Lumina Foundation Awards Race & Social Justice Equity Grants Totaling $1.6M
In response to what it sees as an urgent need to improve the atmosphere around race on U.S. campuses, the Lumina Foundation recently announced that 19 colleges and universities will receive one-time grants—ranging from $25,000 to $50,000—totaling $625,000 from its Fund for Racial Justice and Equity. The University of Southern California's Race and Equity Center will also be supported by a $1 million grant to help improve and assess campus climate nationally.
McGill U Hosts Graduation Ceremony for LGBTQ Students
In an effort to support equal rights and foster an inclusive atmosphere, the university recently held its first-ever lavender graduation ceremony, which honors students from the LGBTQ community. The Human Rights Campaign has a list of 166 American universities that offer lavender graduation ceremonies for their LGBTQ students.
U Iowa to Provide Professional Clothing to Students
Launching in fall 2018, the Clothing Closet at Iowa will be a clothing bank that gives students an affordable option for buying new or used professional clothing. In addition to supporting students who are unable to afford professional clothes, it will also divert textile waste from landfills and promote reusing and recycling clothing.
Seattle Colleges Hires Associate Vice Presidents for Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
For the first time in the history of Seattle Colleges, all colleges have established campus diversity officers for equity, diversity and inclusion. These positions will report directly to their respective college presidents. Each position will be tasked to work collaboratively across the district and to help establish and monitor the equity and inclusion goals in the Seattle Colleges strategic plan. D’Andre Fisher is at North Seattle College; Betsy Hasegawa is at South Seattle College; and Valerie Hunt is at Seattle Central College.
College William & Mary Issues Apology for Slavery & Discrimination History
The William & Mary Board of Visitors adopted a new resolution that includes an apology for the college’s history as it relates to exploiting slave labor and racial discrimination. Since 2009, the college has been investigating the college's role in perpetuating slavery and racial discrimination through a project called The Lemon Project. The project, named after a man who was once enslaved by the College of William & Mary, is a multifaceted and dynamic attempt to rectify wrongs perpetrated against African Americans by the college through action or inaction. A major effort that will soon formally get underway is a design competition for a memorial on the Historic Campus honoring the enslaved.
Harvard U Graduate Assistants Vote for Union
Graduate students at Harvard University voted 1,931 to 1,523 to form a union affiliated with the United Auto Workers. The election, held earlier this month, was the second on the union issue, as a 2016 vote proved inconclusive.
U North Carolina Asheville Offers Free Summer Courses
In an effort to help students reduce student debt, the university is now offering students who are one or two classes shy of junior or senior status (60 or 90 credits) free summer courses to encourage them to complete the 120 credits required to graduate in four years.
U North Carolina Charlotte Connects With City by Light Rail
The 9.3-mile stretch of extended light rail tracks offers 11 new stations providing service to the university’s main and uptown campuses. The campus added sidewalks, crosswalks, and bus stations to support pedestrian traffic from stations. For the station on the edge of campus, the university funded a pedestrian bridge over a highway.
College of the Holy Cross to Phase Out Knight Mascot and Imagery
Noting that the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties the college to religious wars and the violence of the Crusade, it will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery. It will instead use the interlocking HC on a purple shield as the primary marker for all athletic teams, uniforms and advertising.
Cameron U Establishes Social Change Endowed Lectureship
The establishment of the Albert Johnson Sr. and Josephine Johnson Endowed Lectureship in Social Change aims to advance the study of social justice, racial and ethnic cultures and human interaction. The funds will be used to bring distinguished lecturers and workshops to campus, to support faculty development related to civil rights and social justice, and to aid faculty and students in providing services to the community.
Portland State U to Offer Free Tuition
Low-income Oregonian college students transferring to the university will no longer have to pay tuition beginning fall 2018 if they are eligible for the federal Pell Grant and enroll full-time upon transferring. Called Transfers Finish Free, the program will cover base tuition and mandatory fees for up to 15 credits per term to eligible transfer students from any four-year college or community college.
U Wisconsin-Madison Introduces Free Tuition Program
Beginning in fall 2018, Wisconsin residents admitted as a new student with an adjusted gross family income of $56,000 or less will have tuition and some fees waived. Those that qualify, however, will have to pay for books, housing and other living expenses.
Creighton U Welcomes Inaugural VP for Institutional Diversity & Inclusion
Christopher M. Whitt, Ph.D., joins the university this month as the its first vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion. Most recently, Whitt served as an associate professor and department chair in Political Science at Augustana College. He also founded and directed the Center for Inclusive Leadership and Equity at Augustana.
