CUNY Snapshot: Race/Ethnicity by College Reveals Startling Trends

This year, CUNY’s City College was ranked by Best College Reviews as the 5th most ethnically diverse college in the country. In fact, City College is so diverse that Michelle Obama recently chose to deliver her last commencement address as first lady there. However, a look into racial and ethnic diversity across the entire CUNY system paints a slightly different portrait. The chart below offers enrollment information from fall 2015 for CUNY’s senior colleges. Taking a closer look at the percentages of certain racial and ethnic groups in various CUNY colleges shows that CUNY has a lot of representation from various groups, but some colleges have disproportionately high or low representations of certain racial and ethnic groups.

When it comes to American Indians and Alaska Natives, most of CUNY’s senior colleges had low representation across the board – on average, only .3 percent of enrolled students fell under that category. York College stands out in this regard, with 1 percent of its enrolled students being American Indians or Alaska Natives.

In regard to Asian and Pacific Islander students, Baruch College stood out. Baruch’s Asian and Pacific Island population in fall 2015 was 40 percent – nearly 20 percent higher than CUNY’s average. Medgar Evers and Journalism School also stood out in this category, with only 3 percent representation of this ethnic group.

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Medgar Evers (Wikimedia Commons)

The racial category with the most drastic disparity was Black students enrolled in CUNY campuses. In fall 2015, Medgar Evers’ Black population comprised 86.3 percent of total students enrolled. On the other end of the spectrum, only 9 percent of students enrolled were Black at the Graduate School.

Lehman College and John Jay had the highest percentages of Hispanic students enrolled, 48.8 percent and 40.6 percent, respectively.

And, lastly, Graduate school, Journalism School, Law School and Staten Island had the largest percentages of White students enrolled, with the Graduate School having the largest White percentage at 67.7 percent. Medgar Evers and York College had the lowest percentages of White students, with Medgar Evers only having 2.1 percent White representation.

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CUNY Graduate Center (Wikimedia Commons/David Shankbone)

While many of these numbers seem extreme, CUNY still is a diverse institution. I think that most of these numbers can be explained by geographic disparities. For example, Medgar Evers is located in Crown Heights, which is known to be a heavily Black and Jewish neighborhood.

But, I think that lack of diversity in certain schools, like Graduate School, Law School and Journalism School, speak to social trends in our society that need to be addressed. The professional world as a whole needs more diverse representation, and one of the only ways of achieving that goal is to get a more diverse group of students into these types of schools.

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Hidden Trends in CUNY’s Fall Enrollment Data

At first glance, the interactive data that CUNY put out about five-year fall enrollment trends in its senior colleges seemed unassuming. Most of the year-to-year changes were minimal, indicating that there wasn’t that much of an overall change. However, as I was sifting through the data I noticed that there was no column giving the percent change in enrollment from 2010 to 2014. So, I crunched some numbers on my own and came up with the “5-Year Percent Change (2010-2014)” portion of the graph below. In my opinion, that graph is the most important because it shows what otherwise would have been hidden in a pool of year-to-year data, which is that there have been significant changes in enrollment in some schools from 2010 to 2014.

imgresMost notably, the School of Professional Studies saw a 41 percent increase since 2010, and the School of Law had a 26 percent decrease in fall enrollment over the same time period. The Graduate School of Journalism had a 10 percent increase, and New York City College of Technology had a 13 percent increase in fall enrollment. The Graduate School and Queens College were the only other two colleges with significant decreases at 7 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

While the numbers don’t offer any explanation for the trends, it is interesting to see how enrollment trends have changed over the years, particularly after the recession.

The Numbers Behind NYC’s AIDS Epidemic

Since the 1980s, New York City has been suffering from an AIDS epidemic. During its peak, the city was more affected by AIDS than any other American city. While much has changed from the time where AIDS was thought to be just a mysterious “gay cancer,” the city still has an AIDS problem that the Department of Health is trying to fix. This past July, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the state is on track to reduce the number of HIV infections to just 750 by the end of 2020, and that the number of New Yorkers with detectable levels of HIV decreased by 10 percent between 2013 and 2014.

