diversity

Study finds bias in how male students view female STEM students

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Do the biology students celebrated (perhaps undeservingly) for their intellect always seem to be male? A new study says the answer lies in gender bias.

Earlham tries to reach consensus after students present list of diversity requirements

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Protests at campuses nationwide lead to lists of demands, but what happens when a college's Quaker faith rejects the idea of demands?

Black Princeton Professor Raises Issues on Police

A black professor at Princeton University said in several recent posts to social media that she was arrested and mistreated by police over an unpaid parking ticket.

On Twitter Sunday, Imani Perry, an African-American history professor at Princeton, described being pulled over by police in Princeton Township and arrested “for a single parking ticket three years ago.” Police handcuffed her to a table, she said, refused to let her make a call before being arrested and, despite a female officer being present, a male police officer performed a body search.

A spokesman for the police department said Perry was pulled over for speeding, after which it was discovered that her driver’s license had been suspended and there was an active warrant for her arrest due to unpaid parking tickets. "She was put under arrest pursuant to the warrant, our policy and state law," the spokesman said. The police department has opened an investigation into the incident, all of which was recorded. (A local news site collected more details here.)

In a subsequent post to Facebook, Perry elaborated on her feelings about the incident. "I did not purport to be without fault," she wrote. "Now, make no mistake, I do not believe I did anything wrong. But even if I did, my position holds. The police treated me inappropriately and disproportionately. The fact of my blackness is not incidental to this matter."

"Some critics have said that I should have expected what I received. But if it is the standard protocol in an affluent suburb to disallow a member of the community to make a call before an arrest (simply to inform someone of her arrest) and if it is the protocol to have male officers to pat down the bodies of women, and if it is the norm to handcuff someone to a table for failing to pay a parking ticket, we have a serious problem with policing in the society."

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Emory & Henry Professor, Citing Protest Fallout, Quits

Delilah White, a visiting assistant professor of mass communications at Emory & Henry College, in Virginia, quit her job last week amid fallout from a campus protest, WCYB News reported. Minority students held a rally at the college last week. White supported the protest, and in a statement quoted by the news outlet, she said fallout from that support made it impossible for her to continue at the college. "After the demonstration on Wednesday, further isolation from colleagues and students ensued from the idea that I was behind the deeds not words movement, bringing me to a breaking point. I cannot function mentally nor physically in a manner that holistically benefits all of our students when I am immersed in an atmosphere of intimidation and prejudice from the majority of students and now, from a host of my colleagues," said the statement.

White could not be reached by Inside Higher Ed.

Via email, Dirk Moore, a spokesman for the college, said, "We did have a professor meet Friday with our president and vice president for academic affairs, asking to be released from her one-year contract. Although, according to a news report, she issued a statement about her reasons for wanting to be released from her contract, I'm not aware of what reasons she may have presented to the president and vice president during their meeting. I only know that they did not ask her to resign and that they accepted her request with sadness and regret."

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Faculty members ask why university posted sexist video on website

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At Simon Fraser U, professors were stunned by video university posted on its website that suggested female faculty members could be viewed as sex objects -- in the name of saving energy.

Purdue Anti-Abortion Group Targets Black Cultural Center

An anti-abortion student group at Purdue University targeted the university's Black Cultural Center Tuesday with a series of messages written in chalk, angering many on campus who said the messages were racist and sexist in nature. "All lives matter," the group wrote. "Womb = most dangerous place 4 black kids. Planned Parenthood = #1 killer of black babies. Civils rights begins in the womb." [sic]

"The not-so-subtle meaning behind these messages is that if women of color, specifically black women, exercise their legal right to have an abortion, they are committing a form of self-induced genocide," the Purdue Social Justice Coalition, a student and faculty group, said in a statement. "Aside from the typical sexist nature of these messages, which deny women's autonomy over their own bodies and reproductive choices, what happened at Purdue also reflects racism on campus. Contrary to the idea that 'All Lives Matter,' women of color were specifically targeted with these messages and singled out."

