diversity

Montclair State Students Charged With Racial Threat Hoax

Authorities have charged two African-American female students at Montclair State University with creating the racist threatening note they reported finding on their door, The Star-Ledger reported. Reports about the note left many black students feeling unsafe. The reported discovery of the threat against black students followed a campus rally against threats (real ones) that had been found against gay people.

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Racial Transfer Gap at California Community Colleges

California community colleges with the lowest student transfer rates to four-year colleges are "intensely segregated" or enroll high percentages of minority students, according to three new reports from the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles, while a "handful" of two-year colleges that serve largely white, Asian or middle-class students are responsible for the majority of transfers in the state. The group's third report takes on California's master plan, and calls for some the state's top community colleges to be given the authority to grant bachelor degrees.

ABA Urges Flexibility for Law School Applicants With Disabilities

The American Bar Association's House of Delegates has approved a resolution urging flexibility by the Law School Admission Council on requests for accommodations by people with disabilities when they take the Law School Admission Test. The resolution calls for information to be made available to test-takers on their options. Further, the resolution urges those involved in standardized testing not to differentiate between those who took the test with an accommodation and those who did not. While the resolution does not mention the council by name, the measure appears a clear reference to legal disputes the council has faced over requests from some test-takers for accommodations, and for those accommodations not to be "flagged" to law schools.

 

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Title IX Officials Support OCR 'Dear Colleague' Letter

The Association of Title IX Administrators, a group of officials charged with ensuring gender equity on campuses, issued a declaration of support Monday for the Office for Civil Rights’ controversial “dear colleague” letter that reiterated institutional responsibilities in responding to and preventing sexual assault. The declaration was co-authored by the Women's Sports Foundation.

The letter has drawn negative responses from general counsels and free speech groups, particularly for its clarification that, when considering complaints of harassment and assault, institutions need only apply a preponderance of evidence standard – meaning it’s “more likely than not” that the complaint has merit. While critics have worried the standard might lead a college’s judicial body to issue unwarranted punishments, the association called the standard “the only equitable choice under Title IX as it avoids the presumption, inherent in a higher standard of proof, that the word of a victim is less weighty than the word of an accused individual’s denial.”

The administrators praised the letter’s emphasis on equitable treatment for victims and accused students. Both parties are entitled to certain privileges – a campus advocate for the victim, for instance, or fair notice of the charges for the accused – that colleges have at times been criticized for violating.

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Data on Growing Education Gap Between Rich and Poor

An article in The New York Times today highlights several recent studies suggesting that education gaps between rich and poor students are growing -- from elementary school through college. At the same time, race-based gaps are narrowing. “We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist.

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Discussing Scholarly Associations, Boycotts and Politics

When should scholarly associations honor a boycott? The Organization of American Historians is promoting a philosophical discussion of the issue, which has been challenging to many disciplinary associations, in an online discussion that will serve as an introduction to discussion at the OAH's annual meeting this year. Several disciplinary associations -- including the OAH -- have moved meetings because of boycotts of particularly hotels or cities or states. Most disciplinary meetings are set up years in advance, making it difficult to predict where a boycott may be in effect, and last-minute moves can be very expensive to associations, which may be stuck with bills for unused hotels. The online discussion features a sustained conversation among a group of noted historians -- including officers of the OAH and the American Historical Association. While the discussion suggests that participants would see some boycotts as appropriate in some circumstances, many questions are raised about when a disciplinary association should take a stand, and whether it is responsible to do so if such actions would endanger the financial health of the associations. The OAH is now inviting others to join the online discussion.

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Court finds HR director's free speech rights were limited

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Federal judge finds no First Amendment violation in U. of Toledo getting rid of HR director who -- contrary to university's policies -- wrote op-ed saying that gay people don't deserve civil rights protections.

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