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The Coming University Trainwreck

Discrimination is the new normal.

An Ivy League professor on why colleges don’t hire more faculty of color: ‘We don’t want them’

In “The five things no one will tell you about why colleges don’t hire more faculty of color,” a piece first published in the Hechinger Report, Marybeth Gasman took on a common question: Why aren’t college faculties more racially diverse? 

It’s a question gaining increased urgency from student protesters demanding change on campuses nationally.

While giving a talk about Minority Serving Institutions at a recent higher education forum, I was asked a question pertaining to the lack of faculty of color at many majority institutions, especially more elite institutions.

My response was frank: “The reason we don’t have more faculty of color among college faculty is that we don’t want them. We simply don’t want them.” Those in the audience were surprised by my candor and gave me a round of applause for the honesty.

Given the short amount of time I had on the stage, I couldn’t explain the evidence behind my statement. I will do so here. I have been a faculty member since 2000, working at several research universities. In addition, I give talks, conduct research and workshops and do consulting related to diversifying the faculty across the nation. I have learned a lot about faculty recruitment over 16 years and as a result of visiting many colleges and universities.

First, the word ‘quality’ is used to dismiss people of color who are otherwise competitive for faculty positions. Even those people on search committees that appear to be dedicated to access and equity will point to ‘quality’ or lack of ‘quality’ as a reason for not hiring a person of color.

Typically, ‘quality’ means that the person didn’t go to an elite institution for their Ph.D. or wasn’t mentored by a prominent person in the field. What people forget is that attending the elite institutions and being mentored by prominent people is linked to social capital and systemic racism ensures that people of color have less of it.

Second, the most common excuse I hear is ‘there aren’t enough people of color in the faculty pipeline.’

It is accurate that there are fewer people of color in some disciplines such as engineering or physics. However, there are great numbers of Ph.D.’s of color in the humanities and education and we still don’t have great diversity on these faculties.

When I hear someone say people of color aren’t in the pipeline, I respond with ‘Why don’t you create the pipeline?’ ‘Why don’t you grow your own?’

Since faculty members are resistant to hiring their own graduates, why not team up with several other institutions that are ‘deemed to be of high quality’ and bring in more Ph.D.s of color from those institutions?

If you are in a field with few people of color in the pipeline, why are you working so hard to ‘weed’ them out of undergraduate and Ph.D. programs? Why not encourage, mentor, and support more people of color in your field?

Third, I have learned that faculty will bend rules, knock down walls, and build bridges to hire those they really want (often white colleagues) but when it comes to hiring faculty of color, they have to ‘play by the rules’ and get angry when any exceptions are made.

Let me tell you a secret – exceptions are made for white people constantly in the academy; exceptions are the rule in academe.

Fourth, faculty search committees are part of the problem.

They are not trained in recruitment, are rarely diverse in makeup, and are often more interested in hiring people just like them rather than expanding the diversity of their department.

They reach out to those they know for recommendations and rely on ads in national publications.

And, even when they do receive a diverse group of applicants, often those applicants ‘aren’t the right fit’ for the institution. What is the ‘right fit’? Someone just like you?

Fifth, if majority colleges and universities are truly serious about increasing faculty diversity, why don’t they visit Minority Serving Institutions — institutions with great student and faculty diversity — and ask them how they recruit a diverse faculty.

This isn’t hard. The answers are right in front of us. We need the will.

For those reading this essay, you might be wondering why faculty diversity is important. Your wondering is yet another reason why we don’t have a more diverse faculty. Having a diverse faculty — in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion — adds greatly to the experiences of students in the classroom. It challenges them — given that they are likely not to have had diversity in their K-12 classroom teachers — to think differently about who produces knowledge. It also challenges them to move away from a ‘white-centered’ approach to one that is inclusive of many different voices and perspectives.

Having a diverse faculty strengthens the faculty and the institution as there is more richness in the curriculum and in conversations taking place on committees and in faculty meetings. A diverse faculty also holds the university accountable in ways that uplift people of color and center issues that are important to the large and growing communities of color across the nation.

Although I have always thought it vital that our faculty be representative of the nation’s diversity, we are getting to a point in higher education where increasing faculty diversity is an absolute necessity and crucial to the future of our nation.

In 2014, for the first time, the nation’s K-12 student population was majority minority. These students are on their way into colleges and universities and we are not prepared for them. Our current faculty lacks expertise in working with students of color and our resistance to diversifying the faculty means that we are not going to be ready anytime soon.

I’ll close by asking you to think deeply about your role in recruiting and hiring faculty. How often do you use the word ‘quality’ when talking about increased diversity? Why do you use it? How often do you point to the lack of people of color in the faculty pipeline while doing nothing about the problem?

How many books, articles, or training sessions have you attended on how to recruit faculty of color?

How many times have you reached out to departments with great diversity in your field and asked them how they attract and retain a diverse faculty?

