Tuesday, April 10, 2018

After another 'noose' incident in Anne Arundel County, lawmakers finalize hate crime bill

A few days after another noose was found an Anne Arundel County school campus, the Maryland House of Delegates cast a deciding vote on legislation that strengthens Maryland’s hate crime laws.
State Sen. John Astle’s hate crime legislation — Senate Bill 528 — passed with a 133-4 vote Saturday. Since the House of Delegates did not amend the bill, it will go before the governor for signature.
The bill broadens Maryland’s hate crime law to specifically include groups of people. Anne Arundel County Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Harris Jr. asked legislators to take a closer look at the law after Harris interpreted the law to require named, specific individuals as targets of hate crimes. Because of this interpretation, Harris declined to punish a man who hung a noose at Crofton Middle School in May.
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Civil Rights Groups to Congress: Betsy DeVos is Approving Plans That Violate ESSA

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is approving plans that fly in the face of the Every Student Succeeds Act's protections for vulnerable children, according to more than a dozen civil rights groups, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
The groups sent a letter Tuesday to Democratic and Republican leaders on the House and Senate education committees asking them to tell DeVos to stop approving "unlawful" plans.
"We call on you to fulfill your role in ESSA's implementation and to correct the Department of Education's flawed approval of state plans that do not comply core equity provisions of the law," the groups wrote to Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., as well as Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., and Bobby Scott, D-Va.
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How Six Cities Promote Diversity and Inclusion for Residents

Around the country, cities large and small are finding innovative ways to weave together every strand of their community, so that every resident has a fair shot at opportunity and prosperity.
Every year at the Congressional City Conference, the Diversity Awards Breakfast celebrates cities who have demonstrated dedicated and fresh approaches to inclusive policies. This year, six cities received recognition for the 2018 City Cultural Diversity Awards.
“Cities across America are celebrating and supporting diversity and inclusion in innovative ways,” said National League of Cities (NLC) President Mark Stodola, mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas. “NLC is proud to honor six communities as pioneers that have demonstrated initiative, resourcefulness and inclusive values in their approach to governing.”
Submissions for the awards program were grouped by size and evaluated on how the program increased citizen participation in government and community activities, as well as the overall scope and impact of the program.
The six communities honored for their policies are:
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At Simmons forum, Michelle Obama talks affirmative action, student loans — and 2020

Speaking at Simmons College’s annual women’s leadership conference in Boston on Thursday, Michelle Obama discussed her personal experience with affirmative action and student loan debt — and also addressed speculation about a possible presidential run in 2020.
The former First Lady was the featured speaker at the all-day women’s empowerment event, which drew thousands of attendees to the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center. In a question-and-answer session moderated by Simmons president Helen Drinan, Obama said that she sometimes “felt like an affirmative action kid” as a freshman at Princeton University, contrasting her upbringing on the South Side of Chicago with those of her Ivy League classmates.
“In our society, somehow, when affirmative action means color, it’s deemed to be problematic,” she said. “I have a problem with that, because affirmative action exists everywhere throughout society. It’s called privilege.”

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Diversity and inclusion education can serve as ‘business insurance’

Organizations, large and small, increasingly understand that diversity and inclusion education are good in and of themselves, but they also are good legal protection about perceptions of differences in gender, race, age, sexual orientation and many other cultural considerations.

Recent sexual harassment accusations that started in Hollywood, spread like wildfire through numerous other organizations across the country, even reaching politicians at the highest levels. The U.S. Congress, confronted with its own troubling history of sexual harassment, voted Nov. 29, 2017, on legislation requiring all of its 535 members and their staff to undergo mandatory anti-sexual harassment training.

Critics suggest that Congress’ vote came a little too late given that in June 1999 the U.S. Supreme Court Supreme Court decided that “preventive training can be part of a legal defense against punitive damages in diversity cases such as discrimination and harassment.”

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/community/lsjournal/opinion/article206387259.html#storylink=cpy
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The White House needs to push for more diversity and inclusion

In a time of divisive and abrasive politics in America, and as we face very real and very concerning but equally divisive issues like police brutality and mass shootings, it is crucial for us to seek a platform for unity, as well as for diversity and inclusion. The White House, especially since President Trump’s groundbreaking and controversial campaign, has made calls for “unity” and has attempted to foster it in its approaches. Following events like the Unite the Right Rally and the Parkland Shooting, President Trump has made calls for “unity.” Shortly after the congressional baseball practice shooting in Virginia in June of 2017, Trump said, "We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good" in the wake of an event that threatened to raise existing political tensions.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

OFCCP Lowers Hiring Benchmark for Veteran Affirmative Action Plans

On March 30, 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) announced that it was lowering the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) hiring benchmark to 6.4 percent from 6.7 percent. The change applies to affirmative action plan (AAP) years starting on or after March 31, 2018.
The VEVRAA benchmark is a figure federal contractors must use to evaluate their hiring of protected veterans. Under VEVRAA regulations, contractors may either use OFCCP’s annual benchmark, which is based on annually updated data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or establish their own benchmark by following the five-factor method outlined in OFCCP’s regulations. Relatively few contractors elect to calculate a customized benchmark; most choosing to accept the national number published by OFCCP.
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Classroom Clash: Professor’s Words in Hate-Speech Course Stir Student Walkout, Campus Controversy

