The Service Women's Action Network sent a proposed executive order to the White House Monday, urging President Obama to create protections against gender discrimination at the Air Force Academy, the Naval Academy and the Military Academy at West Point. Unlike other higher education institutions, military service academics are exempt from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which -- among other protections -- mandates that colleges quickly and competently investigate and adjudicate claims of sexual assault. The proposed executive action would explicitly bar gender and sex discrimination and empower the U.S. Department of Defense to enforce the order in a way similar to how the Department of Education enforces Title IX.
The prevalent argument now is that military academies are different enough from colleges that it doesn't make sense to apply a law meant for civilian institutions. Cadets, like all members of the armed services, are already subject to the uniform code of military justice. As the code is the foundation of military law, academy cadets can face much harsher punishments than typical college students. Colleges can suspend or expel a student they believe committed a sexual assault. Academy cadets can be court-martialed. But victims' advocates say there are few sanctions for academies that mishandle cases of sexual assault.
"Currently, victims of sex discrimination at service academies can complain only to their commanding officers and service academies’ administrations by appealing up the chain of command, and cannot seek relief outside of the military system," SWAN said in a statement. "This process provides no option to challenge discriminatory academy policies or a school’s inadequate procedures to address sexual assault and harassment reports. The lack of protections for cadets and midshipmen contrasts sharply with the array of sex discrimination prohibitions that protect civilian students, including Title IX, which does not apply to the service academies."
Nonwealthy private colleges are often left out of the discussion about how low-income students can get access to and succeed in higher education, with policy makers putting most of their focus on the institutions that disproportionately enroll those students (community colleges and for-profit institutions) and those that they think should enroll more -- flagship public and wealthy private universities. That rankles officials at small private colleges, who argue that their institutions provide more access to those students (and turn them out with better outcomes) than do many other types of colleges.
A group representing those institutions, the Council of Independent Colleges, makes that case formally in a report released Wednesday. The association's report presents data showing that small and midsize private colleges enroll first-generation and low-income students at higher proportions than do public and private research universities, and that those students are likelier to graduate from the private institutions than they are from public doctoral universities. The report also urges school counselors to encourage more students to attend "the institutions where they are most likely to flourish, namely, smaller private colleges," and asks state and federal policy makers to recognize the role these institutions play as they allocate financial aid and other dollars to maximize student success in college.
California Polytechnic University's Queer Student Union organized a demonstration (please be warned that link features an image of excrement) Thursday to protest the university's lack of restrooms that can safely be used by transgender students. The demonstration, in which students were encouraged to use only gender-neutral restrooms on campus, was called a "shit-in."
The demonstrators also circulated a petition urging the university to create more gender-neutral restrooms and encouraged students to sign a fake toilet to show their support. "Trans/gender nonconforming students often cite a lack of all-gender bathrooms as a top concern," the petition reads. "Gendered bathrooms pose a threat to the emotional and physical well-being of this demographic, and often force awkward and uncomfortable encounters for non-cisgender-identifying students. Of the 17 all-gender bathrooms listed on the Pride Center's website, the Queer Student Union has identified only five bathrooms that are reasonably accessible, leaving non-cisgender students with a paltry amount of options when it comes to using the bathroom."
A decision by administrators at St. Thomas Aquinas College to cancel a drag show planned by the campus Gender and Sexuality Alliance club has prompted debate at the New York Roman Catholic institution, The Journal Newsreported. The Student Government Association had approved the event (and allocated $150 in student activities funds for it) but campus officials quashed it this month, saying they worried that without educating students ahead of time, the event would result in participating students being made fun of. But students and faculty members said the administrators' decision belied the campus's reputation for being welcoming and supportive of gay students and staff members.
In hiring of tenure-track STEM instructors, female, black and Latino academics have an edge, while Asians are at a disadvantage. But the picture for tenure is more nuanced -- and women with young children lose out.
Female faculty members at a unit of the University of California at Los Angeles medical school faced biased treatment, "demeaning" treatment and retaliation for reporting violations of research rules, The Los Angeles Times reported an internal investigation has found. The results of the probe have not been released but were obtained by the Times and confirmed by UCLA.