How often do you resist when someone asks you to bend the rules for faculty of color hires but think it’s absolutely necessary when considering a white candidate (you know, so you don’t lose such a wonderful candidate)?

Rather than getting angry at me for pointing out a problem that most of us are aware of, why don’t you change your ways and do something to diversify your department or institution’s faculty?

I bet you don’t, but I sure hope you do.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2016 in The Definition of Racism

 

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The White Right Strikes Back

Just this week, we have had 3 towheaded troglodyte racists threaten to kill students at Mizzou, a threat to do the same to students at Howard University, a swastika painted onto Bowie State University’s, MLK Student Center, death threats against black students at Michigan Technological University

Obviously, the protests which caught fire at Mizzou, and are now spreading around the country have the bigot set worried. So worried in fact, that bigot in chief, Donald Trump has denounced the demonstrations

Trump said the  demonstrations are “disgusting,” especially after the resignation of “weak, ineffective” campus officials, whom he believes caved to the “crazy” student demands. “Trump should have been the chancellor of that university,” he said. “Believe me, there would have been no resignations.”

Carson told Fox News late Wednesday that “we’re being a little bit too tolerant, I guess you might say, accepting infantile behavior.” He added: “To say that I have the right to violate your civil rights because you’re offending me is un-American. It is unconstitutional,” referring to the communications professor who infamously requested “muscle” to block reporters from accessing protests.

And the right wing press is scurrying to find “dirt”

Breitbart –  VIDEO SHOWS UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI ACTIVIST JONATHAN BUTLER FALSIFIED KEY CLAIM AGAINST PRESIDENT

Faux News – Missouri assistant professor resigns from courtesy appointment after confrontation with journalist

WND, formerly WorldNet Daily – 1ST AMENDMENT UNDER FIRE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI PROTESTERS THREATEN MEDIA

“Black Mob Violence”Colin Flaherty who also frequents WND

Faux News Megan Kelly on “Hate Speech” – That shouting racial perjoratives (and death threats) is …Free Speech.

Let’s look at what these folks are enabling –

For the fourth time this week, a racist threatened to massacre black college students — this time in Michigan

Another person has been arrested for making racist threats against black college students — this time in Michigan.

Police said they took a suspect into custody Thursday afternoon in connection with an anonymous threat posted on social media directed at students at Michigan Technological University, reported The Detroit News.

The university’s Department of Public Safety and Police Services spotted a message posted about noon Thursday on the Yik Yak social media platform and increased security on the Houghton campus.

The person who made the threat vowed he or she was “going to kill all black people,” authorities said.

Police immediately launched an investigation and alerted students of the threat by email.

No information was released about the suspect who was taken into custody several hours later.

The threat is at least the fourth made against black college students this week, after protests over campus racism at the University of Missouri ousted the university president.

Three Missouri men have been arrested and charged with terrorist threats, and authorities are investigating a racist threat made Wednesday against students at the historically black Howard University.

The threats follow two separate strings of suspicious fires earlier this year at mostly black churches in the southeast and then in the St. Louis area, following the shooting deaths of nine black worshipers at a historic black church in South Carolina by a white supremacist and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson.

Michigan Tech is a research university located in the Upper Peninsula, and only about 1.3 percent of the school’s nearly 7,000 students are black, according to Forbes.

“It’s important to remember that we are a community and will not tolerate threats to any member of our family,” said Michigan Tech President Glenn Mroz. “It’s time we watch out for one another.”

Yik Yak, an anonymous, geographically oriented social media network, has grown popular as a message board for college students — but the company turns over user information without a subpoena, court order or search warrant during investigations of violence or threats.

 

 

 

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Digital Image Collection HBCU History

African American History Digital Library Launches

The HBCU Library Alliance

The HBCU Library Alliance

A two-year project to assemble a digital online collection that will capture the rich cultural history and educational legacy of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) was recently launched to promotes access to previously unknown artifacts that have helped to preserve the cultural heritage of these institutions that were founded in the midst of struggle with a special mission to education former slaves and free Blacks.

This unique collection of more than 7,000 images exemplifies the HBCUs as cultural, social and political institutions that have contributed to the historic legacy in the education of Black Americans from the early 1800s until today. The project aims to foster research and teaching opportunities for scholars and professors in the fields of African American Studies, the American South, American Democracy, cultural pluralism and other related academic disciplines.

The project is the first collaborative effort of the HBCU Library Alliance, which includes 89 four-year and 14 two-year institutions in 22 states. More than a dozen members have contributed to the collection so far, including Grambling State University and Southern University A&M College in Louisiana, Bennett College and St. Augustine’s College in North Carolina, as well as Paine College and Atlanta University Center in Georgia.

The collection, which features photographs, university correspondence, manuscripts, images of campus buildings, alumni letters, memorabilia and programs from campus events, can be viewed by Participating Institutions or searched by all collections. Many of the works are unique and priceless, often in brittle condition that will eventually be lost if not preserved…

Hat Tip to NewsOne for reporting this. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2009 in Black History

 

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