 A campus debate erupted over the limits of acceptable classroom speech when a veteran professor’s use of a racial slur in a class on hate speech prompted some students to walk out and the course to subsequently be canceled by the professor.
During the first meeting of the anthropology course “Cultural Freedoms — Hate Speech, Blasphemy, and Pornography,” taught by professor emeritus Lawrence Rosen, a small number of students walked out of the classroom following Rosen’s use of the N-word in a question about cultural taboos: “What is worse, a white man punching a black man, or a white man calling a black man a n****r?” Among the class of 65, about eight were black students, according to Destiny Salter ’20, one of the students.

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Making moves to increase diversity in radiology — “It’s a must”

Radiology is a bit less diverse than other fields of medicine, Stanford pediatric radiologist Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, admits, but she's spearheading an effort to change that.
Daldrup-Link, with support of a diversity committee in Stanford's Department of Radiology, is pursuing a long-term approach to improve diversity and inclusion in radiology and science more broadly. Currently, the department is focusing on recruitment efforts, mentorship and educating colleagues at Stanford and in the broader scientific community. The first step is to increase the number of underrepresented individuals, including people of color, religious minorities, sexual and gender minorities, women and others, in the department by educating colleagues and hiring committees and providing them with resources to support diversity and inclusion, Daldrup-Link said.
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Universities 'more concerned about reputation than racism'

Universities are more concerned about their reputations than confronting the racist abuse of students, the National Union of Students president has said.
Shakira Martin told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme she received calls from students reporting racist incidents on a daily basis.
Former Universities Minister David Lammy said incidents needed to be cracked down on "very aggressively".
Universities UK said there was no place for racism on a university campus.
The issue hit the headlines earlier this month when a student at Nottingham Trent University tweeted footage of alleged racist abuse outside her room at her halls of residence.
There are no overall figures for the number of racist incidents at universities, but a report by the NUS in 2011 found one in six black students had experienced racism at their institution.
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Civil rights attorney calls for diversity and inclusion to make America great

Morris Dees has a virtue he wishes he could share with a country he continues to see as divided. During a lecture at The Ohio State University Wednesday night, the famed civil rights attorney and co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center told a story about a memorable moment in his career.
Dees led a wrongful death lawsuit against the United Klans of America for their role in the lynching death of Michael McDonald in 1981. Dees represented Beulah Mae McDonald, mother of the young man murdered by Klan members.
McDonald met one of the men responsible for the death of her son, and he asked for her forgiveness. She granted it. Dees was moved by her compassion – he said he wished he could have packaged that moment.
“That’s the solution. To be willing to forgive people who, in some way, cause you in small ways and big ways to not like them,” Dees said.
Forgiveness and finding common ground were themes of his speech for the 19th Annual  President and Provost’s Diversity Lecture and Cultural Arts Series. His appearance at the Fawcett Center was supported by the university Division of Police, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, and Moritz College of Law.
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Fusion Film Festival 2018 to Celebrate Diversity and Inclusion in Film and TV

The Fusion Film Festival, NYU Tisch School of the Arts' premiere student film festival celebrating women creators in film, TV, and new media will showcase the work of emerging female filmmakers through three days of screenings and panels beginning Thursday, April 5 and running through Saturday, April 7. Against the backdrop of the #MeToo and TIME'S UP movements, this year's theme "Where Change Begins" will celebrate diversity and inclusion efforts and honor the artists and storytellers changing the entertainment industry.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

This University is Hiring a Manager to Combat Hate on Campus

Last May, Lt. John Collins III was visiting friends at the University of Maryland when he was stabbed and killed by senior Sean Urbanksi after a chance encounter on campus. Now the University of Maryland is looking to make an unusual hire for a job focused on to combating hate.

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The Lack of Black Teachers is an Equity Issue

I spent most of my first year of grad school sitting in the back row of class with my hood up. There were nearly 40 of us in the cohort. Two were black.
My hoodie was an act of silent dissent. Today, I completely understand when my students want to do the same, even with me in front of the room. Academia and public schools are spaces where people of color often feel underrepresented, unwelcome and unheard.
From third grade through high school, I was a student in a series of neighborhood public schools. Afterward, I went to community college and then on to a public liberal arts college where I earned my bachelor's and eventually my master's degree. Each phase in my educational journey shared two characteristics: the further I progressed, the fewer black and brown classmates I had. As I progressed, regardless of the demographics of the student population, the faculty and administrators were uniformly nearly all white.
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Diversity and Inclusion Jobs are on the Rise in the Trump Era

US president Donald Trump’s presidency has been a boon to the diversity and inclusion job market.
According to data from the job website Indeed, in the 15 months before Donald Trump was elected, 87 out of every 1 million job postings was for a diversity and inclusion role. In the 15 months since his election, the monthly average proportion has risen to 113 per million, a 31% increase.
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