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Asian, Hispanic and Native American Task Force Report (AHNA Executive Summary)

The objective of this report is to determine the status of Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans at the University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP). Each of these minority groups has different historical roots in this country. This report shows that although there are many similarities between the three minority groups (and their African American counterparts), there are also major differences arising from their varied economic, cultural, and educational backgrounds. Within each minority group, there is also considerable variation based on such factors as national origin, religion, and immigration patterns into the United States. In addition, Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans are represented in three communities at the University: faculty, students, and staff. This study concerns itself with all three. However, although we recognize that Asian, Hispanic, and Native American graduate students face many of the impediments and problems faced by undergraduates, the Task Force did not have the resources to specifically and appropriately address this component of the student body. Nevertheless, a few brief and preliminary findings are provided in Appendix A.

In this report we ask a series of questions for each group. For faculty we ask, Are Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans adequately represented among UMCP faculty?; What is the distribution of minority faculty in the different colleges?; Are salaries and promotions of these minority faculty similar to those of their white colleagues?; and Are Asian, Hispanic, and Native American faculty involved in the decision-making processes on this campus? For students we ask, Is UMCP enrolling adequate numbers of Asian, Hispanic, and Native American students?; Are we retaining and graduating these students?; and Are Asian, Hispanic, and Native American students receiving adequate financial support? For staff we ask, Are Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans adequately represented among associate and classified staff?; and Are there fair opportunities for employment and upwards mobility, or are there obstacles to upper mobility? Finally, the Task Force was interested in the climate for Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans on this campus. Thus, we asked, Are Asian, Hispanic, and Native American faculty, students, and staff treated differently than their white peers?; Do Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans consider themselves full-fledged members of this university community, or do they view UMCP as a hostile environment?; and Have they actually experienced instances of discrimination?

This study follows three earlier reports, "Access is Not Enough: A Report to the President Concerning Opportunities for Blacks at the University of Maryland at College Park", "Progress in Equity and Diversity", and "The Report of the Committee on Excellence Through Diversity: Providing Opportunities for Black Americans at College Park" which reviewed the status of African Americans at this University. This new study, presented below, provides a data base for comparison with the status of African Americans, and insights into the issues and concerns that may arise when whites and minorities live and work together in an academic community.

This executive summary is organized around two kinds of issues: tangible (primarily defined as those relating to recruitment, retention, financial support, and compensation) and qualitative (those that define the quality of academic life and the working environment for Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans at the UMCP). We view both types of issues ad equally important. Each of the findings is accompanied by a specific recommendation(s) that addresses the particular issues. Though these recommendations try to address the findings of the report, their intent is not to further the interests of Asian, Hispanic, and Native Americans to the detriment of African Americans and whites.

There are those critics that will point out that many of the inequities identified in this report also affect whites. This may be true, but we would note that the under-represented, the disadvantaged, and the powerless are much more vulnerable to injustice that the established majority. Further, it is evident that some behaviors and practices described in this report are not only unfair and unethical but appear to be in direct violation of U.S. laws which bar "discrimination against any individual with respect to his/her compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment" (United States Code. Title 42. Chapter 21, Subchapter VI). In either case, our recommendations are an attempt to ensure a less arbitrary system that would benefit all members of the campus community by providing excellence through diversity and equality.

The University of Maryland aspires to assume a leadership position as a world class university. It does so at a time when certain Asian countries, such as Japan and Taiwan, are major economic powers, and major Latin American nations such as Mexico, Brazil, and others are undergoing significant changes. The world communities that will challenge and sustain us are highly diverse. As we move into a new century this University will face the fundamental question, How can the University meet the challenge and opportunities afforded by the diversity outside the campus if it falls short of providing an open and nurturing environment for its minorities on campus?

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