U Michigan Launches Three Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiatives

As part of its ongoing strategic efforts to enhance diversity in higher education and society, the university's National Center for Institutional Diversity is starting the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Professorship, Grants to Support Research and Scholarship for Change, and the Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award and initiatives. Through these initiatives, the center is actively working to highlight the interconnections of diversity and excellence in research and scholarship in ways that positively affect knowledge production and its use for societal change.

Northland College Pledges to be Sanctuary for Undocumented Students

In a letter dated March 2, the college's president cites a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten minorities as a basis for affirming Northland’s intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference. Unless it is legally required to do so, the college will not voluntarily share student information with or grant property access to immigration enforcement officials, nor participate in the enforcement actions of immigration officials on campus.

Johns Hopkins U Commits $55.5M to Locally Owned Businesses

The university and the Johns Hopkins Health System hired 304 workers from Baltimore's distressed neighborhoods and campus-area communities and committed $55.5 million of construction project spending with minority- and women-owned or disadvantaged businesses in the first year of their HopkinsLocal initiative, an effort to use the university's purchasing and hiring power to help expand opportunities for those living in city neighborhoods.

Four Community Colleges Get National Recognition for Advancing Diversity

Hillsborough Community College, Lee College, Oklahoma City Community College and Seminole State College of Florida were named as finalists in the 2017 Awards of Excellence by ​the American Association of Community Colleges in the category of Advancing Diversity.

Brown U Releases Inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Report

One year after launching Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion: An Action Plan for Brown University, a new report focuses attention on the university’s successes in building a foundation for sustained, long-term success toward achieving the action plan’s goals, such as the development of department-level diversity and inclusion action plans by every academic and administrative unit. In year one, the annual report explains, Brown focused primarily on the development of policies, infrastructures, mechanisms, resources and pilot programs that create a sustainable path to the plan’s future success.

Niagara College Launches Diversity and Social Justice Center

The university announced its plans to launch a new on-campus center that aims to foster and grow the institution's commitment to diversity and social justice. Among other goals, the center will support faculty and student research, organize events, provide professional development, and serve as a community resource and expand community engagement.

Virginia State U Opens Food Pantry

Thanks to a partnership with the grocery chain Food Lion, a new campus food pantry gives students with limited funds a variety of healthy foods in an effort to reduce hunger and food insecurity. This new initiative also aims to increase graduation rates by helping to meet students' basic needs.

North Carolina State U Helps Ease Financial Burden of Textbooks

In an effort to ease the financial burden on students, the Alt Textbook Project is a competitive grant process that supports faculty to adopt, adapt or create free and open alternatives to textbooks.

Student Governments Advocate Fee Waivers for Underrepresented Students

The Undergraduate Council of Students president at Brown University introduced the No Apologies Initiative, calling for universities to waive application fees for first-generation and low-income applicants by fall 2017. Signatories include presidents of undergraduate student governments and leaders of first-generation and low-income student groups from 10 peer universities, including the seven other Ivy League schools, and Stanford University, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Big Tent Consortium Issues Travel Ban Call to Action

The Big Tent Consortium, a global network of universities and their community partners, have issued a call to action to its members to oppose the Jan. 27 U.S. travel ban, join with other worldwide protests, and create spaces for dialogue within universities and communities everywhere to combat alleged growing Islamophobia and exclusionary trends around the world.

City College San Francisco to Offer Free Education

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced at a press conference recently that, starting fall 2017, community college will be tuition-free for all San Francisco residents through the City College of San Francisco. Approved via a voter proposition in November 2016, the plan allows any student who has lived in San Francisco for at least one year, regardless of income, to attend community college for free.

Higher Education Leaders Issue Statements on Immigration Ban

Many higher education leaders issued statements recently in response to the Trump administration's executive order to ban immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven countries, which are majority Muslim, from entering the U.S. They criticized the ban for the disruption it caused to students and scholars and for confusion around the order and its implementation and, in many cases, expressed moral outrage.

