Analysis of 'Identity Threat' Some Students Face

A new report from the Century Foundation considers the issue of "identity threat" and the way many low-income and minority students with academic talent may feel unwelcome or stereotyped in college. The report suggests that students face bias from some professors based on stereotypes and that this creates "stereotype threat" in which students may come to doubt their own abilities. Students pay attention to many cues on whether the environment is welcoming, and whether people on campus have confidence in their abilities, the report says.

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Link Between Wealth and Disability Accommodations

Colleges and universities are required under federal laws to offer accommodations to students who can demonstrate that a learning disability poses difficulties for their academic success. But as a new study notes, students must demonstrate that they have a disability, and this frequently involves paying for testing. The study, published in the journal Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, surveyed undergraduates at 11 doctoral-granting universities, and found that only about a third of those reporting learning disabilities received accommodations. Finances may be at play. Half of the wealthiest students with learning disabilities reported receiving accommodations, a much higher rate than for students of more modest means. "Accommodations are free, but the tests to prove you have a learning disability are not," said Karla McGregor, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at the University of Iowa and lead author of the study.

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Amherst president discusses college's welcoming environment for low-income students

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Amherst College's president talks about adding more community college transfers after receiving an award for supporting low-income students.

More Money for Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State

San Francisco State University has reached an agreement with its embattled College of Ethnic Studies. The college, the only one of its kind in the country, has said it is chronically underfunded, to the point that it can barely sustain operations beyond paying full-time personnel. Facing student protests, President Les Wong said the college was overspending.

The agreement, reached late last week between the university and student hunger strikers, says that central administration will make an additional $482,806 investment in the college, in addition to an earlier $250,000 additional commitment for next academic year. That’s upward of the approximately $500,000 faculty members at the college estimated they needed to close their budget gap earlier this year. The investment includes support for two full-time, tenure-track faculty lines in Africana studies, four work-study positions and the development of a Pacific Islander studies program. The agreement also provides for more regular communication between the college and the university about funding and other needs. All parties have agreed to a silent period through the end of the year.

Samford Apologizes for Racist Sorority T-Shirt

The Alpha Delta Pi sorority at Samford University, in Alabama, has angered many on campus and elsewhere by producing a T-shirt featuring a map of the state, with an image depicting a stereotypical black man eating watermelon in one corner of the design. The university says it specifically told the sorority not to produce the T-shirt, but it did so anyway. Images from the shirt (right) have been circulating on social media. R. Philip Kimrey, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, issued a statement in which he said that the university "apologizes for the offensive image," which he called "completely inconsistent with the university's mission and values." He said that the university would be "following our procedures as quickly as possible" to deal with potential violations of the university's rules.

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Seattle U Students Occupy Dean's Office

Students at Seattle University have occupied a dean's office and vowed to stay until their demands are met, The Seattle Times reported. The university says that it has met with and is willing to continue to meet with the students to discuss their demands, and to review the curriculum and other issues. The students have published a list of their demands, including a new curriculum that "decentralizes whiteness and has a critical focus on the evolution of systems of oppression such as racism, capitalism, colonialism, etc., highlighting the art, histories, theologies, political philosophies and socio-cultural transformation of Western and non-Western societies." The students also want the new curriculum to be taught by "prepared staff from marginalized backgrounds, especially professors of color and queer professors," and want all faculty members to be required to go through "training from an antiracist network in Seattle, such as the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond."

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SUNY Oswego sees success in diversifying its study abroad population

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SUNY Oswego has seen success expanding the diversity of its students who study abroad.

As Physician Shortage Approaches, Medical Schools Expand

Since 2002, U.S. medical school enrollment has increased by 25 percent, according to a new report.

The country is facing a physician shortage, and 10 years ago the Association of American Medical Colleges called for a 30 percent increase in enrollment by 2015.

Now, the AAMC’s new report shows that medical schools are responding: 20 new M.D.-granting medical schools have been established since 2002, and the country should reach the 30 percent benchmark by the 2017-18 academic year.

Across the country, medical schools are also more focused on serving diverse health needs. Last year, 84 percent of medical schools had -- or planned to establish -- policies focused on recruiting diverse students who want to work with underserved populations. Another 49 percent are focusing on students from rural communities.

Colleges of osteopathic medicine are also expanding particularly quickly. Using 2002 as a baseline, first-year enrollment in these institutions is expected to grow by 55 percent by 2020.

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U.S. finds U of North Carolina in violation of Title IX over treatment of transgender students

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Justice Department tells U of North Carolina that it is violating federal law by enforcing state statute limiting bathrooms transgender people may use.

BU Investigates Racist and Nazi-Themed Posters

Boston University is investigating posters that appeared on campus this week, one of them saying “Black Lives Don’t Matter,” another saying “Atomwaffen Division Massachusetts,” and another featuring an image of a Paul Revere-like figure shouting, “The Nazis Are Coming!” The university's president, Robert A. Brown, released a letter to the campus, calling the posters “a reminder that the human capacity for hate is deeply rooted and never as far from our daily lives as we would like or hope. We also know that the human capacity for healing and renewal in a spirit of generosity and understanding is deeply rooted.”

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