The Brown Daily Herald, the student newspaper at Brown University, has apologized for publishing two opinion columns this week that angered many minority students. One of the pieces remains online with a note of apology. The other, which editors decided not to publish online after the print version of the newspaper was already being printed with the column, appeared in print only and not online. The editors said that they should not have published either column, one of which they said was based on the idea of biological differences among the races and the other of which suggested that Native Americans should be thankful for the colonial arrival in America.
"Newspapers have a sacred responsibility to promote the free exchange of ideas, but that responsibility is designed to protect both those with controversial opinions and those whose voices are frequently excluded," the apology from the newspaper said. "The Herald’s opinions section has too infrequently been a platform for the latter."
The National Merit Scholarship Program has announced that it is phasing out its National Achievement Scholarship Program, which has provided aid to black students since 1964. The National Merit Scholarship Program has been widely criticized for picking semifinalists for its program based on PSAT scores, and black students, on average, do not score as highly as white or Asian students on that test. The program announced that the program for black students -- after meeting commitments to current scholars -- would be transferred to the UNCF. That organization will run a new program to provide assistance to high-achieving college graduates from underrepresented groups.
In today's Academic Minute, Mary Murphy, assistant professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University at Bloomington, discusses women in STEM fields. Learn more about the Academic Minute here.
Submitted by Paul Fain on September 28, 2015 - 3:00am
Ivory Toldson is the new executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the U.S. Department of Education announced on Friday. Toldson has been deputy director of the initiative since 2013. He follows George Cooper, the previous executive director, who died in July.
A former professor of psychology at Howard and Southern Universities, Toldson also has worked for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, congratulated Toldson in a written statement. "Despite difficult circumstances," Duncan said, "he and the initiative’s team have continued to remain focused on their work and the students they serve."
Submitted by Josh Logue on September 24, 2015 - 3:00am
Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School rescinded a speaking invitation to a Palestinian rights activist after he received death threats and a Jewish organization raised concerns over his past statements, according to The Democrat and Chronicle.
The Reverend Graylan Hagler, a senior minister of the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ and vocal supporter of Palestinian rights, said he didn’t ask for the additional security that Colgate Rochester insisted it would need, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester said its officials did not specifically ask that the event be canceled.
Still, “after certain concerning facts came to light,” Colgate Rochester President Marvin McMickle said in a statement, the college is “no longer prepared to allow this lecture to take place.”
Among the items brought to the college’s attention: this video of Hagler speaking at a rally and a call, attributed to Hagler, to “dismantle the state of Israel.” (More collected here by the organization Roc4Israel before Colgate Rochester's decision.)
The student body president at the University of Southern California, who was born in India, has set off a broad discussion on campus by reporting what happened to her while walking by a fraternity house, The Los Angeles Times reported. Rini Sampath, the student body president, wrote on Facebook that while she and friends were walking past a fraternity (which she didn't name), a fraternity member screamed at her that she was “an Indian piece of” (an expletive) and threw a drink at her. “Once his fraternity brothers realized it was me, they began to apologize,” Sampath wrote on Facebook. “This stung even more. Today, as I try to unpack these events, I couldn’t quite figure out why their after-the-fact apologies deepened the wound. But one of my friends explained it to me the best this morning: ‘Because now you know, the first thing they see you as is subhuman.’ And that’s the first thing some students on our campus see when they look at anyone who looks like me.”
The discovery of what looked like three nooses on a tree at the University of Delaware Tuesday evening upset many, but it turned out that they weren't nooses.
Nancy M. Targett, acting president, issued a statement after the discovery of the apparent nooses that said in part: “Such cowardly and reprehensible acts are clearly designed to intimidate and frighten, and they are unacceptable on our campus. I assure you we will work diligently to get to the bottom of this situation, identify the person or persons responsible, and hold them accountable for their actions.” She also scheduled a campus gathering for today in response.
But she then sent a second message to campus this morning in which she said that the apparent nooses were “the remnants of paper lanterns” from a previous event. The campus gathering will go on as scheduled today because, she wrote, “the sensitivity of our campus to this potential issue clearly indicates a need for continuing dialogue within our community.”