Wheaton College Announces Scholarships for Refugees

The college recently announced the Wheaton Refugee Scholarship to be awarded for student refugees fleeing conflict in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen—the seven nations named in President Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

U Alberta Creates Multi-Faith Space

The new Multi-Faith Prayer and Meditation Space offers spiritual peace and quiet for students of various faiths, offering more opportunity to rest, recharge and get to know people of other religions.

U California Divests $475M from Wells Fargo Contracts

Following continued advocacy from the Afrikan Black Coalition, a Black student union, the university has discontinued $475 million worth of contracts with Wells Fargo citing amoral practices and unfair treatment of black and brown people as the reason. The decision comes on the heels of several cities and states terminating relationships with Wells Fargo.

Pierce College Opens Food Pantry for Students in Need

The new pantry contains free, non-perishable food items. With student government acting as steward of this new program, the pantry serves a need for students who are dealing with food scarcity, students who have forgotten money on a particular day or for students who find themselves on campus after the cafeteria has closed.

Green Mountain College Offers Sustainability Scholarship to High Schoolers

High school seniors who want to pursue an interest and eventually a career in sustainability can apply for the college's new First in Sustainability Scholarship, a $200,000 award that seeks to bring attention to the college's sustainable mission and encourage a wider array of students to apply to the college. The scholarship will fully cover the winner's four-year tuition, room, board and fees.

U Arkansas Little Rock Increases Higher Ed Accessibility Via Partnership

The university partnered with Little Rock School District on a new partnership, Trojan Pathway, that aims to make higher education more affordable and accessible. Through the partnership, students in the classes of 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 and their parents can sign a non-binding agreement that guarantees the student a spot at the university as long as the student satisfies admissions criteria, submits a complete application and makes acceptable financial arrangements.

NY Governor Proposes Free Tuition at State Colleges

New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo proposed a new plan aimed at making college tuition-free for eligible students. The plan covers college students who have been accepted at a four-year or city university system school, provided they or their family earn $125,000 or less a year. The plan was unveiled at LaGuardia Community College alongside U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

NASFAA Releases Report on Free College

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) recently published a report that, after evaluating current and proposed promise programs, offers considerations for promise program developers to keep in mind in creating future federal, state or local plans. The report comes after NASFAA’s board of directors charged a task force to identify ways to scale promise programs to the national level.

Business Historians Move Meeting Out of NC

The Business History Conference, an affiliate of the American Historical Association, has announced that it will change the location of its 2018 meeting from Charlotte, N.C., to Baltimore. The organization did so out of protest to HB2, known as House Bill 2 or “the bathroom bill,” the North Carolina law that bars transgender people from using bathrooms other than those associated with their biological gender assigned at birth.

Higher Education Leaders Sign Letter in Support of DACA

As of Nov. 21, 2016, more than 180 college and university presidents from public and private institutions across the U.S. have signed statement supporting Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The statement includes the benefit of this program on communities and the economy and asks that the program not only be upheld but expanded. Signatures are still being accepted.

Harvard U Strike Ends With New Labor Contract

In a 583 to 1 vote in favor of a new five-year labor contract, dining hall workers will return to work after a strike that began on Oct. 5, demanding a pay increase for 750 employees to cover the increasing cost of insurance. Now all of Harvard's workers will earn a minimum of $35,000 per year,. As part of the bargaining agreement with the help of their union, the dining hall employees will be moved into a new health care plan, but the school will pay the increased costs.

Southern Illinois U Gives Food Assistance to Hungry Students

Having opened in fall 2016, an estimated 300 students have already visited the new food pantry. Visits are limited to once per month and the amount visitors can take depends on the number of people in their family. Managed by a graduate student studying social work, the food pantry is sustained by donations.

Pennsylvania State U Brandywine Opens Food Pantry Service

After a student-initiated investigation revealed that peers needed food assistance, the CUB-Board was born, providing food and necessities such as soap, detergent and paper towels for students in need. Students can claim up to seven bags of groceries per month or, if they have a one-time need for lunch or a snack, they can come to the CUB-Board without a full application.

Northwestern U Students Form New Social Justice Group

Student Action NU, a new undergraduate-led organization, is meant to serve as a space for students who want to organize around social justice issues with an intersectional perspective, such as the Black Lives Matter movement and climate injustice issues.

