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.

Auburn U Opens Certified Gluten-Free Restaurant

University students with gluten intolerance now have access to Plains to Plate, a locally sourced farm-to-table restaurant that is now certified gluten-free and is the first retail concept on a college campus to achieve a Gluten-Free Food Service (GFFS) certification, a part of the Gluten Intolerance Group.

Los Angeles to Offer Free Community College

In early April, the city's mayor announced a plan to offer one year of free community college to graduates of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

HRC Names Over 30 University Hospitals as LGBT Healthcare Equality Leaders

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released its 2016 Healthcare Equality Index, a national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender benchmarking tool that evaluates healthcare facilities' policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients, visitors and employees. Over 30 university hospitals were identified as leaders by having patient non-discrimination policies, equal visitation policies, employment non-discrimination policies and training for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patient-centered care.

U Connecticut Names Chief Diversity Officer

Joelle A. Murchison has recently been named chief diversity officer and associate vice president to the university. Murchison, who begins her new role in July, will serve as the university’s main strategist responsible for guiding efforts to define, assess, and promote diversity, inclusion, and educational and employment opportunity. She will develop programs and coordinate activities to recruit and retain faculty, students and staff from diverse backgrounds.

Nine Universities Receive $450K for Low-Income Students

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and Coalition of Urban Serving Universities awarded nine public urban research universities a total of $450,000 to launch or expand pilot programs that inhibit low-income college students nearing graduation from dropping out. The recipients are Cleveland State University, Florida International University, Kent State University, The Ohio State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Central Florida, University of Houston, University of North Carolina, Charlotte and Wayne State University. The APLU and USU released a report on the success of these micro-grants at 10 universities that includes an implementation guide for universities.

Harvard Law School to Retire Shield

The Harvard Corporation has approved the recommendation of the Harvard Law School Shield Committee to retire the HLS shield, which is modeled on the family crest of an 18th century slaveholder, Isaac Royall. Because of its ties to slave labor, the shield came under fire in October 2015, when a group of law school students formed "Royall Must Fall" to demand that HLS discontinue using the Royall family crest as its symbol. The HLS has the opportunity to propose a new shield.

Brown U Renames Columbus Day

In an effort to recognize indigenous peoples and foster a more inclusive community, Brown University, by a recent vote of its faculty, has designated what was once Columbus Day at the university as Indigenous People's Day.

The Atlantic: 'The Hidden Hunger on College Campuses'

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of education policy and sociology at University of Wisconsin, last year surveyed 4,000 students at 10 community colleges across the country and found that more than half of all community-college students struggle with food insecurity. Related studies from Goldrick-Rab indicate that two types of students struggle with food insecurity, those that were in poverty before they began college and those that were forced to deal with it due to higher education expenses. While a sample of 10 colleges might seem low, the impacts are far reaching. "Hunger has a large impact on learning and college retention", reports The Atlantic.

Johns Hopkins U Announces $25M Diversity Initiative

The new, $25 million Faculty Diversity Initiative recently announced by university leadership seeks to support more expansive and inclusive faculty searches, create a pipeline of diverse scholars, and broaden support for underrepresented members of the faculty. With five key programatic components, the initiative will measure progress and provide accountability through data and public reporting.

Brandeis U Responds to On-Campus Racism Protest

A 12-day sit-in concluded after university administrators released a plan that includes increased diversity commitments and racial inclusion training for university staff. The sit-in was one of many similar actions taken by students across the U.S. calling for schools to address racial exclusion.

NY Times: 'A New Way to Improve College Enrollment'

The recent article highlights Long Beach, Calif., efforts to increase admissions and graduation rates for the poor and underprivileged. The city is a predominantly immigrant city where public schools, the local community college and state university have collaborated on a program to guarantee high school graduates a tuition-free year of higher education if they meet the academic requirements.

U Florida Hosts Social Justice Summit

After research indicated that campus isn't always welcoming to diverse populations, the inaugural summit featured workshops about race relations, sexuality, gender identity and disability in an attempt to bring diverse groups together for a conversation about social justice.

Union College Updates Motto to Include Women

The college's motto, from nearly when it was founded (1795) until now, excluded women by reading, "Under the laws of Minerva we all become brothers". However, the college's board recently approved a change to add "and sisters" to the end of the motto. The original college seal is also slated for change to reflect the new motto.

