An open letter to students, faculty and alumni of the Notre Dame community:
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 12, 2018
Notre Dame is one of the most prestigious schools in the nation. But other top schools boast increasingly higher rates of diversity in their incoming classes. This is because these schools recognize that they are preparing students for the real world. The Notre Dame bubble has verbally addressed this mission but has not taken clear action. The current Notre Dame student body feels seriously deprived of the diversity from which students at other top schools benefit. Thus, we are deprived of the valuable viewpoints of a variety of people which would not only prepare us for our future occupation, but shape our holistic education for our personal benefits. We do not feel prepared for a world beyond Notre Dame; we are trapped in the bubble. In acknowledgement of the greatness of our esteemed university, we hold it to an equally high standard. We expect Notre Dame to reach a level of diversity that is consistent with our nation’s current demographics, and we ask that you, the alumni, help us make this a reality.
The lack of diversity of Notre Dame is not necessarily something that students anticipate when we first arrive. On the Notre Dame website, it is stated that the student body is comprised of “32 percent U.S. students of color or international citizens.” This is a significant percentage — yet an incredibly deceitful one. This statistical manipulation suggests that Notre Dame welcomes an impressively large amount of minority students. In reality, this is far from the case: Notre Dame listed 76th out of the top 100 universities from most to least diverse on the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index. While other top schools offer a very specific breakdown, differentiating between and providing acceptance percentages for African Americans, Asian Americans and other specific ethnicities, Notre Dame has chosen to conceal the true colors of its demographics, and for good reason. The University knows that there is no significant amount of diversity to brag about. Diversity is paraded by other schools because they recognize it for its true value. For its greatness, Notre Dame deserves to share in the treasure that is a truly diverse community. We also want to expand this diversity to the faculty and staff of Notre Dame. Only 15 percent of the staff are minorities. This means that the people who write our curriculum and prepare us for our futures also lack in the diversity which is so essential to building our characters for the future.
We do not want to limit ourselves, however, to talking about ethnic diversity. We are also concerned about the lack of socioeconomic diversity at Notre Dame. The New York Times states that “the median family income of a student from Notre Dame is $191,400, and 75 percent come from the top 20 percent.” A full 15 percent of the Notre Dame student body comes from families in the top one percent of income earners in the United States, and 44 percent of students come from the top five percent. Furthermore, Notre Dame ranks 63rd out of 65 other elite colleges in terms of share of students who come from the bottom fifth, and ranks number 2,383 out of 2,395 other ranked colleges in the United States.
In conclusion, our goal is to convince as many alumni, donors, students and staff of Notre Dame as possible of the importance of diversity at Notre Dame. We hope that these people will be willing and able to fight for diversity at our beautiful university. We hope that you will personally contact the admissions office at Notre Dame and inform them of your thoughts, and encourage other alumni to do the same. By reaching out to the specific Notre Dame admissions officer of your region, you can make a difference. Please ask them to accept a greater number of diverse students next year.
Thank you for your contribution to the improvement of Notre Dame.
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.