In a statement Wednesday, the group responsible for the messages, Purdue Students for Life, defended its actions, saying they chose to focus on the Black Cultural Center "in light of Black History Month" and the "fact that abortion and the industry that surrounds it disproportionately affects and harms the black community."

"Regarding the recent flyers and chalking, what we're finding is that there has been a lot of misinterpretation and misunderstanding of our intended message, and because of that, unfortunately some people's feelings have been hurt," the group, which currently has no black members, stated. "This is not about shaming anyone. It's about human equality and the fact that all human lives have dignity that cannot be taken away, be they black or white, male or female, born or preborn."

The Purdue Black Cultural Center did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

College Readiness of Low-Income Students Stagnates

Roughly one in four of the 1.9 million high school students who graduated in 2015 and took the ACT are from low-income backgrounds, meaning their annual family incomes are less than $36,000. This group continues to lag in college readiness, according to the latest version of an annual report from the testing organization and the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships.

For example, half of the low-income students failed to meet any of the four ACT college readiness benchmarks, according to the report, compared to 31 percent of all students. And the proportion of students reaching each of the four benchmarks, which are in English, reading, mathematics and science, was roughly 40 percentage points lower for students from poorer families compared to those from families with annual incomes of $100,000 and up.

The readiness indicators of low-income students have remained largely unchanged for six consecutive years, ACT said, and have declined in some areas.

“Until these results improve, many students from poorer families are likely destined for a life of financial struggle and lapsed educational plans,” said Jim Larimore, ACT's chief officer for the advancement of underserved learners, in a written statement. “Beyond lamenting the well-known systemic challenges these students face, we are committed to acting on our knowledge, through research partnerships with organizations like NCCEP and our own initiatives, to expand access to rigorous course work and provide free resources to students in need.”

Brown Renames Holiday Indigenous People's Day

Brown University, by a vote of its faculty on Tuesday, has designated what was once Columbus Day at the university as Indigenous People's Day. In 2009, the university dropped the Columbus Day name and designated that day off as the "fall weekend holiday." Tuesday's vote replaces that name. The resolution adopted by the faculty states that using the new name “would recognize the contributions of indigenous people/Native Americans to our community and our culture and foster a more inclusive community.”

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Stillman cuts illustrate financial challenges for athletics at black colleges

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Recent athletics cuts at several HBCUs raise questions about the role of sports at small, private colleges.

Rhodes Statue to Remain at Oxford's Oriel College

The University of Oxford has decided not to take down a statue of Cecil Rhodes at its Oriel College despite alumni threats to withdraw millions in donations, the college announced. The statue, like a plaque about Rhodes elsewhere on the campus, has been caught up in the debate that has swept campuses in Britain, the U.S. and elsewhere about honoring historical figures whose pasts included racist or other detrimental acts or statements.

Rhodes, the British imperialist whose bequest endowed the Rhodes Scholarships, has been at the center of the debate in Britain. In December, Oriel College officials said they had begun the process of removing the plaque honoring Rhodes and would review the status of the statue, describing the plaque's wording praising Rhodes as "inconsistent with our principles."

But in the announcement Thursday, Oriel officials said the "listening exercise" the college had undertaken in December had elicited an "enormous amount of input," overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the statue in place. "The college believes the recent debate has underlined that the continuing presence of these historical artifacts is an important reminder of the complexity of history and of the legacies of colonialism still felt today. By adding context, we can help draw attention to this history, do justice to the complexity of the debate and be true to our educational mission."

British newspaper reports indicated that Oxford and Oriel have received threats to withdraw millions of dollars in gifts if the statue was removed, though the college's statement dismissed the idea that financial considerations were a factor.

Rhodes Must Fall, the student group leading the opposition, said in a statement on Facebook that the college's decision "breached the undertakings it gave to all students in its December statement. In December, Oriel said that the plaque's display was 'inconsistent with' the college's 'principles.' It seems that Oriel no longer believes this to be the case. This recent move is outrageous, dishonest and cynical. This is not over."

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