NYPD officers
(Steve Sanchez Photos/Shutterstock)

NYPD Replaced by Mental Health Experts in NYC; Your College Degree Might Not Be Worth the Debt; and More

NYPD may no longer respond to mental health emergencies in NYC.

New York City administrators have announced a new pilot program where teams of EMS health workers and mental health crisis workers will be dispatched to emergency mental health calls placed to the city’s 911 system rather than the NYPD, USA Today reported. 

The change comes in response to the numerous calls to reform policing across the U.S. in 2020 due to the tragic deaths that have occurred as the result of emergency mental health situations gone awry, where police officers have shot and killed the very people they were sent out to assist. While the deaths of Walter Wallace in Philadelphia and Daniel Prude in Rochester made headlines earlier this year (both were shot following 911 calls that were intended to bring them help), New York’s push for a better system began in 2016 when 66-year-old Deborah Danner, a paranoid schizophrenic, was shot after officers arrived at her home following an emergency call for assistance. “After her death, Mayor de Blasio and then-police commissioner James O’Neill were outraged and said Danner should have not been killed,” New York 1 reported, with de Blasio later vowing to improve the system. 

Reaction to the newly announced test program, which will launch in 2021, has been mixed with many cautiously optimistic but still not fully satisfied. CNN reported that mental health advocates would like to see a program that operates without police involvement at all, while policing advocates worry the new system could put EMTs and mental health professionals at risk should the situations they are responding to become violent.  

 

“Is your degree worth the debt it racked up?” new report asks.

The nonprofit Brookings Institution has released a new study on student debt and which careers incurring debt pays off for — and which careers don’t. While Americans of all age groups owe an astounding $1.5 trillion in student debt, Adam Looney, author of the report, argues that that debt shouldn’t all be looked at in the same way, especially in government attempts to assist with student loan repayment. For example, Looney points out that while pharmacy students rack up an average debt of $126,013, their average income is also very high — $110,728 within a year of graduation — so they’ll ultimately have an easier time paying that debt off. In comparison, individuals with cosmetology degrees only borrow an average of $9,900 for their education, but with average earnings of $16,600, that debt can become significantly harder to pay back due to compounding interest. 

According to the report, the five degrees responsible for the most student debt are: 

  • MBA
  • JD
  • B.A. in business
  • B.S. in nursing
  • M.D. 

Individuals earning these degrees owe 35% of the country’s total debt, Brookings reported, but are also among the top 20% of highest wage earners in the country as well. 

According to Looney, the biggest problem with student debt in the U.S. is that “Large numbers of students borrow to attend programs where graduates rarely earn more than a typical high school graduate (about $26,500). Even with modest debts, borrowers with weak earnings have difficulty paying their loans.” Conversely, Looney noted “some borrowers attend programs with solid earnings, but which are nonetheless unsustainable given astronomical levels of debt they owe.” To help reduce future levels of debt in the country, Looney advised colleges and universities to “do more to direct students — particularly career-oriented students — into programs that lead to good jobs and successful financial outcomes and to reduce the costs and loan burdens associated with lower-earning programs.”

 

Harvard cleared of admissions discrimination claims.

In a win for affirmative action-style admission programs at colleges and universities across the U.S., a federal appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling that Harvard University does not intentionally discriminate against prospective Asian American students, Politico has revealed. 

The lawsuit against Harvard began in 2014 when a group of Asian-Americans claimed the university discriminated against them during the admission process, giving them a “personal rating” that was lower than what individuals of other races applying to the school received. Harvard argued “its admissions practice was a legitimate attempt to achieve diversity in the student body and did not violate the Constitution,” NBC News has reported. 

“Today’s decision once again finds that Harvard’s admissions policies are consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and lawfully and appropriately pursue Harvard’s efforts to create a diverse campus that promotes learning and encourages mutual respect and understanding in our community,” Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane said in a statement. “As we have said time and time again, now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity.” Experts believe the case may now be appealed to the newly conservative-leaning Supreme Court.

 

 

D.I. Fast Facts

10,000

Number of Black interns that companies in the U.K. (including law firm Linklaters and the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers) have committed to hiring in the coming months in a push to improve the diversity of the country’s professional industries. A U.S. version of the program is under consideration.
#10000BlackInterns

 

6 months

Amount of time the Target store on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis was closed after being gutted during social unrest and rioting following the killing of George Floyd in May 2020. The store officially reopened on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Star Tribune in Minneapolis, Minnesota

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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