A black vice president has resigned his position at Missouri State University less than a week after a university investigation found no validity to charges made by his supporters that he was being mistreated. Supporters of Kenneth D. Coopwood Sr., vice president of diversity and inclusion, have argued in a petition and elsewhere that he and his office receive inadequate support, especially compared to divisions led by white people. On Thursday, the university announced that an investigation found no evidence to back these charges.
On Monday, Coopwood announced he was leaving. The university released this statement from him: "I agreed to the investigation and actively participated in it. I think that the investigative team took the matter seriously and conducted a thorough investigation. While I accept the investigation and its findings, I have decided it would be best for me to pursue other professional opportunities."
Submitted by Josh Logue on January 5, 2016 - 3:00am
Kent State University has reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in a 2014 fair-housing suit alleging the university violated federal law by denying a student's request to keep her “emotional service animal” -- in this case, a dog -- in student housing, according to a statement from the Justice Department.
Per the agreement, which awaits a judge's approval, Kent State would allow assistance animals in student housing, pay $100,000 to the student, Jacqueline Luke, and her husband, and also pay a further $30,000 to the Fair Housing Advocates Association and $15,000 to the federal government.
In the agreement, however, Kent State also denies any violation of the Fair Housing Act and maintains “that at all times, they operated university housing at Kent State in compliance with all applicable statutes and regulations that prohibit discrimination.”
The settlement, or “consent decree,” can be read in its entirety here.
The Modern Language Association's Executive Council has issued a statement criticizing growing anti-Muslim bias as well as bias against those who teach about Islam. The statement says: "After the terrible shootings in Paris and San Bernardino, we have witnessed a sharp rise in Islamophobia, the intense hatred and fear of Islam and those identifying with the religion and its culture. This includes, but is not restricted to, targeting Arabs and Arab-Americans. In the United States there has been an upsurge in attacks upon and censorship and harassment of those who, as part of their scholarly work, teach about Islam. The MLA condemns any and all violations of free speech and academic freedom, including those based on race, religious affiliation and ethnicity. We especially deplore the firings and intimidation of those teachers who aid in our understanding of Islam."
The University of California at Los Angeles last week condemned an anti-Semitic comment that a UCLA student posted on the Facebook page of Mayim Bialik, the actress. Bialik, a UCLA alumna, wrote on Facebook about her pride in being Jewish and Zionist. The student -- in a comment widely discussed on the UCLA campus -- posted a comment apparently addressed to Jews who immigrated to the United States from Europe.
The comment verbatim (with language that may be upsetting to some): "If you're of Euro ancestry and you were born in the Americas, you are still a white immigrant, the way you call us brown people immigrants and aliens in our own damn space. YOU people invades our space and used your bogus gods to justify taking land that was never yours. I don't know how that's different from what's happening in Palestine -- you come into their land, crying persecution and diminished numbers, and instead of returning to your own homes in Poland, Germany and Russia, your people chose to invade another culture's homeland, invoking your bullshit sacred pacts with your gods and massacring an entire culture unless they bend to your will. GTFOH with all your Zionist bullshit. Crazy ass fucking troglodyte albino monsters of cultural destruction."
UCLA officials have said that, since the university is public, it is covered by the First Amendment and does not seek to punish students for writing or saying offensive things. But periodically, UCLA officials find comments worth publicly criticizing and this was one such case. Janina Montero, vice chancellor for student affairs, sent an email to all students. "We have become aware of anti-Semitic comments allegedly posted by a UCLA student on a private Facebook page not affiliated with UCLA," the email said. "The hurtful and offensive comments displayed ignorance of the history and racial diversity of the Jewish people, insensitivity and a disappointing lack of empathy. Bigotry against the Jewish people or other groups is abhorrent and does not represent the values of UCLA or the beliefs of our community. UCLA remains proud of the ethnic, racial, religious and cultural diversity of our campus. Sustaining such a diverse community is possible only if we treat each other with compassion and resist the temptation to stereotype or belittle those who may be different. Incidents like these are a reminder that we must always remain committed to inclusiveness and to understanding and respecting others."
Wheaton College, a Christian institution in Illinois, has suspended Larycia Hawkins, an associate professor of political science who has attracted considerable attention for saying she would wear a hijab throughout Advent to express solidarity with Muslims. A statement from the college said the suspension was not for her wearing the hijab, but because of "significant questions regarding the theological implications of statements" she has made. "Wheaton College faculty and staff make a commitment to accept and model our institution's faith foundations with integrity, compassion and theological clarity. As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college's evangelical statement of faith," said the college's statement on the suspension.
The college did not specify the statements Hawkins made that were of concern. But Christianity Today reported that many evangelicals were distressed by statements from Hawkins that Christians and Muslims "worship the same God." Some Christians share that view; many others do not.
Hawkins posted on her Facebook page a brief explanation of her views and links to other sources to defend her belief that Christians and Muslims do worship the same god. "My wearing of the hijab as an act of Advent devotion has certainly caused some to question the sincerity of my devotion. To those who question the authenticity of my faith, I love you," she wrote.