U Edinburgh Divests Fossil Fuel Holdings
(U.K.) The university recently announced that it will sell its final $8.7 million (6.3 million British pounds) of fossil fuel holdings, making it completely free of all coal, oil and gas holdings. This announcement comes after its 2015 decision to divest from companies involved in coal and tar sands.
Bemidji State U Unveils Center for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The new Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is a student-driven initiative that promotes and reinforces fundamental values of civic engagement and leadership, and international and multicultural understanding in a space safe for all students, faculty and staff. Dr. Brian V. Xiong has been hired as the center’s coordinator.
Brandeis U Receives $8.4M Gift for Social Justice Initiatives
A former rehabilitation doctor who visited Brandeis just once, but felt a strong connection to its social justice values, left the university an $8.4 million gift, which will provide financial aid for four to five students in the Sustainable International Development program and support research and program development in the Center for Global Development and Sustainability.
Warren Wilson College & Bard College Collaborate on Five-Year Undergraduate/Graduate Program
Warren Wilson College has partnered with Bard College’s graduate programs in Sustainability to help environmental studies students graduate with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. Through the new agreement, undergraduates can opt to dual enroll at both campuses. For the first three years, students study, work and serve at Warren Wilson College and then complete their education at Bard.
Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Center Ranks Top Illinois HEIs for Underserved Students
The Illinois Education Research Council at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has published a new report that identifies the state’s top seven, four-year postsecondary institutions that are good investments for underserved students. Motivated by the need to provide an equitable education, the study analyzed publicly available institutional data on graduation rates, earnings, student loan debt and loan default rates to rank 55 public, nonprofit private, and for-profit private institutions in the state of Illinois.
Brown U Replaces Loans With Scholarships
Having achieved its initial fundraising goal of $30 million, the university will replace loans with scholarship funds in financial aid packages for all returning and incoming undergraduate students starting in the 2018-19 academic year.
Cornell U Launches Food Security Grocery Store
Based on results of a Cornell University survey indicating a high percentage of students were regularly without access to food, the Center for Transformative Action launched Anabel's Grocery to provide nutritious, affordable food that includes low-priced meals, daily meal kits and fresh staples. The store is student-led and has served over 1,000 students in the first semester of operations. The store also offers educational programs around quality food, food choices, wellness and positive social change.
American College Greece Begins Scholarship Program for Refugees
(Greece) Called Education Unites: From Camp to Campus, the goal of the new program is to give displaced students the opportunity to continue their education, provide them with knowledge, skills and academic credits they can use either in Greece or in any other European country they move to, and help them get out of the camps and become integrated in local colleges.
Princeton U Files Lawsuit Regarding DACA
In early November, Princeton University and Microsoft joined together to file a lawsuit against President Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A DACA-protected student at Princeton, Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, is also listed as a plaintiff.
Blackburn College to Meet 100% of Student Financial Need
The Blackburn Promise is a new program that meets the full amount of each individual student's financial need after they have paid their estimated family contribution as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Direct college costs covered by the Blackburn Promise financial aid package include tuition, fees, room and board.
HEI Presidents Urge Congress to Pass Legislation Protecting Dreamers
Nearly 800 college and university presidents and chancellors signed onto the letter sent to U.S. Senate and House leaders, urging Congress to pass legislation as soon as possible to permanently protect Dreamers. Citing widespread public support, the letter argues that individuals covered under DACA have made valuable contributions to US economy and security and should continue to be able to do so.
North Carolina State U Introduces Professional Clothes Exchange
Through the Wolfpack Styled clothing reuse program, the university’s Career Development Center connects students with free professional clothes while also reducing textile waste. Student interns and volunteers organize and sort donations, which have come from faculty, staff, alumni and a local, alumni-owned consignment store.
Saint Anselm College Hires First Chief Diversity Officer
The college recently hired Ande Diaz, Ph.D., to lead its diversity efforts. Coming from Princeton University as an assistant dean for Multicultural Affairs for seven years, Dr. Diaz is responsible for increasing diversity and inclusivity in the campus community.
U California System Takes Legal Action in Defense of DACA
The University of California System has filed suit in federal court against the Trump administration for its recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country without fear of deportation. Approximately a quarter of the country’s 800,000 DACA individuals, commonly known as DREAMers, live in California. Of those, roughly 4,000 are enrolled in the University of California System.
