U.Md. facing backlash after graphic separates Asian students from People of Color

The University of Maryland has come under fire for a controversial graphic representing student race and ethnicity data. One part of the graphic was labeled “students of color minus Asians” and another was labeled “white or Asian students.”

The offending graphic was part of the admissions and enrollment section of the State of Campus address made by University of Maryland President Daryll Pines to the University Senate on Wednesday.

“It just puts us in a box where …, ‘Hey, they’re doing well and they’re close to white people,'” Amanda Vu, the co-vice president of external affairs for the Asian American Student Union, told the student newspaper, The Diamondback.

In a statement, the university said Pines was sharing information about the demographics of the freshman class, including information about the diversity of the class.

“The data in this specific section was intended to show student populations that have historically represented 11% or less of our campus community — Black/African Americans, American Indians or Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander and Hispanics,” the statement said.

The school said ultimately, when it refers to students of color, it includes Asian students and Asian American students.

“This is how we proudly came to the conclusion that the majority of our most recent freshman class is comprised of people of color,” the school stated.

“We should all be wary when these controversies take our focus off of equity for the groups that have the least access to our university. And that hurts all of us,” Janelle Wong, an American Studies Professor and core faculty member in the Asian American Studies Program, said to The Diamondback.

Wong also said that while the wording was harmful, it’s important to keep focus on equity issues that the underrepresented face.

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