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MITES Broadens Admits

By Jeremiah Y. Yu

The Minority Introduction to Engineering, Entrepeneurship and Science Program, known as MITES, has admitted non-minority students for the first time.

Though final decisions will not be made until the end of May, Karl W. Reid ’84, the MITES director, said “there are some non-minority students accepted” into the program. Non-minority students include Asian, white and Middle Eastern students.

Five percent of the approximately 500 applicants this year were non-minority students, Reid said. MITES is trying to accept 75-80 students.

Though the program has not admitted non-minorities in the past, the number of non-minority students applying to the program this year has not been much different from previous years. Unlike previous years “everyone will have a chance of getting into the program,” Reid said. This year “all applicants are being reviewed.”

The small number of non-minority students applying to the program has allowed MITES to admit them while still maintaining its goal of minority outreach, Reid said.

As a result, “no students are at a disadvantage because of race,” Reid said. “There really is no differential.”

Reid emphasized that other criteria were being used to determine admissions.

According to the MITES Web site, students that are first in their family to attend college or students that attend a school that has historically sent less than 50% of its graduates to four-year colleges will be given special consideration.

Reid said that MITES also targets kids from rural and urban areas.

MITES decided to admit non-minority students after two groups, the Center for Equal Opportunity and the American Civil Rights Institute, filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

After the MITES policy change, MITES admissions officers sent letters to 366 high schools in five cities encouraging non-minority students to apply. Despite this initial move to publicize the new policy, Reid said he does not see a need for an aggressive recruitment effort of non-minority students in the future. He said that he has already received calls from non-minority ninth-graders interested in participating in the program.

MIT President Charles M. Vest described the new admissions policy as provisional last February. Reid said that there is a committee is forming to assess how the MITES admissions policy will change in the future. The committee will consist of MITES alumni and MIT administrators and faculty, Reid said.