diversity

'American Sniper' Will Be Screened at U of Maryland

After a student organization at the University of Maryland at College Park called off a screening of the film American Sniper, two other student groups have decided to show the movie instead. The College Republicans and College Democrats at Maryland announced Tuesday that they will screen American Sniper on Monday and moderate a panel discussion following the film.

American Sniper was originally scheduled to be shown at a screening organized by Maryland's Student Entertainment Events, a student group that arranges for films, comedians and musicians to come to campus. After receiving a petition from the university's Muslim Student Association and meeting with concerned students -- who argued that the film fuels "anti-Arab and anti-Islamic sentiments" and "helps to proliferate the marginalization of multiple groups and communities" -- the group decided to put off the screening until at least next semester. The decision prompted widespread outrage and media coverage as several other colleges have faced similar protests over screenings of the film.

In a statement Tuesday, Wallace Loh, Maryland's president, praised the College Republicans and College Democrats for organizing the new screening, but condemned the "venomous, racist and hateful messages" directed at the Muslim Student Association over the last week. He also criticized Maryland politicians and national news organizations that continue to mischaracterize the decision as being made by the university, not a student group.

"MSA members were right to speak up for what they believe in," Loh said. "They deserve our admiration, not the scorn and vitriol they got on Facebook. I also applaud the student leaders of SEE for listening to the concerns of their fellow students. Their decision to reschedule the screening so a constructive dialogue could be held marks the exercise of free speech and a sensitivity to campus values of respect and inclusion. I am proud of our College Republicans and College Democrats for working together on the screening and panel discussion of American Sniper. Working together, despite differences in philosophy and doctrine, is a laudable example for us all."

Latinos in Higher Education

California's 15 million Latinos have made strides in their educational attainment in recent decades, but deep achievement gaps persist, according to a new report from the Campaign for College Opportunity, an advocacy group. For example, only 12 percent of working-age Latinos in the state hold a bachelor's degree, the report found, compared to 42 percent of non-Hispanic white Californians. Latinos are underrepresented across all three of the state's higher education systems. And the report found that roughly two-thirds of those students attend community colleges, where only 39 percent earn a degree or certificate or transfer within six years.

Another recently released report found that, nationwide, more Latinos are earning credentials in health professions. The study, from Excelencia in Education, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that Latinos who graduated with credentials in health professions in 2013 were highly concentrated in certificate and associate-degree programs for some of the fastest-growing occupations in the nation. But those jobs are typically in support roles, such as personal care aides and home health aides. And those jobs tend to pay less than ones in practitioner roles, such as dentists, physicians and surgeons.

“Health care support jobs pay about a quarter as much as health care practitioners, so this is a very real disparity," Deborah Santiago, Excelencia in Education’s chief operating officer and vice president for policy, who co-authored the report, said in a written statement.

Marquette Protest on Diversity, University Seal

Four Marquette University students were arrested Monday as part of a protest on a range of diversity-related issues, WISN News reported. The students were arrested after they sat in the middle of a Milwaukee intersection. The protest was organized by the Ad Hoc Coalition of and for Students of Color. While university officials did not endorse all of the group's demands, they said that they were committed to working with students to make the university inclusive. Among the group's demands: expanded efforts to recruit and retain minority students, the expansion of the core curriculum to require more diversity-related education and redesigning the university seal. The seal shows the Reverend Jacques Marquette, a 17th-century Jesuit missionary, with Native Americans. The protesters call the image “biased” for not adequately reflecting the way Native Americans guided him.

 

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Swastikas at 3 Student Residences at Stanford

Stanford University authorities are investigating and condemning the spray painting of swastikas and anarchy symbols on three student residences at the university. The three houses -- a co-op, Casa Italiana and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity -- likely have or had some Jewish residents over the years, but are not identified as Jewish institutions or notably popular with Jewish students. Stanford President John Hennessy issued a statement in which he said in part: "I am deeply troubled by the act of vandalism, including symbols of hate, that has marred our campus. The university will not tolerate hate crimes and this incident will be fully investigated, both by campus police and by the university."

