The following graph below was created by storyline.js and details the relative percent of African American non-Hispanic enrollments, respectively.
In 1994, there was less than 1% enrollment of Black non-Hispanic students. There are not a lot of sources detailing the demographics of the University of Scranton prior to 1994, so we cannot know for certain if years before then also had a less than 1% Black non-Hispanic student enrollment rate. However, for the academic year of 1984-1985, it can be seen that (while 10 were accepted) there was only one Black non-Hispanic student to enroll in that year.
In the 1980s there was an average enrollment rate of 20% Black students. This increased to about 32% in a study conducted in 2008 (National Center for Education Statistics, n.d). Despite this, the University of Scranton still retained an enrollment rate of Black non-Hispanic students of less than 3%, and the percent shrinking annually every year going back from 2008. Even in 2020, the University did not achieve an enrollment rate of Black non-Hispanic students larger than 3%.
The University adopted its afffirmative action program for college enrollments with the Statement of Commitment, 1977 (left).
To understand what affirmative action in college entails and the history of it we looked at the (secondary) source "Evaluating the Rationale for Affirmative Action in College Admissions: Direct and Indirect Relationships between Campus Diversity and Gains in Understanding Diverse Groups", an academic journal article from John Hopkins University Press written by Gary R. Pike, George D. Kuh, and Robert M. Gonyea.
In this article, we found that “The legal justification for affirmative action in admissions is Justice Powell’s University of California Regents v. Bakke (1978) opinion which held that it is permissible to use race/ethnicity as one of several factors in admission decisions if racial/ethnic diversity is demonstrated to improve the quality of the educational experience” (page 166).
The article also concluded that “greater diversity in the student population is associated with higher levels of interaction among peers from different backgrounds and who held different views. Higher levels of interactional diversity, in turn, are associated with greater gains in understanding people from different races and cultures” (page 178).
Because of this, we can conclude that the University's Affirmative Action plan (The Statement of Commitment, 1977) was another way that the University tried to be racially inclusive.