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U. of Michigan Students Aim to Take Control of School's Diversity Without Affirmative Action

How is it that a university just miles away from Detroit only has 4.6 percent Black student enrollment?

By Julissa Catalan 


Detroit has a Black population of 83 percent and is a 45-minute drive from the University of Michigan. So how is it that the school only has 4.6 percent Black enrollment? 

The University of Michigan has had an ongoing struggle with its demographics for decades, but this semester, students are pushing back more than ever.

The United Coalition for Racial Justice (UCRJ) held the "Speak Out: 1,000 Strong for Racial Justice" demonstration last month, where hundreds of students, graduates, faculty and staff gathered for 12 hours overnight. According to the event posting on the U-M American Culture webpage, organizers sought to "protest low underrepresented minority enrollment and poor racial climate for students of color at the University of Michigan. While Provost Pollack's recent unveiling of new U-M diversity and inclusion initiatives represents an important step forward, we must continue to pursue student-led, direct civic engagement to hold the administration accountable. To avoid repeating past mistakes, we must ensure that these new initiatives are executed transparently, with direct student participation at every phase: that the administration not only welcome our voices, but our presences at the decision table." 

Events at the protest included film screenings, student open mic and teach-in sessions. For hours, students and supporters spoke about their hopes for progression in their university, and shared first-hand accounts on being part of the underrepresented group in their own higher-education community.

Barbara Ransby, a Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who has a master's and a Ph.D. from Michigan, addressed the gathering.

"The administration on this campus [must] summon the courage to do the right thing," she said. "It is utterly inexcusable to have a 4 percent Black representation on this campus [when you are] in driving distance of Detroit."

As a founding member of the school's United Coalition Against Racism, Ransby helped organize a 200-student, 24-hour sit-in that shut down the Fleming Administration  Building in 1987.

Attendees took to Twitter to document the event—a method which gained national exposure last fall when the school's Black Student Union (BSU) created the hashtag #BBUM (Being Black at University of Michigan). Students and alumni used social media to voice their frustrations over past experiences and their hopes for change. Speak Out was considered an extension of this campaign, and hoped to gain the same notoriety as its prototype.

Following the exposure gained from #BBUM, the BSU last month made multiple demands that included: housing on Central Campus for low-income students, renovations to the Trotter Multicultural Center, emergency scholarship funds for underrepresented students in need of financial support, and a 10 percent Black-student enrollment increase

U-M has responded with a $300,000 commitment to the multicultural center and a promise to relocate it to a more central location. A new leadership position is also being created specifically to recruit underrepresented students, and a residence-hall program is being implemented to foster inclusion, per The Michigan Daily.

While officials say it will be difficult to increase Black enrollment under Proposal 2, a 2006 voter ban on the use of affirmative action in public-college admissions in Michigan, students feel affirmative action is far from the only method, and U-M's administration should be obligated to do more.

Currently, Blacks account for 4.6 percent of U-M's undergraduate enrollment, a decline of 30 percent since 2006.

Update: Black Security Guard Gunned Down by Police Was Wearing a 'SECURITY' Hat

Not only was he clearly identifiable, but officers on the scene knew Jemel Roberson. A civil rights lawsuit has been filed against "Officer John Doe" and Midloathian Village.

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Jemel Roberson, age 26, shot and killed on Sunday by a white cop in a Chicago suburb, was wearing a hat that said "SECURITY" on it, clearly identifying himself as an ally to the police.

Officers circled his body in video footage, after telling the unnamed officer, who is a four-year veteran of the force, that Roberson was "one of us."

The medical examiner in Cook County ruled Roberson's death a homicide by multiple gunshot wounds.

Beatrice Roberson, Jemel's mother, retained attorney Gregory Kulis who filed a civil rights lawsuit against "Officer John Doe" and the Village of Midloathian on Monday claiming the officer's actions were "intentional, willful and wanton" and that the shooting was "unprovoked," "unjustified" and "unreasonable."

"Jemel was trying to save people's lives," said Kulis. "He was working security. A shooting had just taken place inside the establishment. So he was doing his job and holding onto somebody until somebody arrived. And a police officer, it's our feeling didn't make the proper assessment and fired and killed Jemel."

