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Black College Students Less Likely To Participate In Hook Up Culture

Have you ever written your college professor an email, and never received a reply? Well it could be because you’re a woman or a minority. A group of researchers emailed more than 6,500 professors at the top 250 schools pretending to be the students. And they sent all of the professors the same emails, “I really admire your work. Would you have some time to meet?” But the names were different. Brad Anderson. Meredith Roberts. Lamar Washington. LaToya Brown. Juanita Martinez. Deepak Patel, Sonali Desai, Chang Wong and Mei Chen were some of the names being used from the fake students. 

From NPR:

All they were measuring was how often professors wrote back agreeing to meet with the students. And what they found was there were very large disparities. Women and minorities [were] systematically less likely to get responses from the professors and also less likely to get positive responses from the professors. Now remember, these are top faculty at the top schools in the United States and the letters were all impeccably written.

Milkman found there were very large disparities between academic departments and between schools. Faculty at private schools were significantly more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty at public schools. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools. 

Also, it doesn’t matter if the professors you’re reaching out to are women. “There’s absolutely no benefit seen when women reach out to female faculty, nor do we see benefits from black students reaching out to black faculty or Hispanic students reaching out to Hispanic faculty,” and, “In business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities.”

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  • Child Please

    This study is flawed; if someone sent me an email that stated ““I really admire your work. Would you have some time to meet?” I’d be hesitant to respond just as a woman of color. This message as vague has an informal undertone, which I don’t think I or anyone in academia (assuming I was) would even feel comfortable with, particularly if you were a student of the opposite sex. Further, if the email was sent, who’s to say the professor didn’t ask [insert random student name here] to come speak to them after class just so they can put a face to a name and there’s no confusion and let that be considered their meeting .

    Also, while I understand how people can determine another’s ethnicity based on their name, you really wouldn’t know who it is unless they had their picture attached to it. This also doesn’t account for whether or not a university supplied email was used or not, considering the latter (either, but especially the latter) can go to spam. In a situation such as this the student would more than likely resend it or come up to the professor after class. And can we talk about how stereotypical the names are? I get what they were going for, but this study should’ve been hammered out a little more.

    • Brad

      Yea, you know those are some good points. Guess, its different for me to relate because to think about it. I may have had one class where the professor wouldn’t be able to place my name with a face.

    • MusiKCityK

      I once considered getting a PhD and there were tons of articles on how to write a professor to get a response and this example is likely to get one at a response.

  • Brad

    “6,500 professors at the top 250 schools”

    I wonder what schools these were. I would bet anything on the schools that wasn’t on this list.

    To be honest I can’t even make this an HBCU vs PWI thing. Because
    I doubt if you wouldn’t get a response back at a PWI with a small student
    population.

    I do know that for me back when I was at Tuskegee I never had an issue getting an email response back from a professor. Ok, fine there wasn’t email back then ;-) But, whenever you wanted to talk to a professor, his or her door was always open. I have never been taught by an assistant, in fact didn’t know what that was until hearing about it from friends at larger universities.

    Today my oldest is at FAMU and I know she gets great responses back from her professors, no decimation encountered. Of course over 60% of her professors look are black so that explains that.

    • As a FAMU alum, I never had the issue of not being able to get any time from my professors, but I was proactive and made sure my professors knew me by name and face.

    • Brad

      Yeap, and I am so glad she actually listened and took my advice on doing just that. It really does make a difference because, those professors will be a resource for you in more things than just the particular class there teaching.

  • ashleydark

    i never had a problem with contacting professors and i have horrible ghetto name.. then again i always sucked up on day one to the professors to the classes i knew i would fail so maybe thats why

  • Anthony

    I confess that I am a professor, and I have been bad at answering e-mails. My biggest problem was that I have not always been good about checking my inbox. Over the years I have gotten better simply because students deserve a response.

    I agree that I admire your work might not sound that good depending on who is sending the e-mail. It would be much better to send an e-mail asking to discuss a specific topic.

    Finally, I am not the least bit surprised that professors can be horrible about meeting with minority and women students who are trying to crack into fields where they are not common. I experienced that first hand. I will say that whenever I have a student who wants info about the profession, I will make time to help.

    • Child Please

      I liked your response and am glad someone in the profession spoke on the topic; I was going to include the first portion of your comment in my response, but you speaking on it personally just gives it more weight. I have always thought it weird that professors expect students to check their emails, but don’t do the same, lol! But that’s where the TAs come in hand (I also wonder if any emails were sent to TAs as well since they teach undergraduate courses as well).