Tuesday, May 08, 2001

University officials gauge riots' effects

Numbers don't show drop in admissions

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Anxiety has shifted to muted optimism at the University of Cincinnati as the freshman admissions staff contemplates the impact of last month's riots.

        In the week after the violence, vice president Mitchel Livingston was “fearful” that the images would hurt recruiting.

        Friday, Terry Davis, UC director of admissions, was “quite pleased” with what she has seen in the past three weeks.

        Prospective students and their parents came to campus as planned for college visitation day, she said, and letters of acceptance for fall are up 8 percent over last year and 16.6 percent over the past five years.

        But the school will have to wait until late summer to find out whether the drop-off of confirmed admissions exceeds the 5 percent UC typically sees when prospective freshmen cancel dorm reservations.

        Equally important, UC spokesman Greg Hand said, there hasn't been a noticeable drop in attendance at events on campus.

        Another positive response came from Marc Camille, Xavier University dean of admissions.

        In the days after the riot, Mr. Camille received a handful of calls about the Evanston campus' proximity to violence. Most came from out-of-town parents of high-school students planning to attend or visit XU.

        Friday, Mr. Camille said freshmen are confirming their places for fall at the usual rate despite the riots. He has 811 acceptance letters for the 775 openings. “That's normal. That's exactly where we want to be.”

        At the College of Mount St. Joseph in Delhi Township, spokeswoman Linda Liebau said colleagues had received no calls about the riot and they expect no impact on enrollment.

        She said the first on-campus group registration day on April 21 was “very successful” with no cancellations.

        UC, which sits about a mile from the heart of the violence in Over-the-Rhine and is near Walnut Hills and Avondale, has more to worry about.

        It already is sensitive to parents' negative impressions of the older neighborhoods on its east and south edges where it is working with residents' groups.

        Even so, Dr. Livingston said he didn't receive many “panic” calls when rioting broke out, but the farther from Cincinnati they lived, the more the callers perceived UC to be “in the heart of where the disruptions did occur.”


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