College Drops Black-Only Course Sections

Moraine Valley Community College will stop offering sections of orientation course restricted to specific racial groups.

August 9, 2016

Moraine Valley Community College, a two-year institution outside Chicago, said Monday it would reverse course on plans to reserve some sections of a required, for-credit college success course specifically for African-American students.

Normah Salleh-Barone, the college's vice president for student development, said in an email that while Moraine Valley "will continue to offer sections of its College 101 course for the success of special populations, it will no longer offer sections of this course for specific racial groups."

Salleh-Barone and others at the college did not immediately respond to requests for further comment on the change in course.

The college has in the past limited sections of the course to populations like athletes, those with special needs and Hispanics, administrators previously told Inside Higher Ed. But the decision to pilot course sections this fall exclusively for African-American students received scrutiny from some students, parents and others.

Research shows college readiness courses can be particularly effective for low-income and first-generation college students. Margaret Lehner, Moraine Valley's vice president for institutional advancement, said on Friday, in defending the special sections, that the college's own research showed limiting some sections to specific student groups has been effective in boosting the success of those students. The college decided to offer course sections specifically for African-American students this fall because of retention and completion rates for that demographic that were lower than rates for the college on the whole.


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