Minority law students at Harvard University have been occupying a student lounge at the university's law school since last week. The students call the lounge "Belinda Hall," after a slave of one of the early donors to the law school. After protests by minority law students last year, the law school administration pledged to work to make the institution more inclusive, but Reclaim Harvard Law School, the group occupying the lounge, says administrators have not done enough.
The group's website says: "Since the law school refuses to provide adequate institutional support for an office of diversity and inclusion, hire critical race theorists, promote staff of color in the workplace to management positions in their due course, provide adequate contextualization in curricula, educate its professors, its staff and its students around cultural competency, take the steps that are necessary to accord adequate and equal dignity to marginalized students and staff, Reclaim Harvard Law aims to provide that space at the law school. Reclaim assumes the burden of educating ourselves and others in spite of this institution and not because of it."
A spokesperson for the law school told Boston.com that "HLS deeply values diversity and inclusion," and that officials are working to address student concerns.
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro's board voted last week to change the name of the Aycock Auditorium (right), which has honored Charles B. Aycock, who served as governor of North Carolina from 1901 to 1905. Aycock was a supporter of public education -- for white people -- but was a white supremacist who pushed to limit rights for black people. The university is starting a process to determine a new name for the auditorium. Duke University changed the name of a residence hall honoring Aycock in 2014.
A debate has been set off at the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater over a photo on Snapchat that appears to show two students in blackface (at right). Beverly Kopper, the chancellor, sent a message to the campus condemning the image and calling for more campus discussions of inclusiveness. But then the students said that they were not engaged in blackface but were using cosmetics to give themselves a facial treatment. That prompted Steve Nass, a state legislator, to condemn the chancellor, saying she had overreacted in a "knee-jerk" way. Some black students are saying that, even if one was not seeking to portray blackface, people should know not to post images that look like blackface.
Two Jewish professors have filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging Wheelock College with anti-Jewish bias, The Boston Globe reported. The complaints say that after the professors complained about a lack of Jewish perspective in various campus discussions, the administration spread false reports that they were racist, hurting their reputations and careers. Wheelock officials said the claims were "without merit."
Justice's death may not change outcome on affirmative action, which he opposed. His record includes key votes and dissents on issues of black colleges, hate speech, single-sex public higher education and church-state line.