Cornell U Announces Racial Justice Initiatives
In a recent address to the campus body, the university's president asked the Faculty Senate to, as soon as possible, create and implement an educational requirement on racism, bias and equity for all students; create an anti-racism center; and launch an institution-wide themed semester focused on issues of racism in the U.S. through relevant readings and discussions. Additional announced changes include oversight of the university's police department; the creation new professional development programs with a focus on staff of color; make diversity, equity and inclusion part of the performance dialogue process; implement equity and cultural competency trainings for all staff; and make Juneteenth a permanent university holiday.
U Pittsburgh Creates Justice Initiative
Anchored in the university's School of Education, the PittEd Justice Collective is a three-year working group that will engage in anti-racist, justice-directed initiatives within the education community as well as the surrounding community. Year one is focused on definitions and clarifying the scope of work and will also include a school-wide book read focused on anti-racism, along with lunch and learns, professional development opportunities and a virtual series on justice.
LeMoyne-Owen College Receives $40 Million
The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis recently announced the college as the recipient of a $40 million endowment. The college will receive 5 percent of the average balance of the fund each year. With nearly 90 percent of students qualifying for financial aid, much of the money will be put toward scholarships as well as academic innovations that prepare students for the job market.
U Notre Dame Announces Anti-Racist Initiative
The university's Klau Center for Civil and Human Rights has announced a year-long initiative called Building an Anti-Racist Vocabulary. The project seeks to educate students and members of the broader Notre Dame community, helping them explore and deconstruct concepts that support racism.
Shaw U Launches 'Center for Racial and Social Justice'
The purpose of the new Center for Racial and Social Justice is to enable meaningful social change by fostering engagement around civil and human rights, spiritual formation, discernment and social justice. Featuring research activities and academic programs that celebrate the university’s heritage of racial and social justice advocacy, the center will introduce a series of certificate programs that promote activism, strategic thinking and leadership development to confront the nation and world’s great challenges related to racial and ethnic differences.
Santa Monica College Establishes George Floyd Scholarship
The college announced on June 19 a new endowment in honor of George Floyd, called the George Perry Floyd, Jr. Scholarship for Racial and Social Justice. The scholarship was started with a $20,000 gift to the Santa Monica College Foundation from anonymous donors. The scholarship will offer a $2,500 award over two years to black students to help offset the cost of tuition, books and living expenses while attending the college.
Northern Illinois U Athletic Dept Enacts Social Justice Ed Plan
Geared toward student-athletes, coaches and staff, the social justice education plan seeks to create educational opportunities, support dialogue and encourage voting. The plan has already brought together African American student-athletes, a focus group of student-athlete leaders and an all-staff virtual town hall of NIU Athletics coaches and staff on the topics of social justice and race relations. Future sessions include a virtual meeting of all student-athletes led by NIU professors and individual team counseling sessions on the topic of race relations.
'Student Freedom Initiative' Addresses Loan Burden
Robert F. Smith—the billionaire who pledged during a commencement speech last year to pay off the student debt of the Morehouse College class of 2019—recently announced the Student Freedom Initiative to help ease the burden of student loans at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The Student Freedom Initiative will launch in fall 2021 at up to 11 HBCUs, offering juniors and seniors who are science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors a flexible, lower-risk alternative to high-interest private student loans.
NCAA Expands Confederate Flag Policy
The NCAA Board of Governors has expanded the association’s Confederate flag policy to prevent any NCAA championship events from being played in states where the symbol has a prominent presence. Mississippi is the only state currently affected by the association’s policy.
Morehouse & Spelman Colleges & UNCF Receive $120M
Philanthropists Patty Quillin and her husband, Reed Hastings, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Netflix, are donating $120 million to Morehouse College, Spelman College and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Each will receive $40 million. The money will be used to fund scholarships so that students graduate with less debt and more opportunity.
U Nevada Reno Announces Actions to Address Racism
In an effort to respond to the anger and frustration expressed by its Black students, faculty and staff, the university recently announced measures aimed at supporting a more inclusive, safe and equitable campus. They are: review its African Diaspora Program, recognize prominent Black social justice pioneers on campus, explore test score alternatives, establish a living learning community focused on Black culture, and expand cultural competency education across campus.
Texas A&M Regents Create $100M Diversity Scholarship Fund
The university system's board of regents recently announced a $100 million scholarship fund to address diversity issues as well as concerns of students who are first-generation and/or from low-income families in the wake of economic uncertainty associated with COVID-19. The program provides $10 million annually over 10 years for scholarships to students from particularly low income, first-generation and geographically underrepresented regions of the state.
U Colorado Boulder Adopts Anti-Racism Actions
Immediate actions that were announced to transform the campus experience for Black students, faculty and staff, and for all students, faculty and staff of color and other marginalized individuals and groups include updating and enhancing faculty and staff hiring practices to achieve greater representation of persons of color; implementing mandatory bystander training for all campus members; examining its procurement practices with Colorado Correctional Industries, a division of the Colorado Department of Corrections; review campus police policies and procedures; and charge faculty with development of a first-year course in anti-racism.
