Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Harvard U in Affirmative Action Lawsuit
The U.S. district-court judge ruled at the beginning of October that Harvard's race-conscious admissions process is legal. The university's admissions practices were on trial after the plaintiffs accused Harvard of favoring black and Hispanic applicants at the expense of Asian American applicants.
Brown U Removes GRE Requirement for 24 PhD Programs
The university will no longer require Graduate Records Examination (GRE) test scores for admission to 24 of its Ph.D. programs, beginning with applications for the 2020-21 academic year. The university hopes this will remove barriers that can reduce applications from students who are historically underrepresented in higher education and from low-income backgrounds.
Princeton U Drops GRE for 14 Graduate Programs
In an effort to diversify the faculty pipeline and enroll a diverse pool of graduate students, 14 Princeton University departments will no longer require the GRE test for graduate admission, making it optional for graduate applicants.
George Mason U Receives $250,000 to Increase Access
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation recently announced a $250,000 award to support ADVANCE and the Early Identification Program (EIP)—two programs designed to give educational access to diverse student populations. The ADVANCE program, the university's partnership with Northern Virginia Community College, will receive $150,000 in scholarships to help alleviate financial burdens for high-achieving students in financial need. EIP will receive $100,000, enabling more first generations students to attend the university's Honors College.
George Mason U to Erect Memorial for Enslaved People
In 2021, the university will erect a memorial that honors more than 100 people enslaved by George Mason. When the memorial opens, it will contain several markers, including a bronze statue of George Mason and silhouettes of two specific enslaved people, as well as an inscription with the names of the men, women and children whom Mason enslaved.
U Texas Rio Grande Unveils Free Tuition Program
The university recently announced the new tuition program, Tuition Advantage, that begins in fall 2020 and will cover the cost of tuition and mandatory fees for qualifying students who have an adjusted gross family income of $75,000 or less.
Virginia Theological Seminary Designates $1.7M for Reparations Fund
Recognizing that enslaved persons worked on the campus, and that even after slavery ended, VTS participated in segregation, the seminary recently announced that it will create an endowment fund from which the income will fund reparations. The income from the endowment will be allocated annually in conversation with key stakeholders for designated purposes.
U Arizona Announces Pell Pledge Grant
Beginning with the fall 2020 semester, all Arizona-resident, Pell-eligible freshmen attending the main campus will have the full cost of their tuition covered for four years.
U Illinois Urbana-Champaign Hires First DEI Vice Chancellor
Dr. Sean Garrick, formerly the associate vice provost in the Office for Equity and Diversity at the University of Minnesota, has become UIUC's first vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion. At Minnesota, Dr. Garrick lead efforts to engage faculty whose scholarship focused on diverse, underrepresented or marginalized populations. He is also a professor of mechanical engineering.
U California Berkeley Observes 400th Anniversary of Slavery With Year-Long Focus
The 400th anniversary of the forced arrival of enslaved Africans in the English colonies will be observed at the university through educational programming in the fall and spring semesters. Berkeley’s commemoration is in the spirit of “The 400 Years of African American History Commission Act,” federal legislation signed last year that called for a national commission to commemorate the anniversary of the forced arrival of Africans in the English colonies in 1619.
U London Signs 'Social Mobility Pledge'
(U.K.) The Social Mobility Pledge is a campaign to improve social mobility in the U.K. In signing the pledge, the university commits to provide coaching to people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances; provide structured work experience and/or apprenticeship opportunities; and adopt employee recruitment practices that promote a level playing field for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or circumstances.
College Charleston Introduces Diversity Docuseries
A committee of faculty and staff are introducing a new documentary project titled “If These Walls Could Talk” as part of diversity training on campus. Birthed from a campus diversity workshop held in fall 2018, the documentary centers on how enslaved Africans contributed to the construction of college buildings and surrounding sites.
U Glasgow & U West Indies Partner on Slavery Education
(U.K. & Jamaica) A memorandum of understanding was signed after a Report into Historical Slavery at the University of Glasgow was released in September 2018 that recommended the two universities collaborate. The report acknowledged that while the University of Glasgow played a leading role in the abolitionist movement in the 18th and 19th centuries, the institution also received significant financial support from people whose wealth was derived, in part, from slavery. The two universities have agreed to establish the Glasgow-Caribbean Center for Development Research, which will help to raise public awareness about the history of slavery and its impact around the world.
