Associated Press picked up and distributed MPR’s second report; and (3) “Feds look into grade changes;” Star Tribune, 7/6/2013.

    When a Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder reporter inquired
    about SCSU counting as its own graduates those Black students (only Blacks) who had left “and then went on to graduate elsewhere” as SCSU’s, Melinda Voss, MnSCU’s PR director said, “If you started at St. Cloud State and finished at St. Cloud State, you get counted in this data. But if you started at St. Cloud State but transferred to Mankato, you don’t get counted, even if you completed at Mankato.” (source: ”Achievement gap
    extends to state’s higher education;” Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, 11/3/2010) 

    Finally, high school counselors, parents, pastors, politicians and
    Black high school graduates shopping for higher education would do well to simply ask: (1) why would SCSU bother to alter student transcripts (MPR’s Conrad Wilson reported “237″ “scrubbed” transcripts and some have told the FBI as many 
    as 1,200 illegal alterations are suspected. According to the Feds, whenever government monies are involved, from educational loans to Pell grants to millions given to SCSU, each is a federal crime); and (2) to date, Potter and SCSU’s administrative spokesmen have frantically avoided connecting the dots between those whose grades were changed and correlations with color/ethnic group/race. Why?

    Reply

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