U Kentucky to Remove Mural With Disturbing Imagery
The university's president in a recent message announced that a mural that has been the subject of years of debate will be removed. The mural depicts scenes from Kentucky's history and includes enslaved black people planting tobacco.
California CC Presidents Form Alliance to Combat Racism
More than 60 community colleges in California have joined the California Community College Equity Leadership Alliance to actively combat racism on their campuses. The alliance will be managed out of the University of Southern California’s Race & Equity Center. Colleges in the alliance will each pay the center $25,000 a year to be part of the alliance. In return, they will have access to specialized tools, resources and guidance, such as racial equity strategic action planning and an equity resource portal with equity-focused rubrics, readings, case studies, slide shows, videos and conversation scripts.
Big Ten Announces 'Anti-Hate & Anti-Racism Coalition'
The Big Ten Conference commissioner, Kevin Warren, announced at the end of May the creation of the Big Ten Conference Anti-Hate and Anti-Racism Coalition, an initiative that seeks to partner with campus diversity councils to create the conditions where student athletes possess their rights to free speech and peaceful protest.
U Buffalo Produces Map of Food Resources
Researchers at the university recently released a map of food resources in Buffalo to help people access food amid the coronavirus pandemic. The map includes grocery stores and sources of free food like food pantries, soup kitchens and schools offering meal pickup for students.
Clemson U Introduces Virtual Map of Food Resources
University faculty and staff, in coordination with the United Way and Ten at the Top, recently released an interactive map that provides information on different food resources for individuals and families facing food insecurity. The regional map includes nearly 400 providers across 10 counties complete with information on the type of assistance they provide as well as operating hours and availability.
Partnership Results in Student Emergency Aid Effort
A new initiative from an alliance of educational technology companies and education-focused nonprofits will distribute emergency aid to college students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, building on $1.1 million in initial funding. In the first phase of the initiative, Course Hero will work with five education-related nonprofits to raise awareness and distribute funds. The second phase involves a partnership with Edquity, which developed an app through which students can apply for emergency aid from their colleges and receive funds directly in their bank accounts, and the nonprofit organization Believe in Students, which focuses on alleviating poverty among college students.
Four Canadian Institutions to Enhance Support for Indigenous Students
A total of $380,000 from the Mastercard Foundation Recovery and Resilience Program will be evenly divided between Coast Mountain College, the College of New Caledonia, Northern Lights College, and the University of Northern British Columbia to enhance support for Indigenous students and invest in technological solutions to improve access for remote education in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indigenous students studying at the four institutions can receive academic mentoring and mental health counselling to help navigate the barriers and challenges that come with isolation at home.
U Nebraska to Offer Free Tuition
In an effort to make higher education more accessible, the university is launching a program that guarantees a tuition-free education for all Nebraska students with family incomes of $60,000 or less. The program begins in fall 2020.
U California Santa Cruz Formalizes Land Acknowledgement
The recently released land acknowledgement was developed in partnership with the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band Chairman and the Amah Mutsun Relearning Program. University community members are encouraged to read the land acknowledgement at the beginning of gatherings and events.
U New Hampshire Creates Student Hardship Fund
The university's newest student assistance program helps undergraduate and graduate students dealing with a temporary or unexpected hardship. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund offers short-term assistance, ranging from $100 to $500, for such things as emergency travel, medical costs, safety and security needs, auto repairs and academic supplies.
Iowa State U Releases Land Acknowledgement
In collaboration with the university's director of American Indian Studies, the university developed and recently released an official land acknowledgement recognizing Indigenous Peoples that were stewards of the land on which the university now exists.
Emerson College Creates COVID-19 Emergency Fund
The college recently created an emergency fund to help students pay their rent, transport themselves back home, rent learning equipment and more. Every member of the board of trustees, including the president, made gifts and pledges, bringing the total to $72,000.
Pennsylvania State U Launches Student Emergency Fund
The university recently announced that all new contributions to its Student Care & Advocacy Emergency Fund will be used for those who are challenged to afford housing, transportation, basic needs and access to required resources for remote learning, or who are facing other unforeseen personal difficulties as a result of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Western Carolina U Makes Emergency Funds Available to Students
University administrators are currently urging students who are suffering extreme financial distress because of displacement caused by the coronavirus to apply for financial assistance from the university’s Student Emergency Fund. The funds may be used for rent, utilities, car repairs, medical and dental expenses, gas and other unexpected financial emergencies, but not university-related expenses.
Georgia Tech Announces COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Students
The new fund has been established to support students who have a demonstrated financial need related to the COVID-19 crisis and campus closures. Funding is available to all enrolled Georgia Tech students and can be used to alleviate financial challenges, including travel assistance, housing assistance, medical expenses, moving costs, financial support, and food insecurity.