College William & Mary Receives Grant to Research School's Slave-Holding History
The Mellon Foundation recently gave the university a $1 million grant to research the school’s slave-holding history. Known as the Sharing Authority to Remember and Re-Interpret the Past, this initiative is a joint partnership of community-led research into the legacies of slavery at the school and James Monroe’s Highland in Charlottesville, Virginia, which is a division of the university. The researchers are working to identify the slaves who built and maintained the main campus as well as their descendants. Part of what is uncovered will be incorporated into a memorial for enslaved African-Americans.
U Georgia to Study Its History of Early Slavery
The school allocated $100,000 in private discretionary funds from the Office of the President to sponsor research into the role of slavery between the university's founding in 1785 until the end of the Civil War in 1865. The goal of the project is to develop a definitive history on the role slavery played during the university's early years.
U South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Appoints DEI Officer
Corey L. Posey was recently appointed to the to the newly created position of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer at the university and began his duties on July 8. Posey has spent 19 years in higher education, most recently as director of the Office of Student Life at Chesapeake College.
U Texas Austin Expands Tuition Assistance
The Board of Regents recently voted to establish a $160 million endowment that will be used to expand the university's Texas Advance Commitment program for in-state undergraduate students. Students of families earning up to $65,000 will have all tuition and fees covered by new endowment. Students of families with incomes up to $125,000 will have some assured tuition support.
Rutgers U Announces Endowment to Help Neediest Students
Beginning in academic year 2020-21, the university will begin efforts to raise a $3 million endowment to support the Scarlet Promise Grants, formerly called Rutgers Assistance Grants, in perpetuity. The renewed focus on this grant program grew out of two task forces commissioned by Rutgers’ board of trustees – the Task Force on Student Aid and the Task Force on Philanthropy. The student aid task force found that a growing number of students are unable to complete their degrees because of limited resources, while others can graduate but leave college saddled with significant debt.
Augusta U Appoints Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Tiffany G. Townsend has been named chief diversity officer effective Sept. 1. Townsend previously served as the senior director of the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs at the American Psychological Association. Prior to that, she served as chair of community liaison/outreach in the Center for Trauma and the Community and adjunct associate professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Rice U Forms University Task Force on Racial Injustice
University president David W. Leebron and provost Marie Lynn Miranda recently announced the creation of a Task Force on Slavery, Segregation, and Racial Injustice that will begin in the fall semester. The group is charged with discovering, documenting, acknowledging and disseminating Rice’s past with respect to slavery, segregation, and racial injustice; developing campus-wide programming to support discussion on this topic; and identifying suggestions for the furthering a diverse and inclusive university.
Emory U Names Chief Diversity Officer
The university has named Carol E. Henderson vice provost for diversity and inclusion, chief diversity officer and advisor to the president. Henderson will join Emory from the University of Delaware, where she is currently still serving as vice provost for diversity. Henderson will partner with the campus community to re-imagine and strengthen comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at the university and create mechanisms for communicating the institution’s commitment to these principles and practices. She will assume her new role at Emory on August 1.
U Illinois Chicago to Offers In-State Tuition for Native Americans
Beginning this fall, the university will offer in-state tuition to students who are members of any of the 573 tribal nations recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Rather than being charged the base non-resident tuition of $23,800, the eligible students will be charged $10,584 as a base tuition before federal Pell grants as well as any other aid they may have received. Eligible students will still have to meet all of UIC’s admission standards, including test scores and grade point averages.
Georgetown U Opens Student Equity & Inclusion Office
The university recently announced the creation of the Office of Student Equity and Inclusion. The office aims to improve resources for first-generation and minority students on campus. Dr. Adanna Johnson, currently the senior associate dean of students and director of Diversity, Equity and Student Success, will lead the office as associate vice president.
80 Institutions Recognized for Advancing First-Gen Student Success
The Center for First Generation Student Success recently recognized 80 higher education institutions as the inaugural First Forward cohort. First Forward institutions are selected for their demonstrated commitment to advancing first-generation student success. The institutions will share evidence-based practices and resources, troubleshoot challenges, generate knowledge, and continue to advance the success of first-generation students across the U.S. The Center for First Generation Student Success is an initiative of NASPA and the Suder Foundation.
