More Colleges 'Commit' to Diversity Initiatives
Yale, Brown and NYU have stated their goals, but time will tell how they hold up in the long run.
A lack of diversity and instances of blatant racism on college campuses have both recently garnered mass media attention. Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Amherst and Occidental are just a few schools that have had protests, sit-ins, walk-outs and demonstrations, with Claremont McKenna and University of Missouri even witnessing a collective three staff resignations. These incidents have sparked campus conversations as well as initiatives from the universities to promote diversity. Recently, Yale, Brown and NYU have made headlines for their efforts by committing a significant increase in funds for a diverse faculty as well as more on-campus resources.
Yale: 'Diversity must reach across the whole of Yale'
On the same day Mizzou's president resigned, Yale students participated in a "March of Resilience" to call attention to their school's similar struggles with diversity, including one incident at a fraternity party where brothers said only white girls could enter.
On Nov. 3, President Peter Salovey and Provost Ben Polak sent a campus-wide email revealing the university's five-year, $50 million diversity plan. $25 million will come from the provost's office, and the remaining $25 million will come from the various graduate and professional schools.
According to Yale's College Scorecard, the student body is 47 percent white, 16 percent Asian, 10 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Black, 6 percent two or more races and 1 percent American Indian/Native Alaskan. Socioeconomic diversity at Yale is low; only 13 percent of undergraduate students at Yale receive a Pell Grant, compared with 22 percent nationwide (at private schools).
Yale's new initiative will focus on hiring a more diverse faculty. According to the university's website, only 2.8 percent of faculty and staff members are Black; less than 1 percent are Native American, Pacific Islander or two or more races; 16.9 percent are Asian; 2.6 percent are Hispanic; and 63.2 percent are white. Race could not be identified for 13.9 percent of the faculty.
"Although the resource of this $25 million is coming from the Provost's Office," Polak said, "we want each dean to determine what works best for their school."
Polak and Solvey's joint statement also explained how they will seek to improve faculty development programs already in place:
At the same time, we are augmenting existing faculty development programs. We will offer a university-wide teaching academy, with special attention to challenges and strategies for women in STEM fields as well as international and underrepresented faculty. And in partnership with the School of Management, we are piloting a program to empower mid-career faculty with the skills they will need as future leaders in higher education.
The funds will also contribute to websites providing information regarding both the new and already-existing programs in order to connect the entire university to the initiative.
"Yale's education and research missions are propelled forward by a faculty that stands at the forefront of scholarship, research, practice, mentoring and teaching. An excellent faculty in all of these dimensions is a diverse faculty, and that diversity must reach across the whole of Yale," the men said.
Brown: Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion
Earlier in November, students at Brown University held protests of their own to express that their voices were not being heard. Also last month, a group that described itself as "a coalition of concerned graduate students of color at Brown University" compiled a list of demands for the university. Among these demands is an increase in minority faculty members that surpasses the goal already set by the university to double this number by 2025.
Brown's student population is comprised of 43 percent white, 12 percent Asian, 11 percent Hispanic, 10 percent unknown, 6 percent Black, 5 percent two or more races and less than 1 percent for both American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students, according to its College Scorecard. Like at Yale, economic diversity is very low; only 14 percent of students receive Pell Grants.
Several weeks after Yale announced its plan, and three days after the graduate students made their demands public, Brown introduced a proposal of its own. On Nov. 19, President Christina Paxson sent the university a working draft of a plan to promote diversity and inclusion called "Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University," which the university estimates will cost $100 million. The university is open to responses and feedback from campus community members until Dec. 4 so that they can have the final plan released by the end of the semester.
The plan highlights campus community, investing in people and academic leadership as its three major categories.
The campus community category emphasizes creating an inclusive environment through mentoring and financial support, professional and educational development and garnering knowledge regarding Brown's current campus climate through an external analysis.
The draft of the plan also seeks to double underrepresented faculty members by the 2024-2025 academic year. Statistics regarding diversity among faculty members have been dismal. In 2005-2006, 6.7 percent of the school's faculty members were in what the report calls historically underrepresented groups (HUG), which "includes people who report themselves as Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, or Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander." In the 2014-2015 year, this went up to just 8.1 percent. So even though doubling this number would not seem like a substantial increase, it would be a significant jump given the school's historical lack of growth in diversity.
In regards to academic leadership, the school plans to provide more tools and opportunities for minority and first-generation college students to excel in their field of study and throughout their college career.
New York University: Campus Forum Turned Call to Action
NYU has also pledged to increase funding in certain diversity initiatives, although to what amount financially is unclear.
On Nov. 18, the school held an on-campus forum to discuss diversity and inclusion. Students shared their experiences and opinions, including their disappointment with the school's Center of Multiculturalism Education and Programs, describing it as "tiny" and "underfunded."
