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Quick Takes: Blackface Incidents at Whitman and Texas A

November 9, 2006
  • Whitman College called off classes Thursday for a day of diversity programs after photographs appeared online of some students wearing blackface at a party, as part of an attempt to dress like participants in the "Survivor" reality television show in which team members were divided by race, the Associated Press reported. At Texas A&M University, officials are denouncing an online video by three students in which one student, in blackface, plays the role of a "slave" who  is whipped and sodomized by his "master." Students have been holding forums about and protests of the video.
  • The Maricopa Community College District has barred administrators from taking all-expenses-aid (by the district) foreign trips, The Arizona Republic reported. The new rules follow the newspaper's report several weeks ago on numerous trips abroad by officials of Mesa Community College and the expenses on those trips -- some of which involved fancy meals or tourism.
  • President Bush on Wednesday said that he would nominate Robert M. Gates, president of Texas A&M University and a former director of the Central Intelligance Agency, as the next secretary of defense. Gates, president at Texas A&M since 2002, has won praise for improving research programs, and increasing minority enrollments -- despite his ban on the use of racial preferences.
  • Nine scholars and the Hoover Institution were on Wednesday named by President Bush as recipients of National Humanities Medals for 2006. The scholars include two whose writings on Islam and the Middle East have been influential with the Bush administration: Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University and Bernard Lewis of Princeton University. Another scholar being honored is Mary Lefkowitz, a classicist at Wellesley College who has challenged Afrocentric theory.
  • Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and an assistant secretary of state, Dina Habib Powell, will lead 12 college presidents and chancellors on a trip to Japan, Korea and China next week to promote American higher education, the department announced Wednesday. The presidents and their institutions are: John B. Simpson, State University of New York at Buffalo; Henry T. Yang, University of California at Santa Barbara; Bernard Machen, University of Florida; Adam W. Herbert, Indiana University; William Brody, Johns Hopkins University; Karen A. Holbrook, Ohio State University; Stephen M. Curtis, Community College of Philadelphia; H. James Owen, Piedmont Community College; Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; David W. Leebron, Rice University; Philip W. Eaton, Seattle Pacific University; Steadman Upham, University of Tulsa.
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