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A look at the numbers on the graph below shows that the government and Department of Health have been making progress in their attempt to reduce instances of HIV/AIDS. Based on the graph, the number of total instances of HIV/AIDS in the city’s five boroughs dropped from 2,104 to 1,605 – a 23 percent decrease – from 2011 to 2013. Kings County has the most recorded instances of HIV/AIDS, with Bronx trailing in second and New York coming in third on a consistent basis from 2011 to 2013. Richmond has the fewest amount of cases reported each year.

However, a look into the adjusted rate per 100,000 people paints a different picture. According to that segment of the interactive graph, Bronx leads all of the other boroughs, with 35.6 instances reported for every 100,000 people. When viewing the data in this light, which is a more accurate way to determine which boroughs are harder hit, New York ranks second and Kings County ranks third.

Having these numbers will continue to help the city and state solve our HIV/AIDS epidemic once and for all.

Safety First! Five Tips on Staying Safe During the Year’s Peak Crime Season

Of the 200 four-year colleges and universities in New York State, Brooklyn College was ranked the sixth safest college in the state, according to a report released on June 1 by Backgroundchecks.org, a public safety website.

“We are not a residence hall campus, we don’t have dorms. We’re an urban campus – we’re not out in the wilderness covering 500 acres of land where you see more clearly crimes occurring,” said Donald A. Wenz, the director of public safety at Brooklyn College.

Despite Brooklyn College’s prestigious ranking, its campus does not exist in a vacuum, and it is not impervious to crime. Brooklyn College’s annual crime report shows that there were 15 crimes reported on and around campus in 2015, and a closer look into the campus’s crime logs show that the Midwood college’s most frequent offenses are harassment and petit larceny.

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Crime Scene Tape/Creative Commons

As winter approaches and the days start getting shorter, these crimes usually spike at Brooklyn College. Studies show that crime generally tends to spike during warmer months and December, signaling that the onset of holiday season may be responsible for criminals’ rebellious outbursts.

According to Wenz, Brooklyn College typically sees an increase in crime during September, October and November. The predictable uptick coincides with the end of daylight savings time and the start of the holiday season.

And, since those two occurrences are a few short weeks away, here are five tips on how to stay safe on campus as the darkness creeps in and the imaginary scents of roasted turkey waft into our midterm study sessions:

  1. After dark, walk in well-lit areas, remain on well-traveled walkways, and walk in groups. If you find yourself alone and in need of an escort, the Office of Campus and Community Safety Services at extension 5511 can provide security escorts to campus parking lots and nearby bus and subway stations.
  2. Keep a watchful eye on your personal property. If you need to step out for a few minutes, make sure to take your property with you or leave it with a trustworthy person.
  3. Prevent “crimes of opportunity” by doing simple things – like properly locking up your bicycle and concealing valuables. Many students who wouldn’t normally steal might be temped to swap a cellphone, laptop or tablet if the situation makes it too easy for them to refuse.
  4. Be observant. Pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you, and be aware of situations that would make you vulnerable to crime.
  5. If you see something, say something! Any suspicious activity on or near the campus should be reported to the Office of Campus and Community Safety Services.

“If the students on this campus are a little bit more [careful] – and I keep stressing this, and I’ve been stressing this for years – and take more care of their personal property, you will see a dramatic decrease in that type of crime, which is the crime that affects this campus the most,” Wenz said.

With that in mind, good luck during the mid-semester crunch, and remember not to lose track of your grades – and your personal belongings!

The New York Times in a Twitter-Based, Multimedia World

“We’ve transformed the manner in which we deliver the news without ever veering from the high journalistic standards that are firmly in place,” said Arthur Sulzberger, chairman of the New York Times, in a talk at Polis LSE. “In a world where information and opinions are ubiquitous, our promise of quality is more important than ever.”

In 2011, a research company called Netprospex ranked The New York Times as the most social company in the United States, based on the number of employees who were on various social networks and the number of followers those accounts had.

