Submitted by Jake New on October 27, 2015 - 3:00am
The North-American Interfraternity Conference -- whose members are no strangers to racist parties and costumes -- posted a series of Halloween tips on Friday to "ensure that member organizations make responsible decisions regarding event themes, costumes and social media that reflect their values and morals." In a blog post, Devin Hall, coordinator of IFC services at the NIC, suggested that campus Interfraternity Councils "introduce the concept of cultural appropriation" through diversity education, select an inclusive social event and require chapters to register any parties and their themes with the IFC.
"Viewed as funny, ironic, trendy or an opportunity to be retweeted by [Total Frat Move], dressing up as a Native American, painting oneself with blackface or dressing as a homeless person is not only offensive behavior, but also correctable," Hall wrote. "Our goal is for fraternities to avoid promoting concepts that reinforce historical stereotypes and mock or offend various cultures, races, ethnicities or identities."
In an effort to prevent racial bias, university applications in the U.K. will be “name blind” starting in 2017, Prime Minister David Cameron wrote in an op-ed in The Guardian. In his op-ed, Cameron argued that anonymized applications prevent reviewers from being influenced by the ethnic or religious background an applicant’s name might imply.
"Some research has shown that top universities make offers to 55 percent of white applicants, but only to 23 percent of black ones," Cameron wrote. "The reasons are complex, but unconscious bias is clearly a risk. So we have agreed with UCAS [the centralized application processing service] that it will make its applications name blind, too, from 2017."
Students at the University of Missouri at Columbia are debating the appropriateness of a statue of Thomas Jefferson on campus. A petition was recently created urging the removal of the statue. The petition notes that while Jefferson is known as a proponent of equality, he was a slaveholder and held racist and sexist beliefs. "Thomas Jefferson’s statue sends a clear nonverbal message that his values and beliefs are supported by the University of Missouri. Jefferson's statue perpetuates a sexist-racist atmosphere that continues to reside on campus," the petition says.
College Republicans have countered with a #standwithJefferson hashtag on Twitter, demanding that the statue remain in place. Defenders of the statue have also draped an American flag around it (above right) for events at the site of the monument.
A controversial study this year found that, other factors being equal, faculty members seeking new colleagues in science and technology fields prefer female candidates over male candidates. But the Cornell University scholars who did that study have now published a new analysis in which faculty members were asked to evaluate for possible hiring (based on a portfolio of materials) male and female candidates in which the male candidate received slightly higher ratings. In these comparisons, faculty members generally picked the male candidate. “Faculty apparently view quality as the most important determinant of hiring rankings,” write Stephen J. Ceci and Wendy M. Williams in the study, published in Frontiers in Psychology.
A large group of students at the University of Mississippi held a protest Friday urging the institution to stop flying the state flag of Mississippi, which contains the Confederate battle flag in one corner. A small group of people unaffiliated with the university but who wore symbols and signs associated with and supporting the Ku Klux Klan held a counterprotest, waving the Confederate battle flag. While the counterprotest upset many students, the two events took place without incident, and the Klan-supporting group eventually left. The university has called on the state to remove the Confederate flag from the corner of the state flag, but has also said that -- as a state institution -- it will continue to fly the state flag as it exists.
Submitted by Jake New on October 16, 2015 - 3:00am
The University of Oregon's new "pioneer-themed" athletics uniforms celebrate a "history of genocidal violence, ethnic cleansing and exclusion of nonwhites," a coalition of Native faculty, staff and students said in an open letter this week. The uniforms, unveiled by Nike earlier this month, are inspired by the travels of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and feature the explorers and a map of the Oregon Trail.
The university said the uniforms are meant to honor the state's "maverick heritage" embodied by Lewis and Clark. The coalition, Native Strategic Initiatives, said the uniforms emphasize "white supremacy, a sense of divine obligation of free white men to take -- by force if necessary -- the land belonging to the nonwhite nations west of the Mississippi."
"Instead of condemning this process," the open letter states, "the celebration of Lewis and Clark valorizes it, papering over the ongoing consequences of colonization and indigenous traditions of 'exploration,' 'innovation,' 'free-thinking' and 'risk-taking' that existed in this place long before the expedition arrived at the Pacific coast."
The coalition urged the university and Nike to discontinue the uniforms and to recall related merchandise from stores.
Most colleges and universities had regular class schedules on Monday, Columbus Day. But Native American activists and their supporters are urging colleges that do observe Columbus Day or those that don't to start observing a day to honor indigenous groups in America, and to remember how their rights were ignored. Brown University in 2009 decided to stop referring to Columbus Day as such, but instead to call it the Fall Weekend Holiday.
On Monday, students at Columbia University held a protest of the traditional holiday and students at Syracuse University organized around a petition calling on the university to recognize the day as Indigenous People's Day.
An outside study on gender equity at the University of California Anderson School of Management has found that female faculty members tend to feel bias of various kinds in the hiring and promotion process and in decision making. The bias isn't of the "women can't be promoted" type, but a devaluing of any nonquantitative research, while almost exclusively valuing quantitative research.
The report says women are much more likely than men among business school faculty members to engage in nonquantitative work. Judy D. Olian, dean of the school, attached a letter for the report, calling for a faculty retreat to discuss the findings. She also said she was concerned about the way many female faculty members feel a lack of respect for their work.