By Ben Zeisloft
A summer accounting program for high school students sponsored by several New York universities does not permit white students to apply. After Campus Reform reached out to the universities for comment, one began second-guessing its sponsorship of the program.
The “Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession” program — sponsored by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Moynihan Scholarship Fund — will introduce 250 “promising underrepresented high school students” to the accounting profession.
In addition to virtual sessions about forensic accounting, interviewing skills, public speaking, networking, and an “accounting profession overview” featuring a panel discussion with experts in the profession.
Nine institutions of higher education in New York — including Ithaca College, Medgar Evers College, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John’s University, Siena College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, the University at Buffalo, and Westchester Community College — are listed as hosts for the program, which is free of charge for students.
The online application for the program, however, does not include an option white students to apply. Although the application form includes options for Hispanic, Black, Asian, and Native American students, there exists no option for White students.
Five of the nine schools participating in the program — including Medgar Evers College, SUNY New Paltz, SUNY Oswego, the University at Buffalo, and Westchester Community College — are public universities funded by New York state.
One father — who wished to remain anonymous due to his involvement with families in his community — explained his frustration with the program to Campus Reform.
“My child is a junior in high school who has expressed an interest in a career in business,” he told Campus Reform. After he received a flyer for the program, he realized that his “child can’t apply because he’s white.”
SUNY Oswego Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott Furlong told Campus Reform that “the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants sets the policy to provide the Career Opportunities in the Accounting Profession (COAP) program exclusively to high school students of color.”
“SUNY Oswego participates in supporting the program and sees this as a beneficial service to the profession, but we strongly believe that all disadvantaged students would benefit from the COAP program,” he remarked. “While we do not participate in recruiting the student participants in COAP or in the setting of policy for student membership, SUNY Oswego would prefer a more inclusive perspective regarding membership in COAP and the NYSSCPA policy.”
A more inclusive approach would “align with SUNY Oswego’s ethos that is rooted in diversity of thought and people, equitable practices and policies, and inclusive experiences.” According to Furlong, the matter “merits much future discussion for the purposes of having SUNY Oswego reassess our involvement and reconsider our sponsorship.”
For its part, SUNY Oswego stated in a 2017 news article that the four-day program ” showcases opportunities and builds skills for the world of business.”
Originally published by Campus Reform. Republished with permission.