Rhode Island Sets Goal to Save Students $5M on Textbooks

Responding to concerns about the rising cost of textbooks being a barrier to a degree, Governor Gina M. Raimondo announced a new challenge that seeks to save college students $5 million over the next five years by transitioning to openly licensed textbooks. The announcement was made at Rhode Island College, which launched a pilot program that has already saved students $100,000 by replacing the traditional textbook for all sections of its Biology 108 with an openly licensed text.

NCAA Encourages Divisions to Sign Diversity Pledge

The NCAA’s diversity and inclusion pledge, gaining approval from the NCAA's board of governors in August 2016, is now available online for presidents and chancellors to affirm their commitment to ethnic, racial and gender diversity in the hiring process for athletics. Colleges, universities and athletics conferences that commit to the pledge will be recognized in a public listing on the NCAA’s website. This comes after a 2014-15 NCAA employment survey shows slow progress toward addressing diversity initiatives.

Ten Universities Tackle Gender Inequality

The inaugural HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report highlights the progress of 10 global universities that signed a gender equality pledge. Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 is an initiative that convenes 10 university presidents as well as heads of state and CEOs to fast-track gender equality. The group of 10 universities span across eight countries on five continents.

Smith College Invests $8.5M of Endowment in Sustainability

In her annual welcome letter, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney announced the college will invest $8.5 million of its endowment in a private equity fund focused on energy efficiency and sustainable manufacturing processes. McCartney's welcome letter also mentions a commitment to a just and inclusive campus and highlights a few key events during the upcoming year to build a campus of inclusion.

ACC Moves Games Out of North Carolina

In response to a recent North Carolina law that makes it illegal for a person in a publicly owned building to use a restroom that does not correspond with the gender listed on their birth certificate, the ACC Council of Presidents recently joined the NCAA when they announced the relocation of all neutral site championships for the 2016-17 academic year. The ACC and NCAA expressed a desire to promote an inclusive atmosphere for all college athletes, coaches and fans.

California State U East Bay Helps Under-Resourced Students

After a recent study from the chancellor’s office revealed a small number of the university’s students is homeless, a member of the university's Care Team was appointed to design a program that helps students who are homeless, face food insecurity and/or are financially unstable. In addition to launching a food pantry, organizing drives to provide clothing and toiletries, and addressing emergency housing and financial insecurity, the program aims to also provide students with a sense of community and support.

Brown U Will Consider Undocumented & DACA Students as Domestic Applicants

Beginning with the class entering in fall 2017, the university will consider first-time, first-year undergraduate applicants who hold undocumented or DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status and graduate from a U.S. high school as if they were a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The change means that like first-time, first-year domestic students, undocumented and DACA applicants will be considered under the university’s need-blind admission policy and that Brown will meet 100 percent of each student’s demonstrated financial need upon matriculation.

INSIGHT Into Diversity Recognizes 82 Institutions for Diversity

The INSIGHT Into Diversity recently announced the 2016 recipients of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion through initiatives, programs and outreach; student recruitment, retention and completion; and hiring practices for faculty and staff.

Georgetown U President Responds to Its History of Slavery

After a new report was published by the university's Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation, which cites the school's involvement in the institution of slavery when it sold 272 enslaved people in 1838, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia announced that it will issue an apology, give the descendent community the same admissions process considerations as the Georgetown community, develop a public memorial to the enslaved, and establish a new Institute for the Study of Slavery and Its Legacies. In addition, two campus buildings will be renamed.

Colorado Mountain College Pilots Textbook Rental Program

Lessening the financial hardship for some, a new partnership with textbook rental company Rafter Inc. allows students to pay a flat fee of $286 for the semester with a guarantee of receiving all required textbooks and course materials in time for when school starts. The National Association of College Stores estimates that the average college student spends $655 on textbooks each year.

North Carolina State U Lifts Resource Burden for Low-Income Students

A new program called Pack2Pack connects under-resourced students within the Pack Promise program with used, unwanted home furnishings that would otherwise go to local landfills.