Duke U Initiates Program Geared at First-Generation Students

In order to make accessibility for first-generation students and those from under-resourced high schools easier, the new Washington Duke Scholars Program enhanced financial aid and a comprehensive suite of academic and social programs for students who arrive at Duke with less experience with advanced coursework and networking opportunities than is common among many incoming Duke students.

Yale U Launches $50M Faculty Diversity Initiative

A new five-year, $50 million initiative was recently announced that seeks to build on the diversity of the university's faculty by recruiting faculty that enrich diversity, improving faculty development offerings, providing tools and resources to future generations of faculty, and including university-wide participation to support each school's diversity efforts.

U Southern Mississippi Removes State Flag

The university raised the American flag in lieu of the state one because it houses the Confederate flag in one corner. Mississippi officials are being urged to redesign the state flag.

North Carolina State U to Offer Scholarship for Employees' Dependents

Chancellor Randy Woodson recently announced the creation of a tuition scholarship for the children of full-time staff and faculty, beginning in the fall of 2016. The benefit will begin as a minimum $2,000 annual scholarship for the dependents of full-time employees who qualify for admission to the university, a discount of about 25 percent of annual tuition and fees.

INSIGHT into Diversity Magazine Recognizes 92 Colleges and Universities with Award

The INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award 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. This year, 92 schools were acknowledged.

NY Times: 'Top Colleges Doing the Most for Low-Income Students'

The NY Times' The Upshot recently indexed colleges' efforts on economic diversity. The College Access Index is a combination of a colleges' Pell graduates and net price, compared with the average school. The table also shows the colleges' endowment per student, which is a measure of the resources available to colleges.

Richmond CC Announces Two Free Years of College

The North Carolina community college recently made the announcement offering two free years for students of public, private and home schools in Richmond and Scotland counties who have a 3.0-grade-point average or higher and have completed two college courses. Called the RichmondCC Guarantee, the program is slated to begin in fall 2016.

Eastern Maine CC Receives $220K to Support Disadvantaged Students

​With a $220,000 grant from the U.S. Education Department, the college's goal is to guide 150 low-income, first-generation and/or disabled students through the college experience to graduate from the community college or transfer to a four-year institution by offering programs specifically designed to meet students' academic needs including additional advisor appointments and tutoring.

Ireland Engages in National Review of Gender Equity in Higher Ed

(Ireland): Amid concerns over the lack of women in leadership roles in tertiary institutions, the country's Higher Education Authority appointed a review panel to investigate gender discrimination. Higher Education Authority figures revealed 19 percent of university professors are women as of December 2014.

Oregon and Washington, D.C. Considering Free College

Oregon's legislature recently advanced a bill that would fund a tuition waiver for community college students. Washington, D.C. lawmakers are also considering a bill that would create a scholarship to cover tuition and fees for qualifying students who attend the District of Columbia Community College.

U California System Supports Gender Identity Inclusivity

The university system is adding optional questions to undergraduate applications about sexual orientation and gender identity in an effort to allow its colleges and universities to track enrollment and graduating students from a range of orientations and identities. It also announced that, starting July 1, all new construction projects or major renovations will include gender-neutral restrooms.

College of Charleston Adopts Resolution on Confederate Battle Flag

After a recent shooting, which ended fatally for one of the college's long-time librarians, the college's board of trustees recently announced the resolution that calls for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House grounds.

Barnard College Announces Transgender Admission Policy

Following a full year of conversations and consultation with a wide range of resources, a recent board of trustees meeting approved a policy to "consider for admission those applicants who consistently live and identify as women, regardless of gender assigned to them at birth."

Virginia Community Colleges Receive Grant to Cut Textbook Costs

Thanks to a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the $200,000 grant will be used to fund a pilot program at 15 of Virginia’s community colleges that would offer high-quality, open textbooks and other Open Educational Resources (OER).

Bluefield College Offers Half Off Tuition

In an effort to lower college student debt upon graduation, prospective students who qualify for the federal Pell grant, live at home, and attend a school within a 45-mile radius of the college will receive tuition at $12,000 instead of the current $23,000 cost.