Furman U Approves Slavery & Justice Committee Actions
Approved at the university's board of trustees May meeting were a number of recommendations made by the board’s Special Committee on Slavery and Justice, including erecting a statue and creating day of celebration to honor the late Joseph Vaughn, the university’s first African-American student. Furman is a member of the Universities Studying Slavery consortium headquartered at the University of Virginia, along with 10 other universities.
Bladen CC Opens Food Bank
The community college's new faculty-run food bank, the Eagle’s Nest Food Bank, supplies food to food insecure students.
U Oxford Unveils Initiatives for Underrepresented Backgrounds
(U.K.) Two new programs that expand access to academically talented students from underrepresented groups were recently announced. Opportunity Oxford is aimed at students from more disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, while Foundation Oxford is open to students who have personally experienced severe disadvantage or educational disruption. Both schemes are free and students’ residential and living costs will be fully funded. When fully up and running, these major new programs will offer paths to education for up to 250 state school students a year, representing 10 percent of Oxford’s U.K. undergraduate intake.
U California San Diego Launches Pilot Student Loan Debt Program
The university's Extension office and the San Diego Workforce Partnership have joined forces for a new initiative, called the Workforce Income Share Agreement Fund, aimed at removing financial barriers to higher education for unemployed and underemployed individuals. Participants have access to certificate-granting courses at the University Extension. Once students complete their certificate and secure a job with an annual salary of at least $40,000, they pay a set percentage of their income over a set period of time.
McGill U Drops Redmen Name From Sports Teams
The university announced its recent decision to drop the Redmen name from varsity sports teams after consultation with the McGill community. The name is considered to be an offensive term for Indigenous peoples. Moving forward, a steering committee will be established to lead a consultative process for choosing a new name.
Chalmers U Tech Launches Gender Equality Project
(Sweden) GENIE, Gender Initiative for Excellence, launched January 2019 with a budget of $32 million (300 million kronor) over 10 years, aims to increase the proportion of women at the professor level from 17 percent to 40 percent and remove structural and cultural obstacles that hamper career progression of women.
Georgetown U Students Endorse Slavery Reconciliation Fund
Students recently voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum to establish a semesterly fee of $27.20 that would go toward a fund to benefit descendants of the GU272, the 272 enslaved people sold by the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus in 1838 to financially sustain the university. If approved by the university, the referendum would create a reconciliation fund, which would be presided over by a board of trustees including five students and five descendants.
2 Florida Community Colleges Win Aspen Award
Indian River State College and Miami Dade College are the winners of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The $1 million Aspen Prize recognizes institutional performance in four areas: student learning, certificate and degree completion, success after graduation in the labor market and in transfer to four-year institutions, and equity in access and success for students of color and low-income students.
Rutgers U Commits $20M to Faculty Diversity
An additional $20 million on top of a 2016 commitment of $22 million has been allocated to extend the Rutgers Faculty Diversity Hiring Initiative through June 2024. Under the initiative, the university has agreed to provide half the salary support for the first three years of each newly hired faculty member’s service at Rutgers, along with additional funds to support mentoring and retention.
Brown U to Cover Textbook Cost for More Than 1,100 Students
After a successful pilot with high-need students, Brown will expand textbook and course materials program to roughly 1,100 first-year students receiving university scholarship funds and undergraduates who have a $0 parent contribution.
U Kentucky Supports Low-Income & Minority Students
A student hunger strike will now end after the university president concluded a two-hour meeting with a coalition of student protesters who laid out a series of demands to make life better for low-income and minority students. The president agreed to cover a controversial mural at one of the university's most iconic buildings on campus that portrays black men and women planting tobacco and a Native American man holding a tomahawk. In addition to the mural, the university now commits to including a representative from the Black Student Collective on all senior-level search committees; staffing a Basic Needs Center; and establishing a Basic Needs Fund to assist those who experience food and housing insecurity.
SUNY New Paltz Renames Six Buildings With Slavery Linkage
Following a 19-month research and investigative process, the university's College Council unanimously passed a resolution at the beginning of March 2019 to assign new names to the Hasbrouck Complex buildings, named for the original Huguenot patentees of the Village of New Paltz who also owned enslaved Africans. The selected new names carry local meaning, a theme that drew strong support from campus-wide survey responses from more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members, including Huguenot descendants.
U Mississippi to Relocate Confederate Statue
This month, the university's Associated Student Body, Graduate Student Council, Faculty Senate and Staff Council all voted to relocate the Confederate monument to a nearby cemetery that’s also on university grounds. The administration was in agreement.