Emerson College Eco Ambassadors Launch Thrift Store Pop Up
In an effort to raise awareness for the college's clothing exchange store, now the Tiny Thrift Store puts on a pop-up once per month. The store and pop-up give students a chance to donate, exchange and/or pick-up clothing free of charge.
U Southern California Offers Free Tuition Based on Family Income
Students from the United States from families with annual incomes of $80,000 or less will be eligible for the full undergraduate tuition waiver starting in the fall. Additionally, owning a home will no longer be considered in the calculation used to determine a student’s financial need.
Bowie State U Opens Nutrition Lounge & Food Pantry
In partnership with Food Lion Feeds' hunger relief initiative, the university opened a new on-campus nutrition lounge that provides a place for students to relax, study and have a place to access and enjoy free, healthy foods.
Illinois State U Elevates Diversity & Inclusion
The university's president recently announced the creation of a new position to move diversity initiatives forward on campus, naming Professor Doris Houston as the interim assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion. Houston currently serves as chair of the President’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council.
Thirteen Institutions Become 'Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers'
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) selected 13 institutions as Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Centers. Organized around the five pillars of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation—narrative change, separation, law, economy, and racial healing and relationship building—the centers seek to prepare the next generation of leaders to confront racism and to dismantle the belief in a hierarchy of human value.
ACE Produces Series on Race in Higher Ed
The Let’s Talk About Race interview series captures the voices of prominent higher education scholars and leaders as they share their perspectives and experiences on race and ethnicity in higher education.
Three Universities Form Racial Justice Consortium
As the Charlotte Racial Justice Consortium, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, Johnson C. Smith University and Queens University of Charlotte will collaborate to understand their history of race and racism, and develop student, university and community leaders who work across the region toward truth, racial healing and equity. The effort is supported by the consortium’s selection as a Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Campus Center by the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U).
Syracuse U Announces New Initiatives on Racial Equity
The university recently announced several new actions to advance diversity, equity and inclusion on campus. The new actions include allocating space for multicultural students, working with Native American students to determine how to recognize the university's presence on ancestral Onondaga lands, conducting a security assessment of Hillel, launching a fund aimed at competitive recruitment of faculty from underrepresented minority groups, and allocating $5.6 million for diversity and inclusion initiatives, with 16 new staff members added to work on new and improved diversity programming.
Brandeis U Includes Caste in Non-Discrimination Policy
Discrimination based on caste, a system of inherited social class, is now expressly prohibited at the university, just as discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, religious creed, gender identity and expression, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, genetic information, disability, military or veteran status, or any other category protected by law is prohibited.
Lumina Foundation Grants American Indian College Fund $650K
The recently announced grant will be used to examine the barriers affecting Native American students' higher education success. Under the grant, the American Indian College Fund will establish a two-part and 30-month project aimed at analyzing completion rates under factors such as the rising cost of college and high rates of poverty among American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Additionally, the research will focus on the sustainability of tribal colleges and universities, both academically and financially.
Two Universities Join Consortium to Study Slavery
The University of Georgia and the University of Nottingham (U.K.) recently joined the Universities Studying Slavery Consortium. Universities Studying Slavery (USS) is dedicated to organizing multi-institutional collaboration to facilitate mutual support in the pursuit of common goals around the core theme of universities studying slavery.
Haverford College Launches Student Loan Debt Relief Program
The Student Loan Debt Relief Program is designed to assist graduates for whom $4,000 to $12,000 in student debt would be a burden, particularly those pursuing careers of high societal value and low remuneration. The Class of 2019 was the first that was eligible to apply for its debt relief. Twelve awards were given, ranging from $900 to $1500 per applicant.
CUNY Announces $1M Food Insecurity Pilot Program
Through this new program, eligible students can receive $400 vouchers to use for any food item in campus cafeterias. To qualify, students must be enrolled at a CUNY community college for at least nine credits, live in the five boroughs, be working towards their first college degree, show significant financial need, and not currently receiving SNAP benefits.
U Georgia SGA Opens Professional Clothing Shop
After two years of student-led planning, the Student Government Association Professional Clothing Closet recently opened. The Professional Clothing Closet provides professional attire to students at no cost and on short notice. Students may keep the clothing for future use.
Marymount Manhattan College Launches Social Justice Ambassadors Program
The new Social Justice Ambassador Program is a five-session program that invites participants from different backgrounds and experiences to come together to assess the ways societal structures perpetuate privilege and oppression through institutions and individuals. At the end of the program, ambassadors present in groups on what they have learned.
Princeton Theological Seminary Addresses Ties to Slavery
A year-long historical audit uncovered that, while the seminary did not own slaves and its buildings were not constructed with slave labor, it benefited from the slave economy. Therefore, the religious college's board of trustees unanimously endorsed a series of new initiatives, ranging from increased student financial assistance to curriculum changes to added support for the Center for Black Church Studies. To support the more than 20 approved initiatives in perpetuity, $27.6 million will be reserved in the endowment.
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.