Admissions fails to involve most groups in event

Northern Kentucky University’s Office of Admissions sought to show NKU’s diversity at the Multicultural Visitation Program Dec. 2 to potential students. However, 15 student organizations out of 179 were asked by Admissions to display NKU’s diversity. The rest weren’t invited.

“It’s our mistake,” said Director of Admissions for Outreach Melissa Gorbandt. “It was not (The Office of Admissions) intent to exclude groups.”

Assistant Director for Admissions Carmen Myrick had notified the Office of Student Life about the MVP, which is a brainchild of Admissions designed to persuade racial and ethnic high school students, specifically black, Asian, Hispanic and International students, to attend NKU. She said she requested Student Life invite various multicultural student groups.

However, Assistant Director Tiffany Mayse said Student Life was asked only to represent, collectively, most of NKU’s 179 groups with one display.

Director of Student Life Betty Mulkey said her department did receive an e-mail from Admissions, but she did not see anything about including student groups.

“I read it as our office was invited – just the office,” Mulkey said.

According to NKU Admissions Counselor Jennifer Mimms, Admissions relied on “word of mouth” to spread awareness of the event among NKU students.

However, several minority student organizations hadn’t learned of the MVP.

“I would have definitely shown up if I’d been invited,” said James ‘Sam’ Frankel, president of the Jewish Student Organization.

As co-president of Common Ground, NKU’s gay-straight alliance, Mike Volmer said Common Ground should have been invited.

Gorbandt said Admissions did not inform the dean of students office or the Student Government Association about the MVP either.

“I’m not aware of it,” said Josh Ruth, SGA president.

Admissions had expected NKU’s offices to invite the student clubs registered with them. For example, after Admissions invited LSA, LSA invited the Latino Student Union. Students Together Against Racism was also invited, but did not attend. STAR’s president could not be reached for comment.

Mimms said Admissions “hand-picked” 15 students to e-mail with invitations.

Gorbandt said her office was familiar with these individuals. They were asked to invite the multicultural groups they were members of.

The groups, according to Gorbandt, were selected based on the characteristics of the high school students touring campus, and she thought NKU’s other groups would be notified by Student Life.

Gorbandt emphasized the lack of available space for groups as a reason to focus on NKU’s multicultural organizations. She noted that the Ballroom couldn’t accommodate all 179 of NKU’s clubs.

Participants seemed to favorably view the MVP. Tiara Wells, one potential student, said the MVP made her think she could see herself attending NKU.

Andrew Joiner, president of NKU’s chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, also thought the event would let prospective pupils network.

Gorbandt said 12 university offices were asked to come and each of NKU’s academic colleges. None of the student groups that responded to invitations were turned away.

Admissions campaigned with several other strategies off campus, including: Admissions counselors visiting local schools; letters, some in Spanish, being sent to parents and feeder schools, whose students are likely to attend NKU; and Louisville high school students being brought in by bus.

NKU’s Office of Admissions, according to its Web site, is currently planning another MVP event for Jan. 20, 2007.