Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Citing Racial Strife, Students at Wealthy Colleges Demand Reparations

Jennifer Kabbany
April 24, 2017

Students who attend a wealthy and elite cluster of schools in Southern California are demanding various forms of reparations, citing racial strife and other injustices they allegedly face.

Various student factions at the private consortium  — which costs an average of more than $50,000 annually — have lodged demands to make right ills they claim to face at the “5Cs” as its known among students, consisting of Pomona, Scripps, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd and Pitzer colleges.

Read full story here.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Unesco recommends affirmative action admissions policies

Ellie Bothwell
April 20, 2017

Universities across the globe should introduce affirmative action admissions policies to widen access for disadvantaged students, according to a new policy paper from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Unesco also calls for governments to cap student loan repayments at 15 per cent of graduates’ monthly earnings, but it rejects policies granting free tuition for all students, claiming that one-size-fits-all programmes have been proven to discriminate against poor students.

Read full story here.

Equal Pay: New York City Council Passes Ban on Salary History Inquiries

Brian J. Turoff and David A. Katz
April 18, 2017

In November 2016, New York City enacted legislation prohibiting City agencies from inquiring into job applicants' salary history. On April 5, 2017, the New York City Council expanded the above-noted protections, overwhelmingly passing a bill prohibiting nearly all employers – including private sector employers – from inquiring into applicants' salary history. Reasoning that basing a salary offer on a prospective employee's prior salary can perpetuate unwarranted earnings imbalances between male and female employees, the new legislation seeks to combat systemic, gender-based wage disparities. If signed by Mayor de Blasio – which is widely expected – the law will go into effect six months from the date of signing.

In complying with this expected new law, employers must be mindful of the distinction between prohibited inquiries and permissible avenues of salary discussion. Specifically, employers would still be permitted to set forth a proposed salary for a given position and discuss that proposal with a prospective employee. Employers would also be permitted to inquire as to what a prospective employee hopes to earn should he or she receive a job offer. Finally, should an applicant voluntarily disclose his or her prior salary without any prompting or coercion, an employer may take this information into account in subsequent salary discussions. Notably, with limited exceptions, the anticipated new law also prohibits nearly all discussion of an applicant's prior benefits and other forms of compensation.

Read full story here.

17 Attorneys General Say Trump Travel Ban Harms Universities, Medical Institutions, Tourism

Phil Helsel
April 19, 2017

The attorneys general of 16 states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday filed a brief asking the 4th U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold a ruling that blocked a major part of President Donald Trump's so-called "travel ban."

The attorneys general argue Trump's revised executive order would negatively impact universities and medical institutions, has a depressing effect on tourism — causing lost tax revenue — and amounts to an anti-Muslim order.

Read full story on NBC.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

For USF Professor, Diversity Key for Best Public Policy

Christina Sturdivant
April 18, 2017


As a tenured professor at the University of San Francisco (USF), Dr. Richard Greggory Johnson III brings to the classroom an exemplary academic, professional and personal history that has shaped his passion for public policy, social equity and human rights.

His road to a career in higher education began as a child in the Bronx.

“I grew up with a great sense of education, not only from my parents but also from my older cousins who were ahead of me in school and most of whom went to college as well. It was family dynamic,” he says.

Read full story here.

Rights Advocates: Jackson a Troubling Choice for Acting Head of Office of Civil Rights

Jamaal Abdul-Alim
April 18, 2017



The person that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos recently put in charge of her agency’s Office of Civil Rights is drawing a chorus of criticism from civil rights advocates and scholars over her historical hostility to racial preferences and other ideological stances — including having once complained that she was discriminated against for being White.

The Department of Education announced last week that attorney Candice Jackson had been appointed by DeVos as deputy assistant secretary in the Office for Civil Rights, as well as acting assistant secretary.

Read full story here.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

White Supremacy From Students?

A new group at Auburn University has dubbed itself the Auburn White Student Union, though it's not affiliated with the institution.

Jeremy Bauer-Wolf  
April 13, 2017

A white nationalist group that initially claimed affiliation with Auburn University has prompted condemnation from officials there.

The controversy surrounding the Auburn White Student Union represents the continued rise of white supremacist activities on university campuses, intensified by the contemporary political landscape.

Read full story on Inside Higher Ed. 

The (Temporary?) U.S. Education Team

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos makes first official announcement of key aides, many of them in acting capacities and including some controversial choices.

Andrew Kreighbaum  
April 13, 2017

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the hiring of nine senior staff members Wednesday, including an acting under secretary with significant experience working on student aid and postsecondary issues.

The hiring of most of the individuals in the announcement had previously been discussed publicly, but it was the first official announcement from DeVos about who would fill key staff positions. Like other federal agencies in the Trump administration, the Department of Education has gone nearly three months without naming appointees to a number of political positions.

Read full story on Inside Higher Ed. 

Latina Accepted By 11 Med Schools Has A Message For Those Who Credit Affirmative Action

“I am proud of my background and ... of what I have overcome to get here.”

