Programs to interest minorities

By Ginger Riehle

NIU President John LaTourette said he is concerned about the increasing number of minority dropouts cited in a Bell Commission report on educational responsibilities.

LaTourette said there should be community action programs which work to make minority parents and children more aware of completing their high school education.

LaTourette said, “The university can work to assist the public schools.” He said NIU sponsors a program called Upward Bound, an intervention program which brings high school students to campus.

LaTourette said NIU also has recommended funds for a program that works in middle schools called Early Intervention.

obert Burk, Associate Director of Admissions, said NIU departments are working hard to recruit minority students.

“It’s a real committment here at the university. We’re competing with every school in the United States for top minority students,” Burk said.

One of the programs Burk is involved in to recruit minority students is a visitation to high schools with large numbers of minority students. Minority groups from the Chicago area often come to campus to spend a day and an evening. He said Farragut High School will be coming to NIU in February to experience college life first hand.

Burk said the Admissions Department has had two telethons this year. One telethon was for black students, and one was for hispanic students. The department contacted 200 black students, who were already admitted and talked to them about questions or problems they were having. Burk said the department tries to “keep in contact” with the students.

Jorge Nieves, who works with the Chicano Student Movement, said the group provides many advantages to Chicanos at NIU. He said they provide role models and a conducive environment for studies and housing. Nieves said the movement recruits from high schools every year during the fall semester.

Nieves said it is a hostile environment for Chicanos if there are not many of them on campus. He said if enrollment went down too far, “eventually none (Chicano students) would exist.”

Pam Bozeman, president of NIU’s Black Student Union, said the BSU is working to increase enrollment of black students. The BSU will be holding seminars for juniors and seniors from several high schools to offer them a student perspective of college.

“The black fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha has an annual program through which they go to different high schools and attempt to recruit students to Northern,” she said. Bozeman said they want to attract students with a higher grade point average because they are more likely to stay at the University.

Bozeman said she is in favor of more grants, loans and tuition waivers for minority students.