Business Officers Discuss Sustainability

Business leaders gathered recently after the NACUBO annual meeting to explore how to preserve the core mission and values while ensuring a more sustainable future. The content and discussion was focused on building integrated strategies for affordability, diversity and sustainability for higher education to fulfill its critical role in meeting society's needs.

Norfolk State U $5M NSF Grant to Support Underrepresented Minority Students

The five-year, $5 million National Science Foundation grant through the university's Center for Renewable Energy and Advanced Materials will be used for investigating and developing advanced materials and devices for renewable energy. Additional aspects of the research include introducing underrepresented minority students to energy engineering through training and outreach activities.

NY Times Covers Food Banks on College Campuses

The recently published piece from the NY Times indicates that more than 300 food pantries have been created at colleges across the country "to address a problem the Agriculture Department calls "food insecurity" on campus". The article mentions a stigma associated with food insecurity on college campuses and cites various stories of students who face hunger.

College-Bound Student Rejects Scholarship From Nestlé

Hannah Rousey, accepted to Sterling College for fall 2016, turned down a $1,000 scholarship from Poland Spring, a subsidiary of Nestlé, due to her objections to bottled water and the company’s alleged environmentally destructive practices. Rousey, future sustainable agriculture and environmental protection law and policy student, said that acceptance of the money would be "hypocritical". Photo credit: GoFundMe

Indiana U Professor Uses Innovative Fundraising Method for Scholarship Endowment

Mike Keen, the Chancellor's Professor of Sustainability, will hold an early retirement party at which he intends to fundraise to endow the Sustain the Future Scholarships for underrepresented students with financial need from the South Bend region. Keen and his wife are donating $25,000 to the scholarship. They hope to raise an additional $10,000 with tattoo votes and party ticket sales.

North Carolina State U Tours State with Diversity & Social Justice Lens

Partially funded by the University Diversity Mini-Grant program, the College of Natural Resources and the University Sustainability Office coordinated a recent tour of eastern North Carolina to raise student awareness about the environmental, societal and economic dimensions of sustainability.

SUNY New Paltz Bolsters Diversity & Inclusion Support with New Hire & Task Force

The university recently announced Tanhena Pacheco Dunn as chief diversity officer after being hired in 2012 as executive director of Compliance and coordinator of Campus Climate and Title IX. Pacheco Dunn came to SUNY New Paltz from Vassar College. Additionally, a new, 21-member Diversity and Inclusion Plan Task Force has been tasked with leading the development of a draft campus diversity and inclusion plan.

Conscious Company Compiles Top 15 Affordable Conscious MBA Program List

Using Net Impact’s Business as UNusual report as a baseline, Conscious Company added affordability, social impact, environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship filters to compile the top 15 impact-focused business programs in the U.S. today. Each costs less than $110,000 for two years.

Amherst College Receives $1M 'Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence'

The Cooke Prize was recently awarded to the college due to its record of eliminating arbitrary barriers to admission and promoting the success of high-achieving students from low-income families.

Wesleyan U Funds Sustainability Education and Social Justice Programs

Among this year's initiatives and projects that the student-run Green Fund allocated money to are the development of sustainability curriculum into existing courses, an event featuring a Stony Brook University professor about ecofeminism, eco-grief and climate justice, and funding to a pilot program that offers cooperative food shares to a local elementary school.

Santa Ana College Announces Tuition-Free First Year

Building on the past 33 years of the Santa Ana Partnership, a pathway for students in the Santa Ana Unified School District to attend Santa Ana College, the college will now include a guaranteed tuition-free freshman year for all full-time students from the Santa Ana Unified School District.

NCAA Board of Governors Approves Anti-Discrimination Process for Bids

The NCAA Board of Governors adopted a new requirement that all sites hosting NCAA events and bids must demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.

U Louisville Removes Confederate Monument After 120 Years

The university's President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the removal of a Confederate monument on the university's Belknap Campus. Student, faculty and staff members of the Diversity Committee listed the removal of the statue as one of their highest priorities to improve diversity and inclusion on campus. The statue was gifted by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association in 1895 to commemorate the Kentuckians who fought and died for the Confederacy.