Charles Koch is giving -- through his foundation and business -- $25.6 million to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to support research by scholars at historically black colleges on education, criminal justice and entrepreneurship in areas that face high crime rates, The Washington Post reported. The fund, which primarily supports public historically black colleges, will create a research center on those topics.
Gifts by the Koch brothers (Charles is one of them) and their businesses and foundations have been controversial in higher education. A 2014 gift to the United Negro College Fund prompted criticism of the organization. Many noted that the brothers have spent scores of millions of dollars backing candidates who advocate sharp reductions in federal spending (on which black colleges and their students depend) and who campaign against just about every initiative of the Obama administration.
Submitted by Emily Tate on January 11, 2017 - 3:00am
As enrollment in graduate programs becomes more common, income, race and ethnicity continue to play major roles in determining who pursues these advanced degrees, according to research from the Urban Institute.
A new report -- titled “Who Goes to Graduate School and Who Succeeds?” -- is the first in a series exploring graduate enrollment patterns, funding and completion. This brief explores the demographic breakdown of students who pursue advanced degrees.
The authors came to several key conclusions in the report:
Students from high-income backgrounds disproportionately pursue graduate degrees, complete master’s degrees and choose a field that promises high wages. When students from low-income backgrounds go to graduate school, they most often pursue master’s degrees, rather than professional or doctoral degrees, which result in higher average salaries.
Of black students who hold bachelor’s degrees, about 36 percent earn advanced degrees -- similar to the number of white students (37 percent) who do. However, only 8 percent of black adults aged 25 years or older holds an advanced degree, compared with 14 percent of white adults, indicating that the larger hurdle is completing a bachelor's degree. The authors described the bachelor's degree-holding black students as having "already beaten the odds." Black students are also more likely to complete master’s degrees over other graduate degrees.
Men, Asians and younger students are significantly more likely to enroll in professional graduate programs, such as medicine or law. Conversely, master’s degree programs tends to attract more women, African-Americans and low-income students.
The American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity on Saturday released a letter urging the U.S. Senate to reject President-elect Donald Trump's nomination of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general. The group includes many campus diversity and equal opportunity officers, and the letter highlighted a Sessions quote on affirmative action from 1997. At the time, he said, "I think it has, in fact, been a cause of irritation and perhaps has delayed the kind of movement to racial harmony we ought to be going forward [with] today. I think it makes people unhappy if they lost a contract or a right to go to a school or a privilege to attend a university simply because of their race." The diversity group's letter says that Sessions has continued to espouse such views, in particular when rejecting some of President Obama's judicial nominees. This view, the group says, distorts affirmative action in implying that colleges are accepting or rejecting candidates based on race alone.
Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick on Thursday introduced and said he would push legislation -- similar to a controversial North Carolina law -- that would bar public colleges and universities from letting transgender people use multiple-unit bathrooms other than those associated with their biological gender at birth. Patrick is a Republican and his position is a powerful one in Texas. Civil rights groups have vowed to fight the bill and have noted that the North Carolina law has led many organizations to move events outside the state. Further, they note that the law would violate the Obama administration's interpretations of federal law -- although those interpretations currently face court challenges and are likely to be withdrawn by the incoming Trump administration.
Many public colleges and universities nationally permit transgender students to use the bathrooms that correspond to their gender identities.
Republican legislators in Wisconsin last month threatened to cut funds from the University of Wisconsin at Madison for offering a course on race relations called The Problem of Whiteness. University officials have defended the course and denied allegations that the course denigrates white people.
Now the same legislators are criticizing a voluntary six-week program at Madison, in which men talk about masculinity, and saying that should be cut as well. “Our friends at UW Madison not happy enough with labeling 'whiteness' as a societal problem, now are attacking another societal ill … men and their masculinity,” said an email from State Senator Steve Nass to The Capital Times.
A press release from the university said that the program (similar to those at many other colleges) "operates on a transformative model of social justice allyship. First, facilitators ask students to consider how the students’ opinions about masculinity affect their own perceptions every day. Second, they consider how those opinions affect the people around them. Finally, the program examines how those perceptions affect the whole campus community."
Most gender and women’s studies programs preach to the converted and lack courses that would appeal to men -- or, for that matter, women who don’t have particular political leanings, argues Hallie Lieberman.
The Business History Conference, an affiliate of the American Historical Association, has announced that it will change the location of its 2018 meeting from Charlotte, N.C., to Baltimore. The organization has been considering such a move to protest HB2, the North Carolina law that bars localities from extending anti-bias protections to gay people, and that requires public institutions -- including public colleges and universities -- to bar transgender people from using bathrooms other than those associated with their biological gender assigned at birth. (The law is currently not being enforced in higher education, pending litigation.)
Several academic organizations -- as well as the National Collegiate Athletic Association -- moved events from North Carolina after the law was first passed this year. Other groups -- such as the business history group -- held off on fully canceling events in the state because of reports that the North Carolina General Assembly would this month repeal HB2. When that didn't happen, the business group moved ahead with its plans to relocate the meeting to Baltimore. "We simply cannot meet in a state that sanctions discrimination against LGBT individuals—which includes some of our own members," said a statement from Roger Horowitz, a historian at the University of Delaware who is secretary-treasurer of the Business History Conference.
Via email, Horowitz said that about 300 people typically attend the conference, and spend $120,000 on lodging costs.