U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday said future diversity on college campuses is a key to diversifying society at large, noting that the number of black students at the University of Michigan is a “real problem.”
Sotomayor received an honorary degree and participated in a forum about the future of university communities as part of a series of events this year celebrating the University of Michigan’s bicentennial.
Sotomayor, the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court and daughter of Puerto Rican-born parents, was asked by a moderator what a university will need to look like in the years ahead to be inclusive and innovative.
“It’s going to look a lot like Michigan,” she said to applause, “but with even greater diversity.”
The percentage of black undergraduate students at the University of Michigan has been pretty steady in recent years at less than 5 percent. Hispanics are 5.5 percent. White undergraduates are 65.4 percent.
The U.S. is “making large improvements toward” an equal society, Sotomayor said, but “we’re still far from it.”