INSIGHT Into Diversity Acknowledges 2017 HEED Award Recipients
This year's Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award was given to 80 higher education institutions, 15 of which were categorized as Diversity Champions by exemplifying an unyielding commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their campus communities, across academic programs, and at the highest administrative levels.
New Senate Bill Addresses Access for Homeless Students
A recently announced senate bill directs colleges and universities to publicize financial aid and resources available for those students and to set up a single point of contact on campus to help them find and obtain assistance. It also attempts to streamline the verification process to determine that a student is independent.
Higher Education Leaders Criticize DACA Repeal
Many college and university leaders have spoken out against the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a federal program that allows undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children to remain in the U.S.
Campus Pride Releases Top 25 LGBTQ-Friendly List
Campus Pride chose the 25 campuses from 16 states based on their overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive benchmark measures. The Campus Pride Index, which currently includes 300+ campuses, is a national benchmarking tool that self-assesses LGBTQ-friendly policies, programs and practices.
Binghamton U Commits to Advance Workplace Diversity & Inclusion
By signing on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion commitment, Binghamton pledges to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, and where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion. The more than 290 signatories will convene at a summit in November to discuss longer-term growth strategies that will advance the agenda.
U Virginia Students Mobilize Against Hate
In repudiation of hate and bigotry, thousands of University of Virginia and Charlottesville community members retraced the steps that neo-Nazi and white supremacist protesters took on Aug. 11. The crowd displayed a message of solidarity as they chanted, sang hymns and held a moment of silence for those that lost their lives.
U Texas Austin Removes Three Confederate Monuments
After protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, turned violent in mid-August, the university’s president said in a letter to the campus' community “that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism." After speaking with the campus community, the president decided to remove and relocate three Confederate statues on campus, indicating the statues "represent the subjugation of African Americans" and are not in alignment with the university's core values.
Texas A&M U Cancels Speaker Event Over Safety Concerns
After consultation with law enforcement, the university has cancelled an on-campus event scheduled for September by Preston Wiginton, a Texas-based white nationalist. Wiginton linked the events of Charlottesville, Virginia, with his planned protest, which raised concerns about the safety of the university's students, faculty, staff and the public.
Duke U Removes Robert E. Lee Statue
After recent vandalization of a statue of Robert E. Lee at the entrance to the university's chapel, Duke University president recently authorized its removal after conferring with students, faculty, staff and alumni. The statue will be preserved so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future. The president also announced that a commission will be assembled to understand how best to memorialize individuals on campus and recommend principles drawn from Duke’s core values as a guide when questions arise.
AAC&U Selects Ten Institutions as Sites for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced today the ten institutions selected to serve as sites for the first Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Campus Centers. The TRHT Campus Centers are part of a multi-year initiative to educate, prepare and inspire the next generation to advance justice and build equitable communities. Selected through a competitive process, the institutions are: Austin Community College; Brown University; Duke University; Hamline University; Millsaps College; Rutgers University-Newark; Spelman College; The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina; University of Hawai’i at Mānoa; and University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Rhode Island to Offer Free Community College
The state's lawmakers passed the state budget proposal recently, which included $2.8 million to fund the free tuition program for one year. Graduating high school seniors who maintain a 2.5 GPA and go to school full-time will be eligible, regardless of income. Rhode Island joins three other states – New York, Tennessee and Oregon – that have approved plans to make community college free.
Eastern Kentucky U Creates Scholarship With Solar Savings
The Photons for the Future scholarship program uses the monetary savings generated by 25 solar panels on campus to provide $1,000 scholarships to students pursuing degrees in scientific fields. A donation helped pay for the solar panels and provide scholarship seed funding.
NC BOG Attempts to Ban Students From Practicing Litigation in Law School
The North Carolina Board of Governors has proposed a ban on litigation efforts by the UNC Center for Civil Rights at the law school of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which takes on legal cases of school desegregation, fair housing and environmental justice for poor and minority clients. Several board members want to prohibit the center from filing legal claims and lawsuits, saying it is inappropriate for the center to represent clients in court against other government entities. Some UNC and N.C. Central University law school leaders say barring the centers and clinics from engaging in legal action would effectively end those student training opportunities, potentially leading to questions from the American Bar Association.
U Wisconsin Madison Meets Student Needs With Food Hub
The UW Campus Food Shed is a new program that gives students and faculty access to free vegetables and produce, stocked by university agriculture researchers and local farms with excess crops. Many of these excess crops would otherwise be composted or thrown out.