U North Carolina Chapel Hill Announces Campus Climate Dialogues

Inspired by the rising level of national and local discourse surrounding events and issues of equity and inclusion related to race, intellectual diversity, religion, identity and culture, the university recently began Carolina Conversations, a coordinated effort that gives the campus community an avenue to share thoughts and opinions with the administration. The campaign includes an interactive website, a calendar of all campus events related to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a series of ongoing events to encourage dialogue.

U Canterbury Students Launch Diversity Group

(Australia): At the launch of the university's inaugural diversity festival, the Students' Association recently initiated the Student Well-being Advisory Group, consisting of up to 14 students from a different groups, that aims to further develop diversity and inclusivity within the campus' decision-making.

U Minnesota Duluth Becomes More Gender Inclusive

(U.S.): Starting in fall of 2015, the university will offer a LGBTQ minor and convert five on campus apartments into gender-inclusive housing options for students.

NY Times: 'Obama Signs Student Bill of Rights'

The recent post by The New York Times describes the Student Aid Bill of Rights signed by President Obama to help students deal with the growing burden of college loans. With the memorandum, Mr. Obama directed federal agencies to take steps to make it easier for college students to finance their education, pay back their loans, and avoid being taken advantage of by lenders.

U Washington to Open Hub for Indigenous Students

Aspiring to bring together all walks, the new 8,400-square-foot building, which used traditional building techniques and materials, features a gathering space for 500 people, a smaller meeting room, and an outdoor area with a fire pit where salmon can be cooked in the traditional way.

Lehigh U Converts to Gender-Neutral Restrooms

In an effort to foster a more gender-inclusive community, many restrooms at the university have been converted from gender-specific to gender-inclusive facilities regardless of how one self-identifies.

U California Santa Cruz Honors People of Color Environmental Work

The university's Ethnic Resource Center recently hosted its first world cafe style discussion aiming to showcase the contributions that people of color have made to the environmental movement and to have a critical dialogue about the current state of the campus environmental movement.

California State U Fresno Implements Gender-Neutral Housing

As part of an effort to nurture an inclusive campus that promotes diversity, the new option for gender-neutral housing allows same-sex living arrangements in on-campus residences.

Lehigh U to Host Equality-Themed Basketball Game

Sponsored by the university's athletic department and the Pride Center, an upcoming men's game will be themed LGBTQ Equality Game to provide a means for athletes, coaches and fans to stand up and create an atmosphere of inclusion, recognizing the courage and openness of athletes at all levels who have come out as LGBTQ.

U North Carolina Charlotte Aims for More Unisex Restrooms

(U.S.): The university's Campus Accessibility Advisory Committee and the Trans Committee have recently partnered to identify the most used buildings on campus not near gender-neutral restrooms. In an effort to become more inclusive of all students, identified buildings will have gender-neutral bathrooms built in them.

Georgetown U Announces New Committee on Diversity

The establishment of the Provost's Committee for Diversity, birthed from a proposed, student project, will be comprised of different subcommittees and expects participants to engage in an ongoing investigation of racial and social justice, intersectionality, and awareness of marginalized groups on campus.

Indiana State U Introduces Gender Neutral Housing Option

Beneficial for students and incoming students who may be transgendered or do not identify with a gender, the university will be testing coed dorm rooms with those that carry upperclass status.

U Wisconsin Madison Holds Diversity Discussions

Spurred by a campus demonstration of the national frustration over racial inequity in the criminal justice system, campus officials welcomed students back by convening a newly planned round of public discussions of race on campus.

Obama Administration Proposes Free Community College [Video]

President Obama recently announced a proposal to make the first two years of community college free requiring students attend community college at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and make progress toward completing their program. Community colleges, the federal government and participating states would have requirements that must be met as part of this proposal.

Pomona College & Cornell U Partner on Diversity Research in STEM

(U.S.): The newly published research in Nature Climate Change describes some of the hidden and complicated social barriers to participation in sustainability-related science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by underrepresented groups and recommends a course to action.

Western Kentucky U Bolsters Gender Support with Restrooms

(U.S.): In an effort to accommodate all students, the university is adding gender-neutral restrooms across campus, with new signage that says "all gender" and no symbols.

Southern Illinois U Edwardsville Establishes Multicultural Center

The recent ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the center, a place for anyone to meet and discuss cultural and diversity issues.