UMD Receives an F for Black Undergrad Representation

The University of Maryland was one of several public colleges and universities in the state of Maryland to fail in Black student representation equity.

The University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center published a report on Sept. 25 regarding Black student equity at public colleges and universities in all 50 states. UMD received an “F” on its report card under the category of representation equity. The purpose of the report is to “measure postsecondary access and success for Black undergraduates.”

 Black Student Union general body meetings held at Nyumburu Cultural Center on Mondays are a great place for the University of Maryland's Black students to unite, talk about the issues they face and meet new people. (Amina Lampkin/The Black Explosion)

Black Student Union general body meetings held at Nyumburu Cultural Center on Mondays are a great place for the University of Maryland's Black students to unite, talk about the issues they face and meet new people. (Amina Lampkin/The Black Explosion)


According to the report, UMD has a 20.3 percent difference between the Black undergraduate population and the number of college-aged Black people in the state. Black college-aged citizens, people aged 18 to 24 years old, make up 33.2 percent of Maryland’s population, but Black undergraduates account for about 13 percent of the university’s student body.

“I don’t think there is much representation of Black people on this campus,” said Sharon Kimemia, a junior criminology and criminal justice major. “Even in the classes, you go to; the way the university handles things - period - just doesn’t make sense. It’s not in the best interest of anybody, any person of color, specifically Black people.”

UMD received a “C” in the Black student to Black faculty ratio, with there being 3,391 Black students to 89 Black faculty members in 2016. The university was then given a total scoring or GPA of its grades, receiving a 2.25 on a 4.0 scale.

Kimemia continued saying the only time she sees Black professors is in African American Studies courses. She explained she enjoys those classes because she feels Black professors care more than other professors, which motivates her to be engaged in class.

The university’s administration has received backlash in recent years for its handling of issues of race and ethnicity, particularly among the Black student population. The deaths of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III in May 2017 and Maryland football player Jordan McNair in June 2018 have caused a disturbance among Black students, who feel that the administration has been more reactive, instead of proactive, with these matters.  

“UMD might fail in how they treat their Black students but in terms of me feeling like I can graduate and be successful in [the] workforce, I feel like UMD set me up for doing that,” said Ariana Bailey, a junior community health major.

A preliminary report on the campus climate survey released in May suggests minority students do not feel included or safe on campus.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as the President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues, did not respond to requests for comment.

Bailey went on to say the “buffoonery” that occurs at UMD builds her resilience towards similar situations in the workforce. In light of being underrepresented, Bailey said she feels she can succeed due to being surrounded by Black people in her social network who also want to be successful.