Of the aforementioned universities, NYU statistically has the most diversity in its student body, which is 38 percent white, 18 percent Asian, 11 percent unknown, 11 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Black, 3 percent two or more races, and less than 1 percent for both American Indian/Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students.
20 percent of students receive a need-based Pell Grant, 10 percentage points below the national average for private schools. Simply having racial/ethnically diverse students does not solve problems relating to inclusion, as demonstrated by NYU.
Following the forum, University President John Sexton confirmed the university's next steps in an email:
We will start by immediately increasing staffing and doubling program funding for the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs to expand and enhance our programming efforts around issues of diversity and inclusion, and by taking concrete steps in the near term to move forward with one of the proposals raised repeatedly yesterday — a serious diversity training program.
Several weeks later, Provost David McLaughlin sent an additional email outlining more specific measures the school planned to take, including the formation of an ad hoc Committee on the school senate to address diversity and inclusion. This committee will also determine the most effective way to implement campus-wide diversity training.
In addition to the development of the committee, NYU also pledged to implement within the next several weeks a hotline where students can express their experiences regarding racism or intolerance. The school is also creating a Director of Global Diversity position.
Outcome Versus Goals
While the development of diversity goals sounds good on paper and for a school's reputation (as well as that of its administration), what matters most are the results — which may not always line up with what the school had in mind.
Many schools, for instance, have stated they want to hire a more diverse faculty. This has also appeared among many of the demands drafted by student organizations on these campuses. But how these schools would then retain these faculty members is often absent from the equation, according to Shaun Harper. Harper, who teaches in the Graduate School of Education and serves as the executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania, said these discussions tend to be "terribly lopsided."
"Emphasis is often placed on hiring more faculty of color, which is incontestably necessary," he said. "But not enough attention is paid to raising the consciousness of white faculty members about how their implicit biases shape their interactions with students and colleagues of color."
Despite Yale's $50 million commitment, the university is already losing diverse members of its faculty for this very reason. Three Black professors at the university already plan to leave at the end of the academic year. Two of these professors are going to work for Columbia University instead, which in 2012 pledged to allocate $60 million to increasing diversity among its faculty over a three-year period. The other schools could face similar dilemmas and lose their diverse faculty to schools that have already taken this initiative and created an inclusive environment.
Another common "solution" is the creation of some kind of diversity officer. However, without an inclusive administration supporting the person in this position, the effort is in vain — as witnessed at the University of Louisville. University President James Ramsey threw a costume party for his staff where they dressed up in stereotypical "Mexican bandit" attire, complete with sombreros and mustaches. This incident occurred not at the hands of some students, but at the very face of the university, despite the fact that the school has an Office of Hispanic and Latino Initiatives, complete with a director, who was only contacted after the incident had already taken place. Had the university utilized the position in an effective manner the way it was likely intended, the party should not have taken place to begin with.
According to Harper, accountability also becomes a problem not only among the existing faculty members but among the administrators pledging the money as well. Although these plans and initiatives could be effective if executed correctly, they could just as easily slip into the cracks.
"It is entirely possible that only a tiny fraction of funds committed will be spent, especially if deans and department chairs are not held accountable for taking advantage of faculty recruitment and retention sources that have been made available," he said.
All students enrolled in the MD degree program are eligible.
With all this talk about free education, New York University (NYU) is taking the decision out of the government's hands.
On Thursday, the top 10 medical school in the country announced its plans to offer a full scholarship to all new, current, and future medical students.
This effort is critical due to anticipated shortages of medical professionals. Roughly 75 percent of medical students in the United States graduated with some debt last year. The average debt owed is $191,000, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
According to Rafael Rivera, associate dean for admissions and financial aid, "The debt can scare people away. One of those individuals could be the one to find a cure for cancer. For us, it's important to have the best applicant pool possible and society deserves nothing less"
By 2025, the medical field is expecting to have a shortage of 11,000 surgeons and 98,000 lab technicians. This is largely due to mounting tuition costs that the middle to lower class and minority groups feel the most. In 2015 the medical school acceptance rate was 41.1% and, while white, Asian, and Hispanic students were all accepted at roughly that rate, Black or African American students were accepted at a rate of 34%.
This is despite the fact that the average MCAT scores for Black students are only, on average, 7 points lower than their white counterparts. In addition, while White students see a graduation rate of 58.8%, while Black and Hispanic students only graduate at a rate of 6% and 5% respectively.
It is believed that these lessened costs would encourage doctors to accept potentially lower paying jobs such as those needed in primary care. It is also predicted that the biggest beneficiaries of this would be minority groups.
According to an AAMC study, "Research shows that physician diversity adds value to the health-care system by expanding access to health care. Racial and ethnic minority physicians are more likely to practice primary care than their white peers. Black or African-American, Hispanic or Latino, and American Indian or Alaska Native physicians are also more likely to practice in medically underserved areas."
This effort has been 11 years in the making. The dean of NYU Langone Health says the college has raised $450 million out of the $600 million needed to make the scholarship permanent.
