Georgetown University is among the top 50 colleges for African Americans, according to a study released by Black Enterprise agazine and DayStar Research.

The list, which names Georgetown as the number 9 school for black college students in America, rated over 3,000 institutions of higher learning. Georgetown ranked second behind Stanford among historically non-black universities that supports African Americans in their academic endeavors.

Georgetown was ranked No. 11 by the same study in 1999.

Thomas A. LaVeist, associate professor of health policy and management and sociology at Johns Hopkins University and CEO of DayStar Research, conducted the survey. “[This ranking] means that Georgetown has a very positive reputation among African American higher education professionals,” he said.

After an initial screening during which universities were ranked according to their percentage of African American students, a condensed list was compiled. This catalog of colleges was further divided into five distinct categories based on the size of the student body, national reputation and geographic diversity. The five resulting groups included national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities, regional liberal arts colleges and historically black universities and colleges.

“You have to know that the people who are making these studies do not attend the universities that they are ranking,” Vice President of the Georgetown Black Student Alliance Shaina Jones (SFS ’03) said. ” [It is] the same thing for U.S. News and World Report when they are ranking colleges,” she added.

Ira Riguad (SFS ’04), another African American student, commented in a similar manner on the usefulness of the recently published list.

“This ranking has little or no effect on me and probably has little or no effect on the black community in general,” he said.

The final component of the ranking involved obtaining input from African American professionals employed by the universities included in the survey. DayStar sent questionnaires to college presidents, faculty members and admission administrators asking them to rate the institutions on a scale of one to five. “They were asked to rate the schools they had some knowledge of on their academic and social environments for black students,” an article in Black Enterprise said.

Despite the systematic and comprehensive nature of the study, some Georgetown students still question the validity and helpfulness of the rankings.

“I don’t think anyone should base whether or not they’re going to a university based on someone’s study,” Jones said. “Your most important tool is visiting the campus and speaking to students who already attend, sitting in on classes and reading material on the university . getting as much of a first hand experience as possible,” she added.

While Jones may have doubts regarding the authority of the rankings, she didn’t say that Georgetown’s high ranking was necessarily unsuitable. “There are a whole lot of other schools that you could go to that wouldn’t be up to Georgetown’s caliber in terms of dealing with minority issues,” she said.

Merlyne Nougues (MSB ’04), a Haitian-American, agreed that the university is comparatively efficient in regards to encouraging minority programs. “Georgetown does a good job of promoting diversity as is exemplified by the numerous clubs on campus,” she said.

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