The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding that Troy University, a public institution in Alabama, abandon plans to open a dormitory restricted to those who participate in community activities with churches or faith-based groups. The foundation, citing the First Amendment's separation of church and state, questions how a public university could restrict access to people based on having a faith. Further, the foundation noted in a letter to the university that in some local press reports, Troy officials have been quoted as saying that Christian students would have preference for the spots, saying that non-Christians could move in "if there was space available." (Subsequently, a university spokesman disavowed that policy.) The university has not responded to the letter from the foundation.
The White Student Union, a new organization, is drawing complaints at Georgia State University. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the group is not officially recognized and may not involve very many people at all, but that when notices about it started to appear on campus, a number of people complained. Georgia State -- where 38 percent of students are white, 35 percent are black, 12 percent are Asian and 7 percent are Latino -- prides itself on having a diverse, inclusive campus. Officials said that the non-recognized groups have the right to hold events and publicize them, and that the university does not regulate the views of student organizations.
Patrick Sharp, who organized the group, said there was a need for white people to discuss issues such as immigration and affirmative action. "If we are already minorities on campus and are soon to be minorities in this country why wouldn’t we have the right to advocate for ourselves and have a club just like every other minority?" Sharp said. “Why is it when a white person says he is proud to be white he’s shunned as a racist?"
Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale College, at a legislative hearing in Michigan on Wednesday, referred to minority student as "dark ones," The Detroit Free Press reported. Hillsdale does not accept any federal funds and thus resists many data-gathering initiatives of government agencies. In his testimony, Arnn described a time he said state officials visited campus to see if he had enough "dark ones" enrolled. Many legislators criticized Arnn for the language.
Hillsdale released a statement later on Wednesday in which it said that Arnn was "sorry if such offense [over his language] was honestly taken." The the issue people should focus on, the statement said, was "state endorsed racism." The statement noted that Hillsdale was founded by an abolitionist in 1844 and has always barred discrimination based on "nationality, color or sex." The statement added that "[r]acial polarization is increasing rather than decreasing in our nation today," and that the solution to thise problem is to "return to the principles of the nation," such as "a colorblind Constitution."
Willamette University has evicted Sigma Chi from its fraternity house in the wake of an investigation of Facebook posts by members,The Statesman Journal reported. In May, an anonymous blog posted the fraternity house's private Facebook page, with notes making sexually derogatory comments about female students and faculty members. The comments outraged many on the campus.
A new Gallup Poll has found that most American adults oppose the consideration of race in admissions decisions. The poll question asked whether "applicants should be admitted solely on the basis of merit, even if that results in few minority applicants being admitted" or "an applicant's racial and ethnic background should be considered to help promote diversity on college campuses, even if that means admitting some minority students who might not otherwise be admitted," a large majority picked the former. There was no racial group for which a majority picked the latter, although more black Americans picked the latter than the former (by a narrow margin).
Here are results:
Solely on Merit
Breakdowns were not provided for Asian Americans.
Inside Higher Ed works with Gallup on a number of survey projects, but played no role in this poll.
Gallup's results mirrored those of a recent poll by The Washington Post-ABC.
Louisiana Tech University has agreed to use online learning materials that are accessible to the blind, under an agreement to resolve complaints of discrimination investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice. The department found that the university had been using materials that caused a blind student to fall behind on his schoolwork. That student will receive more than $23,000 under the settlement.