Midloathian police expressed "heartfelt condolences" in a statement to the family.

Sherriff's office spokeswoman Sophia Ansari said the man shot by police, "turned out to be a guy working security for the bar."

Roberson was the father of a nine-month-old son with Avontea Boose, and was planning on getting an apartment for his family with his earnings from the job, according to Rev. Marvin Hunter, who also said Roberson was a promising keyboard player at several churches including his, and "an upstanding man."

Hunter is the great uncle of Laquan McDonald who was also killed by police in Chicago in 2014.

A vigil held outside Manny's on Monday was wrought with expressions of frustration, grief, and demands for action:

"Why? Why did you kill him?" Roberson's cousin, Candace Ousley asked. "It doesn't make sense. The police officer just saw a black man. I believe if he was indeed white, he'd be alive."

Another man at the vigil said, "This was not reckless policing, this was homicidal policing. They saw a black man with a gun. If he did not have a gun, his black skin made him a weapon.

"As a community, we demand respectful engagement. We want the police to treat our people with just a certain amount of dignity and respect. They patrol the Black community like some . . . Gestapo being judge, jury and executioner."

Another vigil attendee, Harvey Alderman Keith Price, called on State's Attorney Kim Foxx to open an investigation into the shooting.

"This could have been my son. This could have been any one of our sons," Price said. "So Kim Foxx, do the right thing, open up a full out investigation. That's what you got elected for."

Lane Tech College Prep, where Roberson graduated from, tweeted a remembrance of Roberson:

Related Story: Black Security Guard Doing His Job Shot Dead By Police

Jemel Roberson Remembered By Friends www.youtube.com

Voter Registration Deadline for 15 States Today

"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warns activist Shaun King.

REUTERS

"Do not assume you are properly registered to vote," warned Shaun King repeatedly. His wife went to vote with her registration card in her hand, and they said she couldn't vote. King said some of the reasons that people are being turned away are nefarious.

Fifteen states close registration today, including Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. States that do not have online registration: Arkansas, Michigan, Mississippi, and Texas.

A list of every state's deadline and links to each state's voting requirements was published by the New York Times.

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Update: Officer's Story of S​hooting Botham Jean Contradicts Witnesses

Witnesses say they heard the officer say, "Let me in. Let me in."

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Botham "Bo" Jean was killed around 10 p.m. on Thursday night by Amber Guyger, a four-year veteran of the Dallas police department, who just ended her shift and returned to her apartment complex.

The 911 call said she cried after shooting Jean in the chest, and apologized saying she thought it was her apartment. Her arrest warrant says that Guyger reports drawing her gun when she saw a figure in the dark apartment, giving verbal commands—which were ignored—and then firing two shots.

But witnesses, according to the family lawyers, say that they heard sounds and talking that contradict that report.

"They heard knocking down the hallway followed by a woman's voice that they believe to be officer Guyger saying, 'Let me in. Let me in,'" attorney Lee Merritt said.

After the gunshots, a man's voice was heard.

"What we believe to be the last words of Botham Jean which was 'Oh my god, why did you do that?'" Merritt said.

There were two witnesses, Caitlyn Simpson and Yasmine Hernandez, that heard a lot of noise on the fourth floor that night, including 'police talk', like: "Open up!"

There was also a video taken by witnesses of Jean being rolled out on a stretcher, with EMS performing chest compressions on him.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is collecting all of the evidence before presenting to a grand jury, which could decide to up the charges to murder.

"We're going to unravel what we need to unravel, unturn what we need to unturn, and present a full case to the grand jury of Dallas County," Johnson said.

Protests were held Monday night outside the police department as questions still remain:

What were the results of the blood test for Guyger, and why did police respond from 30 miles away, rather than Dallas police headquarters that was two blocks away?

The family's lawyers are also still asking why Guyger was allowed to leave the scene without handcuffs and not be arrested for three days. "You or I would be arrested if we went to the wrong apartment and blow a hole in a person's chest, killing them," said Benjamin Crump.

The officer was arrested Sunday, and released on $300,000 bail as of Monday. She is on paid administrative leave.

Botham Jean's funeral is on Thursday.