Carolina Moreno
April 11, 2017

All Chelsea Batista wanted was to get into one of the 18 medical schools she applied to. Instead, she got into 11. 

“I was absolutely surprised,” the 21-year-old senior at Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College told The Huffington Post via email. “When I received my first acceptance, I was golden. When more acceptances started coming in, I was astounded.”

Read full story here

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trump's economy team is missing two big pieces

Jill Disis
April 10, 2017


President Trump has been in office nearly three months, but he's still missing two key members of his economic team.

Robert Lighthizer, the nominee for U.S. trade representative, and Alexander Acosta, Trump's pick for labor secretary, have yet to advance to the full Senate for confirmation votes.

They will remain in limbo for at least two more weeks. Congress is in recess until April 24. Both are widely expected to be confirmed, but it's not clear when.

Read full story on CNN.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fighting Hate In Schools

Tovia Smith
April 5, 2017

Hate incidents can happen anywhere: the mall, the church, the office. But, in the wake of the 2016 election, hate's been showing up a lot in school.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, in the months following the election more hate incidents took place in America's schools than anywhere else. Hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools have played host to an array of troubling events, from sophomoric stunts to much worse: a hijab pulled off a Muslim student, physical fights with racial epithets flung, even violent threats.

Educators in Massachusetts, as elsewhere, are struggling with what to do.

Read full story on NPR.

Princeton Sues the Federal Government to Protect Admissions Data

Austin Elias-De Jesus
April 7, 2017


Princeton University–the prestigious Ivy League institution whose famous alumni include Woodrow Wilson, Michelle Obama, and Queen of Genovia Amelia Mignonette Thermopolis Renaldi–is suing the Department of Education in an attempt to block the release of its admissions data through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), according to Buzzfeed News.

The lawsuit is an attempt to hinder the anti-affirmative action organization Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), a nonprofit whose mission is to remove race-based college admissions standards and is accusing Princeton of practicing anti-Asian bias in its admissions. The organization seeks to use a FOIA request to prove its accusations by releasing documents that Princeton gave to the DOE during a long investigation by the department’s Office for Civil Rights into anti-Asian discrimination that concluded in 2015. The investigation determined that this bias did not exist.

Read full story here

DAAP presidential candidate Richard Alvarado hopes to increase diversity

Shayann Hendricks
April 7, 2017

At many times in his life, Richard Alvarado has faced — and overcome — adversity.

Alvarado has been working since he was 15 years old, struggled with mental illness and encountered temporary homelessness. For most of his childhood in the Bay Area, his parents and extended family faced the threat of deportation.

Having experienced these hardships, Alvarado is running for ASUC president, hoping to provide equal opportunity to students and to mobilize the campus against President Donald Trump. He is running with the Defend Affirmative Action Party, or DAAP, which also endeavors to increase diversity on campus — a goal that Alvarado cites as a top priority of his in his campaign for the presidential seat.

Read full story here.

Medical school affirmative action helps reduce racial health disparities

Jack Siglin
April 6, 2017


Health — that thing we take for granted but probably shouldn't — is vitally important. Like so many other things, though, it isn't distributed equitably. Race and socioeconomic status have a lot of predictive power when it comes to peoples' health. Some of the explanation stems from an unlikely place — U.S. physician population demographics.

Let's start with some facts. Medical school graduates from 1978 to 2008 — a good approximation of the U.S. physician workforce — are about 75 percent white, 13 percent Asian, 5 percent Latino and 6 percent black. The U.S. as a whole is about 77 percent white, 6 percent Asian, 18 percent Latino and 14 percent black. Another way to frame the data: About 18 out of every 100 who matriculate at medical school identify as students of color. That's far less than the general proportion of the population.

Read full story here.

Editorial: UVa's affirmative action for rich people

Apr 6, 2017


The University of Virginia would like to know who you’re gonna believe: the school, or your lyin’ eyes?

Records from the school show the advancement office — that’s the fundraising arm of the university — kept track of children of donors who had applied to the school, and tried to get those on the “watch list” admitted or wait-listed. The school claims its admissions office makes its decisions independently.

Maybe so. But that would suggest that fundraising staff are just beating their heads against a brick wall. If the admissions office is hermetically sealed off from outside influence, then why do other U.Va. officials keep trying to influence it?

Read full story here.

Google accused of 'extreme' gender pay discrimination

Jessica Schladebeck
April 8, 2017

Government officials investigating how Google pays its employees accused the tech company of fostering an “extreme” gender pay gap across its workforce.

The claim stems from an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor. An official from the agency revealed the bombshell allegations — accusing the search giant of violating federal employment law in how its female staff are paid — during a hearing in San Francisco on Friday.

Read full article on New York Daily News.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Court: Civil Rights law prohibits discrimination of LGBT

By Michael Tarm
April 5, 2017



CHICAGO (AP) — A federal appeals court ruled for the first time Tuesday that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination, setting up a likely battle before the Supreme Court as gay rights advocates push to broaden the scope of the 53-year-old law.