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Arthur Sulzberger Jr./Google Images

While 2011 may seem like it was the blink of an eye ago, much has changed in that time. With each passing year, month and week, digital journalism is evolving, but The Times has still managed to keep its position at the forefront of innovation in multimedia journalism.

Approximately one year ago, The Times passed one million digital-only subscribers, which is a remarkable achievement given that they asked readers to pay for unlimited access to their digital platforms. Since The Times first started offering digital subscriptions in 2011, it has pushed to provide unique photographs, videos, audio recordings and interactive feature stories to its subscribers. These content range from a quiz to show which U.S. cities speak the same way as you do, to a series explaining how the nation’s wealthiest citizens and corporations avoid taxes, to an interactive list of 52 places to go with assistance from readers who offered recommendations for each destination.

Aside from simply (or not so simply) providing its readers with innovative stories told on unique platforms, The Times has been reaching out and engaging readers using tactics like Twitter and blogging. In fact, in the talks that Sulzberger gave at Polis LSE, he mentioned that The New York Times tweets a news story every four seconds, providing countless opportunities for its followers to retweet and share stories while also being able to promote conversation about those stories. Not only does this allow stories to reach a greater scope of people, but it also allows people to have their voices heard and provide real-time feedback to the folks at The Times. The New York Times has a main Twitter account, a travel Twitter account, an arts Twitter account, a food Twitter account, a video account, a metro account, a wedding announcement account, and more! And on top of all of that, its reporters are encouraged and expected to have a strong social media presence, promoting their own stories and hyping up The Times while doing so. The Times’ Twitter presence is so ubiquitous that it is nearly impossible to avoid coming across something from any one of their accounts in the Twitter-sphere.

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Google Images

Two Times reporters at the forefront of multimedia journalism are Emma Cott and Samantha Stark, who work as video journalists. Recently, Cott has expanded The Times’ digital presence by bringing documentaries into the mix. Cott’s famous documentary, which is rated on Imdb, is called “Take Care, Mr. Elson,” and it presents the story of one man’s hard path to health insurance in the age of the Affordable Health Care Act. Samantha Stark produces shorter videos on a wide variety of topics, particularly about animals. Recently, she created a video showing why parrots are more than just birds based on a compilation of footage sent in by Times subscribers. Together, the two of them constitute a dynamic duo, propelling digital journalism into unforeseen territory and inspiring the rest of the world to watch. I look forward to hopefully meeting them one day to learn what it’s like to be on the cutting edge of multimedia journalism!

Mid-Semester Blues

After recording my thoughts on the mid-semester blues and feeling bogged down by the thought of it creeping up so soon, I decided to scour the Web for tips and tricks to prevent the mid-semester blues from having an impact on me. There is no reason for students to lose steam and work less efficiently as the semester is heating up just because they feel weighed down by work. Here are the three most helpful suggestions that I plan on using to fight this season’s mid-semester slump:

  1. Take time to relax without feeling guilty about it. When work piles up, our stress levels go up. It seems like there is too much work to get done during daylight hours, and people begin overworking themselve
    s. This can lead to unhealthy habits, like sleeping less and eating unhealthy food, which only add on more stress. So, taking some time to relax – even if it’s just for a few minutes out of the day – can leave us feeling refreshed and better equipped to get work done.
  2. Set goals for yourself. By setting goals, it is easier to put in perspective what exactly needs to get done. Short-term goals can include time-sensitive tasks, like studying for an exam or handing in a paper. Long-term goals can include self-imposed visions, like graduating with honors or becoming president of a campus club that you are involved in. Regardless of the type of goal, it will be rewarding to see them crossed off of your list.
  3. Make it fun! Motivation is easy to come across when a task is fun. While it may seem like reading 150 pages of a Physics textbook is as boring as it gets, placing a treat like a chocolate bar or small piece of candy every 50 pages may make the work more bearable, or even exciting. Finding clever ways to spice up your work can lift your spirits.