He also said, "Our goal was to raise enough money to enable students to graduate with as little debt as possible."
Trump's efforts to rescind the affirmative action guidelines just add to the trend to erase landmark accomplishments of the Obama legacy.
The Trump administration plans to toss an Obama-era guideline that encourages colleges and universities to consider race as a way of promoting diversity.
Our journalist, Frank Kineavy, helps us understand Krauthammer's legacy — and what a powerful role model he is to everyone excelling in their career (who has a disability).
For nearly 30 years Charles Krauthammer has been one of the most stoic and prolific political commentators of his time. First a columnist at the New Republic and the Washington Post, later a talking head for Fox News, this conservative pundit has gained national admiration for his ability to express his opinion in an unapologetic yet dignified manner.
The Harvard Kennedy School announced today the creation of a graduate student fellowship in honor of the late Lisa Garcia Quiroz, a champion of a stronger Latino presence at Harvard for some 30 years. The fellowship is designed for emerging student leaders at HKS with a strong commitment to the Latino community. Its lead donor is Time Warner Inc., where she was until recently its Senior Vice President of Cultural Investments and Chief Diversity Officer.
"This fellowship in Lisa's name represents a very sad but heartwarming story," said David Gergen, director of the School's Center for Public Leadership (CPL), where the fellowship will be housed. "Words hardly capture how much we are honored by our friendship with her and how much we will miss her."
When Ms. Quiroz came to Harvard three decades ago, she was one of the few Latino undergraduates. Before and then after graduation, she served as a minority recruiter for the college, working closely with William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Her path eventually took her to the Harvard Business School where she earned an MBA before joining Time Warner. There she became Senior Vice President of Cultural Investments. In 2004, she was promoted to be the company's Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Time Warner Foundation.
"We had the great good fortune to discover Lisa several years ago and she fast became a wonderful partner for our Center," said Gergen. "She worked tirelessly with us to strengthen the leadership development of Hispanic students and others devoted to that community. Through her, Time Warner has sponsored two conferences on the Latino future.
"Months ago," he continued, "Lisa told us that upon her retirement from Time Warner this winter, she would join us at CPL to become a Hauser Leader in Residence. She was fiercely committed to our mission and to helping us raise funds for students. We were thrilled at the prospect.
"Tragically," said Gergen, "she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and as it progressed, her life was turned upside down. She relocated to Denver, CO, for her final months, where she died on Friday, March 16, surrounded by friends and family.
"Lisa was a model of bravery who was dedicated to the development of young Hispanic leaders. When asked by senior leadership at Time Warner how they might honor her, she immediately asked that they contribute to this new fellowship at the Kennedy School."
Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said, "As leader of Time Warner's Cultural Investments team and the company's first Chief Diversity Officer, Lisa had always been an industry-leading proponent—and shining example—of the benefits of workforce diversity. She was a passionate warrior for social justice and a relentless advocate for underserved and under-represented communities and artists. In recognition of her lifetime of inspirational leadership, we are proud to establish the Lisa Garcia Quiroz Graduate Fellowship."
About the Lisa Garcia Quiroz Graduate Fellowship
Housed at Harvard Kennedy School's Center for Public Leadership, the Lisa Garcia Quiroz Graduate Fellowship will provide funding for emerging student leaders who have demonstrated an interest in reducing disparities in U.S. Latino and other underserved communities. The fellowship will offer tuition, fees and living expenses to admitted applicants to any of the master's degree programs at HKS and will complement the Center's existing U.S. Latino Leadership Fellowship and U.S. Latino Leadership Initiative Program.
The establishment of the Lisa Garcia Quiroz Graduate Fellowship at Harvard Kennedy School will draw emerging leaders who share Lisa's passion for service-oriented leaders committed to serving the public good across sectors.
For more information about the Lisa Garcia Quiroz Graduate Fellowship please contact Erika Carlsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-495-1386.
To contribute to the fund, please contact Jody Sharpe at email@example.com or 617-495-9626.
"They see campuses as a fertile recruiting ground," said Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt.
White supremacist group Vanguard America vandalized a Black History Month poster at Middle Tennessee University last week with propaganda, along with "plastering college campuses with fliers, demonstrating the trend shows no signs of stopping," according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"This is a hate crime. Let's stop playing games," said Scot X. Esdaile, president of the NAACP Connecticut chapter.
Brianna Brochu, a white, former University of Hartford student who rubbed her used tampons on her Black roommate, Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe's, backpack and allegedly put Rowe's toothbrush in places "where the sun doesn't shine," will not face hate crime charges.
Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe's University of Hartford roommate used her bodily fluids to contaminate her possessions.
The hashtag #JusticeForJazzy prompted national attention to the plight of Chennel "Jazzy" Rowe, 18, a Black University of Hartford student, whose white roommate rubbed used tampons on her backpack and poisoned her body lotion, among other hateful incidents.
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