diversity

New Paltz Professor Apologizes for Comments on Rap

Gerald Benjamin, distinguished professor of political science at the State University of New York at New Paltz, apologized Wednesday for comments he made about a local congressional race in an interview with The New York Times. In the interview, Benjamin suggested that Democratic candidate Antonio Delgado’s past as a rapper would hurt him in terms of votes. “Is a guy who makes a rap album the kind of guy who lives here in rural New York and reflects our lifestyle and values?” Benjamin was quoted as saying. “People like us, people in rural New York, we are not people who respond to this part of American culture.”

Delgado, who is black, told the Times that ongoing criticism of his music was an attempt to “otherize” him, and many readers condemned Benjamin’s comments as racist. Donald P. Christian, New Paltz’s president, and Tanhena Pacheco Dunn, the university’s chief diversity officer, criticized Benjamin’s comments in an all-campus email after the article appeared online Tuesday, saying, “We are disappointed that such language would come from a campus leader and ambassador of the college and reaffirm that the quotes do not reflect our institutional values of inclusivity and respect.” The expectation of “any member of this community is that they be mindful of the impact of their speech on others and understand that the consequences of that speech may have unintended and long-lasting negative effects,” they said.

Benjamin said in a separate statement that he has a “deep attachment to the school and the diverse community we have built here” and that he was “very sorry for any unintended distress caused by my remarks.” Acknowledging that his comments had been interpreted as racist, Benjamin added, “I had no racist intent but understand the impact of those remarks, and regret having made them.”

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College Board backtracks on plan to begin AP World History exam in the year 1450, saying it will now begin in 1200

College Board backtracks on plan to begin the AP World History exam in the year 1450, saying it will now begin in 1200.

Humboldt State, Facing Deficit, Drops Football

Humboldt State University will discontinue its football program after the 2018 season to help trim its deficit, the university announced on its website. Humboldt, one of 23 campuses in the California State University System, said on Wednesday that the move is part of an effort to cut spending by $9 million and balance its budget by the 2020-21 academic year.

President Lisa Rossbacher said that despite a “tremendous” private fund-raising effort that brought in $329,000, the university decided that football “cannot be sustained through student fees and community giving.” That effort sought to raise $500,000.

At the same time, she said, the university “cannot continue to subsidize budget deficits in athletics without threatening our academic programs.”

Rossbacher said football is the university's most expensive athletic program, costing about $1 million annually. Overall, its athletics department last year ran a $750,000 deficit, up from $250,000 three years ago. Also, the university said, to remain eligible for NCAA Division II competition, it must maintain 10 sports, but football “is not included on that list.”

The decision leaves just one California college with an NCAA Division II football program: Azusa Pacific University, a private evangelical university northeast of Los Angeles.

Cal State said just five of its campuses now support football programs -- and all of the campuses are considerably larger than Humboldt State. Four other campuses eliminated their football programs in the mid-1990s.

Humboldt State said it will honor scholarships for eligible football players through the 2018-19 academic year. Coaches and staff will also help players contact other programs, the university said. At the end of the season, players will get a “full release,” allowing them to play elsewhere.

Players are also being offered academic and financial advising, with access to tutoring and other support services for as long as they are Humboldt students.

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Advice to deans, department heads and search committees for recruiting diverse faculty (opinion)

Abigail J. Stewart and Virginia Valian provide recommendations for how deans, department chairs and their search committees can optimize their chances.

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Thursday, August 2, 2018
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Recruiting Diverse and Excellent New Faculty

Judge denies Louisiana College's motion to dismiss a discrimination case

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Case involves an allegation that Louisiana College wouldn't hire a coach because of his Jewish heritage.

Third Dartmouth Professor Resigns Following Investigation

The last of three professors of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth College on leave over harassment allegations has resigned, effective immediately, President Philip J. Hanlon announced Tuesday. William M. Kelley’s resignation “concludes a months-long investigative and disciplinary process concerning allegations of sexual misconduct” involving the three department faculty members, Hanlon said. “All three are no longer associated with Dartmouth. Their departures follow recommendations made in accordance with college policy by the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences, Elizabeth F. Smith, to revoke their tenured appointments and terminate their employment based on the findings of separate investigations by an experienced external investigator.” All three recommendations were endorsed by a faculty-elected review committee.

As with the other two professors -- Paul J. Whalen, who resigned last month, and Todd Heatherton, who retired earlier in June -- Dartmouth did not enter into separation or nondisclosure agreements with Kelley and has made no severance payments to him. All three former faculty members will continue to be prohibited from entering campus property or attending any Dartmouth-sponsored events, on campus or off, Hanlon said. Dartmouth’s Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which was charged in January with reviewing sexual misconduct policies, has submitted its report to the college and Dartmouth will seek community feedback on next steps, he said. Kelley could not immediately be reached for comment. Heatherton previously apologized for acting "unprofessionally in public at conferences while intoxicated."

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Advice for dealing with criticism as a person of privilege in academe (opinion)

We must learn how to respond constructively when less privileged and powerful people on the campus say we've hurt them, writes Pamela Oliver.

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Author discusses his new book about women in tech industry and engineering education

Author discusses his new book about women in the technology industry and in the academic programs that could lead them there.

Faculty members question lack of black representation on Los Angeles community college board

Some faculty members at Los Angeles community colleges question the lack of black leaders on the district's board and among their presidents.

Turtle Research Group Takes Back Award After Complaints Against Researcher

The Herpetologists’ League rescinded its Distinguished Herpetologist award to Dick Vogt, a professor at the Brazilian Institute for Amazon Research, last week after he showed photos that some attendees at the Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists in Rochester, N.Y., found offensive. The Democrat and Chronicle reported that Vogt showed photos of "scantily clad female students" doing field research during his award acceptance talk on turtles. The women in the photos were wearing bathing suits, but conference organizers were concerned enough to add blue boxes to cover parts of the women's bodies. A day after his talk, on Friday, the league rescinded Vogt’s award and apologized for the "offensive content" in his slides.

Emily Taylor, a herpetologist from California Polytechnic State University, said she and 14 of her students were at Vogt's lecture. Showing inappropriate slides "is something he's been doing for 20 years … There's a big difference between what he does and just (pictures of) students in normal field garb," Taylor told The Democrat and Chronicle.

Henry Mushinsky, conference committee chairman, reportedly said that "some of the photos people thought were a little too revealing, so we decided to sort of block them out a bit. The whole idea was to try to minimize anyone feeling uncomfortable." Wearing bathing suits is common for scientists working in water, he said, but the photos Vogt showed were not typical documentary images. "In my humble opinion it’s unfortunate he got selected to give this plenary," he said, noting that his organization and others involved in the conference are currently writing codes of conduct for participants.

Vogt reportedly declined comment but gave another public address at the conference, on the vocalizations of sea turtles. Some on Twitter complained that Vogt made sexual references to animal reproduction during the talk, which had little to do with the topic. Others alleged past inappropriate behavior on his part, such as talking about sex to a female scientist and auctioning off a thong swimsuit.

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