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Women in gaming discuss role of academics in understanding Gamergate

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At a conference for women in gaming, speakers debate the role of academics in understanding movements such as Gamergate and the harassment some scholars face.

Obama Urged to Add Sex Assault Protections at Military Academies

The Service Women's Action Network sent a proposed executive order to the White House Monday, urging President Obama to create protections against gender discrimination at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and the Military Academy at West Point. Unlike other higher education institutions, military service academics are exempt from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which -- among other protections -- mandates that colleges quickly and competently investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual assault. The proposed executive action would explicitly bar gender and sex discrimination and empower the U.S. Department of Defense to enforce the order in a way similar to how the Department of Education enforces Title IX.

The prevalent argument now is that military academies are different enough from colleges that it doesn't make sense to apply a law meant for civilian institutions. Cadets, like all members of the armed services, are already subject to the uniform code of military justice. As the code is the foundation of military law, academy cadets can face much harsher punishments than typical college students. Colleges can suspend or expel a student they believe committed a sexual assault. Academy cadets can be court-martialed. But victims' advocates say there are few sanctions for academies that mishandle cases of sexual assault.

"Currently, victims of sex discrimination at service academies can complain only to their commanding officers and service academies’ administrations by appealing up the chain of command, and cannot seek relief outside of the military system," SWAN said in a statement. "This process provides no option to challenge discriminatory academy policies or a school’s inadequate procedures to address sexual assault and harassment reports. The lack of protections for cadets and midshipmen contrasts sharply with the array of sex discrimination prohibitions that protect civilian students, including Title IX, which does not apply to the service academies."

Essay on how departments and conferences can welcome transgender academics

Lisa Hager offers advice on how to create an inclusive environment for departmental colleagues and conference attendees.

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Screening of 'American Sniper' at U of Maryland called off after outcry

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Film called off at U of Maryland. Unlike debate at Michigan, the senior administration declines to step in.

Report Cites Low-Income Students' Success at Small Private Colleges

Nonwealthy private colleges are often left out of the discussion about how low-income students can get access to and succeed in higher education, with policy makers putting most of their focus on the institutions that disproportionately enroll those students (community colleges and for-profit institutions) and those that they think should enroll more -- flagship public and wealthy private universities. That rankles officials at small private colleges, who argue that their institutions provide more access to those students (and turn them out with better outcomes) than do many other types of colleges.

A group representing those institutions, the Council of Independent Colleges, makes that case formally in a report released Wednesday. The association's report presents data showing that small and midsize private colleges enroll first-generation and low-income students at higher proportions than do public and private research universities, and that those students are likelier to graduate from the private institutions than they are from public doctoral universities. The report also urges school counselors to encourage more students to attend "the institutions where they are most likely to flourish, namely, smaller private colleges," and asks state and federal policy makers to recognize the role these institutions play as they allocate financial aid and other dollars to maximize student success in college.

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Unusual Protest for More Gender-Neutral Restrooms

California Polytechnic University's Queer Student Union organized a demonstration (please be warned that link features an image of excrement) Thursday to protest the university's lack of restrooms that can safely be used by transgender students. The demonstration, in which students were encouraged to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus, was called a "shit-in."

The demonstrators also circulated a petition urging the university to create more gender-neutral restrooms and encouraged students to sign a fake toilet to show their support. "Trans/gender nonconforming students often cite a lack of all-gender bathrooms as a top concern," the petition reads. "Gendered bathrooms pose a threat to the emotional and physical well-being of this demographic, and often force awkward and uncomfortable encounters for non-cisgender-identifying students. Of the 17 all-gender bathrooms listed on the Pride Center's website, the Queer Student Union has identified only five bathrooms that are reasonably accessible, leaving non-cisgender students with a paltry amount of options when it comes to using the bathroom."

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