Leaders speak on recruiting efforts

By Vickie Snow

Minority group leaders are outraged about minority recruiting efforts at the College of Law.

The NIU Black Law Student Association has been fighting for three years to improve the low number of minority law students at NIU, but “no end roads have been made,” said BLSA President Anthony Carr.

NIU’s Hispanic National Bar Association Law Student Division, headed by third-year law student Eva Vera, works with the BLSA.

“It’s ludicrous we’re in such low numbers for a state institution,” Vera said.

“The efforts being extended…are unacceptable and border insensitivity,” BLSA wrote in a March 30th letter to NIU Provost Kendall Baker and Leonard Strickman, dean of the College of Law.

In the letter, the BLSA requested to meet with Baker and Strickman to address the issue. Carr said the BLSA must look outside the College of Law for help.

owever, Strickman said he disagrees “that no improvements have been made…substantial improvements have been made.” But the success is not as much as he hoped for, he said.

A needed improvement is expanding the recruitment program, which is worth the effort if money is available, Strickman said.

David Gaebler, associate dean at the College of Law, previously said the college has “scarce resources for minority recruiting.”

NIU’s College of Law is losing out to other state law schools because it does not offer competitive scholarship packages.

“Applicants are deciding not to attend NIU…because of other incentives afforded to them by other institutions,” the BLSA letter stated.

Other state colleges offer tuition waivers, stipends and other incentives to recruit minority students, the letter stated.

“In an effort to improve recruitment efforts and increase minority admissions, NIU must put forth the same efforts that other institutions are putting forth,” the letter stated.

Gaebler previously said the NIU College of Law’s 300-member student body has about 21 minority students, an amount BLSA termed “inadequate.”

Eight of the 21 students are black, and seven are Hispanic, Carr said. Although the application deadline for Fall 1990 is April 16, only one black student and two Hispanic students have applied so far, he said.

“NIU has the lowest tuition in the area. It has a charge to educate members of the community, minorities being part of the community, and it’s not meeting the charge,” Carr said.

Keeping law students at NIU also is a problem. Half the entering minorities do not make it through the first year, Carr said. “The law school hasn’t had a black woman make it past the first year of classes in the past six years.”

Carr and Vera proposed five steps to improve the minority law student situation at NIU. These include having more interpersonal contact with students, preparing to match other colleges, having an operational and effective student retention program, having a better recruitment plan and getting diversity at NIU.