A Face of Few Colors

Despite the efforts of some faculty and students, minority repersentation in the math and science concentrations lags behind the rest of Harvard.

Ethnic diversification has been on Harvard's agenda for years and, while the University has succeeded in increasing diversity in its student body some academic fields still report considerably low involvement among some minority groups.

In particular, Harvard's math, computer and science-related departments, while perennially graduating a large number of Asian and Asian-American concentrators, show a disproportionately low turnout among black, Latino and other non-Asian minority students compared to the student body as a whole.

But there does not seem to be a consensus among Harvard faculty members and administrators over what should be done to reverse this trend, or even whether anything can be done.


Dean of the College and McKay Professor of Computer Science Harry R. Lewis '68 says that despite his efforts to encourage their interest, black and Latino student turnout in his classes remains less than promising.

"There are not as many black and Hispanic students in my classes as I would like," Lewis writes in an e-mail message. "I have for years tried to support and encourage those members of underrepresented minority groups who I do find in my courses to go into the field."

Similarly, S. Allen Counter, director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, writes in an e-mail message that his organization has for years championed the goal of increasing minority participation in the sciences.

To this end, the Foundation holds a two-day conference every year to pique minority interest in the sciences.

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