diversity

Sociologists Debate Terminology for Members

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American Sociological Association tries to figure out the gender choices members should get to categorize themselves -- and the process is far from simple.

Harvard Business School's Push on Gender Issues

The Harvard Business School has undertaken one of the most ambitious efforts ever to promote gender equity in business education, with mixed results, according to an in-depth report in The New York Times. The article describes a wide range of efforts, including coaching for female professors and students, and campaigns against social traditions that may have placed women at a disadvantage. Many women say that the efforts have been overdue, and applaud the efforts. But others see a degree of social engineering that they find inappropriate for graduate education.

 

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Report Faults States on Funds for Black Land-Grant Colleges

States generally meet their obligations to match certain federal funds that go to predominantly white land-grant universities, but this isn't the case for historically black land-grant colleges, according to a new report by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Between 2010-12, the report says, the black land-grant colleges should have received an additional $56 million in state funds.

U. of Wisconsin-Madison Lets Students Pick Names

The University of Wisconsin at Madison is this year for the first time letting all students pick the first and middle names they wish to appear on most university records, such as directories, The Wisconsin State Journal reported. Students will have the option of blocking their legal name from appearing in registration lists and other places. The policy is designed to make the university more inclusive, letting students who prefer not to use names for any number of reasons avoid them, officials said. (Legal names will still be used on transcripts, payroll records and for financial aid.) The LGBT Campus Center encouraged the development of the new policy. Some transgender students prefer not to use their legal names, which may be associated with a gender that doesn't reflect their identity.

 

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Higher education groups enter another Supreme Court case about race and admissions

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Only months after a ruling on affirmative action, higher ed groups again turn to the justices -- this time urging that Michigan's ban on the consideration of race in admissions be overturned.

Report: African-American Studies 'Alive and Well'

African-American studies in the United States is "alive and well," according to a new report issued by scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The report surveyed 1,777 colleges and universities and found that 76 percent have some type of black studies. While some college offer only a course or two, 20 percent of those surveyed have full departments or programs.

 

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Political scientists debate whether women in the field should mimic or change men

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Political scientists consider whether advances for women in the discipline will come from copying questionable male tactics or from changing the nature of values of the field.

Education Dept. Rejects Charges of Anti-Jewish Bias at U. of Calif. Campuses

The Education Department's Office for Civil Rights has rejected charges that some protests against Israel at the University of California at Berkeley constituted illegal anti-Jewish bias, as some Jewish students and alumni charged. A letter from OCR found that the protests "constituted expression on matters of public concern directed to the university community. In the university environment, exposure to such robust and discordant expressions, even when personally offensive and hurtful, is a circumstance that a reasonable student in higher education may experience. In this context, the events that the complainants described do not constitute actionable harassment."

The University of California at Santa Cruz announced that a similar complaint against it had also been rejected by the department.

 

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President of Norfolk State U. Is Fired

The board of Norfolk State University has fired President Tony Atwater, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Atwater has served for two years, and the board praised his efforts. But the historically black university is facing criticism from its accreditor and from state legislators on a range of issues, including the inability to complete an audit in the last two years. Previously, Atwater was president of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, a position he left amid disputes with the faculty over his management style.

 

Furor at U. of Sydney Over Photos of Student Vulvas

The University of Sydney is debating the censorship of the cover of a student newspaper -- Honi Soit -- which was forced to place black bars over portions of 18 photographs of students' vulvas. The Student Representative Council, which publishes the paper, ordered the addition of the black bars, citing Australian laws on obscenity, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Michael Spence, vice chancellor of the university, told the newspaper that "personally my view is the cover is demeaning to women but I do realize I'm not the target audience for Honi Soit. However, the student body at the University of Sydney has a long and proud tradition of independence and it's a tradition we will continue to uphold."

Despite all the efforts to block the cover, copies of the original cover leaked and can be found on various websites and Twitter. (Readers who do not wish to see close-up female genitalia may not wish to follow this link, which  shows the original version and the censored version.) While the body parts are not identified, some students have come forward to not only defend the project, but to point out their participation. See, for example, this blog post "That's My Vagina on Honi Soit."

The newspaper's website has been shaky with all the traffic since the controversy broke. But an editorial explaining the rationale behind the cover also was posted to the newspaper's Facebook page. "Eighteen vulvas. All belong to women of Sydney University. Why are they on the cover of Honi Soit?" says the editorial. "We are tired of society giving us a myriad of things to feel about our own bodies. We are tired of having to attach anxiety to our vaginas. We are tired of vaginas being either artificially sexualized (see: porn) or stigmatized (see: censorship and airbrushing). We are tired of being pressured to be sexual, and then being shamed for being sexual. The vaginas on the cover are not sexual. We are not always sexual. The vagina should and can be depicted in a non-sexual way – it’s just another body part. 'Look at your hand, then look at your vagina,' said one participant in the project. 'Can we really be so naïve to believe our vaginas the dirtiest, sexiest parts of our body?'"

 

 

 

 

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