Brown University Will Allow Students to ‘Self-Identify’ as a Person of Color

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Brown University has announced a change to their application process that will allow applicants to “self-identify” as a person of color.

According to The College Fix, the policy is the result of complaints made by Asian-American and international students that they aren’t yet categorized as members of historically underrepresented groups. Historically, Brown has restricted minority status to “American Indian, Alaskan Native, African American, Hispanic or Latinx and Native Hawaiian and/or Pacific Islander” students.

“Duncan acknowledged that while the University’s classification system did result in international and Asian American students not receiving these invitations, she said that the graduate school will change its application for the upcoming admissions cycle to allow students to self-identify as a student of color,” an article in the Brown Daily Herald read.

One graduate student told the Herald that Brown’s decision to limit minority status to only a select group made certain students feel invisible.

“The University does not classify international students as students of color and Asian American students as HUGs: These decisions have led to “institutional invisibility,” Kelow-Bennett said, adding that such lapses caused some students to not receive invitations to certain events, such as a multicultural student dinner,” the report read.

Although the program is primarily designed for the purposes of allowing students outside of the groups traditionally designated by Brown to be underrepresented to be included, the College Fix suggests that, under the new system, any student will be able to “self-identify” as a person of color.

When asked, Brown University refused to explain how minority status affects admissions decisions. The College Fix reached out to Marlina Duncan, the dean of diversity initiatives at Brown about the impact of minority status on admission, but she did not respond to the outlet’s inquiry. Several other members of the Brown University administration refused to directly answer questions on the impact of minority status on admission.



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