A Duke University student has admitted to placing a noose on a tree on campus -- an incident that alarmed many on the campus. The university, citing privacy laws, did not release much detail about the student or the motivations for the noose placement. But the university statement on the matter said that "the student is no longer on campus."
Black basketball coaches are faring poorly in the annual firings and hirings that accompany the end of the college basketball season, The Chicago Tribune reported. In the most recent national study, black coaches made up 22 percent of Division I head men's basketball coaches -- a figure that stands out, considering that 58 percent of male college basketball players are black. In the current round of coaching changes, 11 of the 25 who have left their positions are black. Of the eight black coaches for whom replacements have been announced, seven are white.
The University of Maryland at College Park has concluded that an offensive email in which a fraternity member told brothers to ignore the idea that women need to consent to sex, and in which he used a series of racist and sexist terms, is protected by the First Amendment. "This private email, while hateful and reprehensible, did not violate university policies and is protected by the First Amendment," said a statement issued by Wallace D. Loh, president of the university. That the author of the email can't be legally punished, Loh wrote, does not mean that the hurt it caused was not real. The email "caused anger and anguish, pain and fear, among many people. It subverts our core values of inclusivity, human dignity, safety and mutual respect. When any one of us is harmed by the hateful speech of another, all of us are harmed," Loh wrote.
The university previously announced that the author of the email and the university had "mutually agreed" that he would not be enrolled for the rest of the semester. Loh's statement included an apology from the student. "I regret sending that email more than I'll ever be able to put into words," he wrote. "I know there is no way to erase this incident or the agony it has caused, but I want you to know that I will strive to never use such language again. I have learned an important life lesson, realizing there is no room for hate or prejudice of any kind in our community. I am committed to becoming a better person, a person that appreciates differences."
Many college leaders are speaking out against Indiana's new law allowing individuals and businesses to discriminate if they feel called upon by their religious beliefs to do so. Among the more notable reactions Tuesday:
Pat Haden, athletics director at the University of Southern California, announced he would skip a college football playoff meeting in Indianapolis this week. Haden wrote on Twitter: "I am the proud father of a gay son. In his honor, I will not be attending the C.F.P. committee meeting in Indy this week. #EmbraceDiversity"
The University of Connecticut announced that its men's basketball staff would stay away from meetings normally held at the Final Four, this year in Indianapolis, because "UConn is a community that values all of our members and treats each person with the same degree of respect, regardless of their background and beliefs and we will not tolerate any other behavior."
The University of Notre Dame, cited by many defenders of the law as a religious institution in need of protection, issued a statement that appeared to distance itself from the push for the law. The statement said in full: "Notre Dame’s name has been invoked with regard to Indiana's version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. While the university does not comment on specific pieces of state legislation, and had no role in the passage of the Indiana statute, we reiterate our commitment as a Catholic university to maintaining a community where all are welcome and valued, to combating unjust discrimination wherever it occurs, and to respecting all rights, including, but not limited to, the foundational right to the free exercise of religion."
The University of Oklahoma announced Tuesday that it has hired Jabar Shumate as its new vice president overseeing diversity and inclusion initiatives. Shumate is a former Oklahoma state senator and a former press secretary for David Boren, the University of Oklahoma's president. "I knew that this person had to be someone in whom I had complete trust," Boren said during a news conference Tuesday. "Complete trust in their actions, complete trust in their motives, complete trust in their good judgment."
The hire came weeks after a video surfaced showing members of Oklahoma's Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter singing a racist song, prompting the university to sever ties with the fraternity and engage in an ongoing conversation about diversity on campus.
San Francisco State bars use of university funds to travel to Indiana. Connecticut governor bars all public colleges (and other state agencies) from using state funds to do so. Do these moves raise academic freedom issues?
Connecticut College called off classes Monday to discuss the campus climate in the wake of recent incidents. The schedule for the day included both unstructured time and periods for students to gather to talk in groups large and small with themselves, faculty members and senior administrators. The campus has for a month been debating a Facebook post by a professor that has been criticized as hate speech against Palestinians by some and defended as a political critique of Hamas by others. Then racist graffiti appeared on campus, setting the stage for Monday's programs.