Western Washington U Receives $1M to Support Low-Income Engineering Students
The university's Engineering and Design Department has been awarded a five-year, $1 million National Science Foundation grant to help low-income students in their pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Aiming to address challenges in recruiting and retaining academically-talented, low-income students from diverse backgrounds into the undergraduate engineering programs, the Becoming Engaged Engineering Scholars (BEES) program will provide scholarships of up to $10,000 a year to about 48 students over the life of the five-year program.
Michigan Governor Proposes Tuition-Free Community College
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed a tuition-free community college plan that would start in 2021 and include a $2,500 scholarship for eligible students who attend a four-year college. The proposal offers financial aid for students after all other federal aid and grants are applied to a student's tuition bill. Whitmer also proposed a tuition-free program for adults called Michigan Reconnect. The program would allow residents age 25 and older to enroll in the state's two-year institutions, career certificate programs and union apprenticeships for free.
U Washington Press Receives $1.2M to Diversify Academic Publishing
A four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Washington Press to support the continued development and expansion of the pipeline program designed to diversify academic publishing. This new grant will provide for three annual cycles of editorial fellows at six university presses: Northwestern University Press, the University of Washington Press, the MIT Press, Cornell University Press, the Ohio State University Press and the University of Chicago Press.
SUNY Fredonia Creates Endowment to Promote Diversity Ed
The Collingwood Distinguished Lecture for Diversity was recently established with a $250,000 gift from an anonymous Fredonia graduate. The donation will provide annual support for an honorarium to bring a nationally recognized speaker of diversity to the Fredonia campus each year. The lecture is an effort to promote leadership, education, advocacy and outreach for underrepresented groups or issues in society, and support the integration of diversity, as a whole, into the academic community.
Sorority Pledges $10M to 96 HBCUs
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, in partnership with the Educational Advancement Foundation, recently announced the establishment of the AKA-HBCU Endowment Fund. Toward the end of February, presidents from 32 of the participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive the first installment of the endowment gift in the amount of $50,000. The fund was created in an effort to assist in the financial stability of HBCUs.
Eastern Connecticut State U Program Supports African American & Hispanic Students
The new PASS (Promoting Academically Successful Students) program ensures that African American and Hispanic students who end up on academic probation are provided support. The program uses a hands-on advising model and an active career development program to inform students of available support services. Funded through a $75,000 grant from the Connecticut State Office of Higher Education, the program requires weekly advising sessions, skill development workshops, and group meetings for all participating students to review their schedules and make any necessary adjustments.
University-CC Partnership Addresses Homelessness
As part of a statewide plan to address youth homelessness in Massachusetts, the governor recently announced a pilot program to house a small group of homeless community college students at nearby four-year colleges and universities. Up to 20 homeless students at four community colleges will receive dormitory housing through partnerships. The university-community college matches are Massasoit Community College and Bridgewater State University, Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University, Middlesex Community College and the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, and MassBay Community College and Framingham State University.
U St. Thomas to Open Center on Race, Leadership and Social Justice
The center will provide law students the opportunity to leverage legal training to address social justice challenges. Students will interface with lawyers in the community who are fighting for justice and equity to gain in-depth insights related to civil rights, human rights law and advocacy. It will also collaborate with the entire university and share its expertise on racial equity and social justice.
Southern Oregon U Implements Audio Wayfinding App
The university is now more friendly to those who are sight impaired after partnering with an outside vendor to provide an audio wayfinding app. The university has placed 200 beacons across campus as waypoints that communicate with the free app, which allows users to locate both outdoor and indoor destinations.
Six Public Affairs Schools Announce Diversity Alliance
A collective of six schools of public affairs recently announced the launch of the new Public Affairs Diversity Alliance that aims to encourage and sustain a pipeline of candidates for faculty positions in criminal justice, policy and public administration. American University School of Public Affairs, which initiated and founded the Alliance, will chair the Public Affairs Diversity Alliance for a two-year term. Five other schools have joined as inaugural members: the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, the Price School at the University of Southern California, and the Evans School at the University of Washington.
Senators Call for Changes to U.S. News Rankings
Six U.S. Democratic senators wrote to the U.S. News & World Report urging it to adopt a methodology that more strongly considers a school's diversity, inclusion and representation. The well-known ranking system recently changed its methodology to reflect college's role in boosting social mobility, however, the senators contend that the ranking still fails to sufficiently reward enrollment of historically underrepresented students.