ERIC Number: ED223170
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Politics of Structural Change in American Higher Education: The Case of Open Admissions at the City University of New York. [Report from the] Project on Politics and Inequality in American Higher Education.
Karabel, James; And Others
The political dynamics surrounding the adoption of an open admissions policy at the City University of New York (CUNY) are discussed. Analysis of the case of CUNY also provides a basis for considering the politics of structural change in American higher education. It is suggested that when Chancellor Albert Bowker took office in 1963, he followed a systematic policy of rapid institutional expansion. In view of the fact that CUNY's traditional constituency, the Jewish population, was declining, Bowker hoped to increase enrollments by incorporating the Black and Puerto Rican communities into the CUNY coalition. Bitter conflict ensued over the pace of change: for many of the increasingly militant minority population, it was too slow, while for many White ethnics, it was too fast. The seizure of the South Campus at City College in 1968 presented Bowker with an opportunity to capitalize upon widespread fear of racial insurrection to break an admission stalemate between Blacks and Jews. He was able to use the mobilization of the City's Blacks and Puerto Rican masses to realize his objective of adopting a policy of universal access to CUNY. The open admissions policy ended the battles over places in the freshman class and also meant that the university's resources would increase. It is concluded that, above all, open admissions constituted a solution to a distinctively political problem faced by the university. As long as the demand for places in the university far exceeded the supply, the issue of admissions would have been one of conflict. Any attempt to expand opportunities for minorities at CUNY at the expense of other groups would have aroused great opposition. The substantial size of the City's growing minority populations required that they be incorporated into the CUNY coalition. (SW)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Administrator Role, Black Students, Case Studies, Change Strategies, College Admission, Conflict Resolution, Declining Enrollment, Dissent, Educational History, Enrollment Trends, Ethnic Groups, Higher Education, Jews, Minority Groups, Open Enrollment, Political Influences, Public Education, Puerto Ricans, Racial Relations, School Community Relationship, Urban Universities
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Huron Inst., Cambridge, MA.