Related Story: Dallas Police Department's Attempt to Demonize Murder Victim, Botham Jean, is Disgusting

Related Story: Update: Botham Jean Celebrated Amid the Urging of Officer Guyger to Come Clean

Related story: White Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter for Shooting Black Man in His Own Apartment

"Let me in": Witnesses dispute cop account of Botham Jean shooting, attorney says

If You Want Alexa to Respond, Sound Like a White Person from California

AI products like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home discriminate against minorities with accents.

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A study done recently by two research groups, Globalme and Pulse Labs, and the Washington Post revealed that certain artificial intelligence (AI) technology only works for people who resemble the demographic of its creators and testers.

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Hospitals, Doctors Can Sue Patients For Giving Negative Reviews: How This Affects Black Patients

Mounting research finds that Blacks are treated worse in the healthcare system but doctors and hospitals can sue patients for giving negative reviews. How does that work?

Photo by Dana Sacchetti IAEA

A patient entered a plea deal to end charges after a negative online review violated his civil stalking protection order.

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"The View" co-host Sunny Hostin said Monday on the show that she and her friends had rented a cottage at a historically Black beach, which they've done for many years, but on July 4th, the group was verbally assaulted by teens yelling racial slurs.

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Wife of New Trump Communications Boss is a Virulent Racist

Bill Shine, fired Fox News co-president of misogyny, upstaged by his ignoramus spouse.

Darla Shine's racist beliefs filled her Twitter page, which she deleted as soon as the White House announced that her husband, Bill Shine, was officially joining the Trump administration as assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff for communications.

Shine's racist statements dating back to 2015 included questioning why white people would be labeled racist for using the N-word and mocking African nations and Black hair.

On Friday, Mediate published a report with screenshots obtained from her Twitter account, @darlashine, before it was deleted.

In January, in defense of President Donald Trump's sh**hole comment about African nations, she tweeted a racist meme making fun of the progress of African nations when compared to Europe:

She mocked the hairstyles of Black women:

"If white chicks can't perm their hair – Black chicks can't go blonde."

She bashed NBA players LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, who spoke out about police-related shootings during the ESPY awards in 2016.

"Comical to see these over paid Black sports stars give Black Lives Matter speech at ESPYs."

She constantly voiced her opinion against the Black Lives Matter movement:

"Imagine the protests if three white teens murdered a Black woman #AmandaBlackburn Only Black Lives Matter I guess," said a tweet about the fatal 2015 shooting of Amanda Blackburn in Indianapolis.

"The new stand-in President at #mizzou is Black. Will every white College President have to be replaced," she said a 2015 tweet.

Shine had a problem with Black people being able to say the N-word while she and other white people can't.

"Funny how critics calling to ban Gone With the Wind, Jefferson Memorial, but no talk of banning the N-word or Rap songs with N-word in it."

"Just singing to one of my jams 'Golddigger' by Kanye West when I realized If I sing along to the verse 'Broke Ni**er' I might be a racist," tweeted Shine in July 2015 (West's song does not include a hard R version of the slur).

"At FSU u can punch a girl in the face & only get kicked off football team but sing a song with the N word in it & you're expelled at Oklahoma," said a 2015 tweet.

"Rebel Flag off State Buildings in SC but cop killer rap songs, songs about rape, and songs with N word continue to play on the radio."

Shine linked Black children with an anti-vaccination conspiracy theory:

"1 out of 10 Black boys has autism," said a February 2016 tweet.

In addition to Shine consistently bashing Black people over the years, she has made some disparaging posts about Muslims. She said the following in regard to ABC firing Roseanne Barr over her racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett:

"Wondering what it was that set off the #ABC execs the #Ape comment or really the #MuslimBrotherhood comment," she said a tweet in May.

Prior to working at the White House, Shine's husband was a Fox News co-president who resigned from the network in May 2017 following Bill O'Reilly and Roger Ailes sexual harassment allegations. Apparently, at the same time Bill Shine was at a network where "institutional racism blunts efforts to attract a more multicultural audience," Darla Shine, a former television producer and author of a book called "Happy Housewives," was spreading the same type of racism on social media.

In regard to Darla Shine's social media history, the White House has not responded to requests from media for comment.

Trump to Reverse Obama-Era Guidelines on Considering Race in College Admissions

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.

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