The 8-to-3 decision by the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago comes just three weeks after a three-judge panel in Atlanta ruled the opposite, saying employers aren't prohibited from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation.

The 7th Circuit is considered relatively conservative and five of the eight judges in the majority were appointed by Republican presidents, making the finding all the more notable.

The case stems from a lawsuit by Indiana teacher Kimberly Hively alleging that the Ivy Tech Community College in South Bend didn't hire her full time because she is a lesbian.

Read full story here.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Report on Colleges and Sex Assault Cases

April 4, 2017

With the Trump administration reportedly debating whether to reverse Obama administration guidance on how colleges should investigate sexual assault, a group of trial lawyers has released a report suggesting the current processes on many campuses are unfairly slanted against the accused.
The guidance, issued in a 2011 Dear Colleague letter, was meant to clarify areas of the law, the administration said at the time. It beefed up protections for victims of sexual assault and was a way to push colleges to more thoroughly respond to complaints. Such guidance does not carry the force of law, but it did contain a threat that colleges’ federal funding could be revoked should they fail to comply.
Read full story on Inside Higher Ed

Monday, April 3, 2017

Obama’s “Blacklisting” Executive Order Is DOA

Baker McKenzie
March 30 2017

Before taking office, President Trump vowed to revoke “all illegal and overreaching executive orders.” On March 27, he made good on that vow when he revoked former President Obama’s Executive Order 13673, the Fair Pay & Safe Workplaces rule (“EO”), known by many as the “Blacklisting EO”.

As we reported on July 24, 2016, Obama enacted the EO back in 2014 with the goal of promoting efficient procurement of government contracts with businesses “who comply with labor laws.” Among other things, the EO would have required companies with government contracts valued at $500,000 or more to report violations under 14 labor and employment laws, including the FLSA, FMLA, Title VII, ADA, ADEA, OSHA, NLRA, federal contractor laws and any equivalent state and local laws. Based on the severity of a company’s infractions (or in some cases, mere allegations of infractions), the government could disqualify or outright bar that company from bidding for future federal contracts.

Read full story here.

Trumpdate: Labor nominee Acosta gets through HELP Committee, Dems support Gorsuch

Two big developments of interest to employers:

By Employment and Labor Insider
March 31 2017

The Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved the nomination of Alex Acosta, President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Labor, in a 12-11 straight party-line vote. This means that Mr. Acosta’s nomination will be voted on by the full Senate. According to The Washington Post, no date has yet been set for the Senate vote.

And two Democratic Senators have said they will vote in favor of the President’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court seat that was made vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) are both facing reelection in 2018 in states that went heavily for President Trump in the 2016 election. According to The Hill, there are still 33 Democrats who oppose Judge Gorsuch, but there may be a few more “red state Democrats” who will waver. Democrats have threatened to filibuster the vote on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, and the Republicans have threatened to go for the so-called “nuclear option,” which would change Senate Rules to allow cloture to be invoked on a simple majority vote. (The Democrats did the same thing to stop Republican filibusters of President Obama’s Cabinet and federal court nominees.) Currently, 60 votes are required to invoke cloture.

Read full story here.
Regis University blocked one of its students from viewing its Twitter account following a dispute with administrators over free speech on campus.

Jade Haney
April 2, 2017


“I had [attempted] to mention Regis University in a tweet to a Catholic Priest from Canada who was showing some support,” Alexander Beck told Campus Reform. “[I] was unable to mention them, [and] after going to their page, I saw that I was blocked.”

Beck, the president of the school’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, was holding a “Social Justice Bake Sale” earlier this month as a counter to “Social Justice Week” programming when he was approached by Dean of Students Diane McSheehy, who claimed that the event was a “demonstration” that had not received approval.

Following the incident, Beck told Campus Reform that he was contacted by Dr. Nicki Gonzalez, the head of the Diversity Program at Regis as well as Beck’s advisor, who asked to meet with him to hear his perspective on the situation.

Read full story here

Positive Affirmation: Affirmative Action in College Admissions

By Nicole Kim and Noa Schwartz
March 30, 2017

After her PSAT, Nicole Bahar ’18 marched directly to her dean’s office and burst through the door, not stopping to talk to friends or send a brief text to her parents letting them know she had finished. She was frustrated, confused and angry, she said, but not due to concerns about the test.

“On the PSAT, I remember I had checked off the box that said ‘white (of Middle Eastern descent),’” Bahar said. “It’s just not fair. I asked, ‘Why am I being generalized and put in a parenthetical?’ It was a mixture of feeling offended and also feeling like it’s unfair that I don’t get this advantage.”

Bahar said she was referring to the policy adopted by colleges known as Affirmative Action, a race-based selection process that aims to promote diversity and increase access to education for applicants of historically disadvantaged minorities, such as African, Latino and Native-Americans. The term “Affirmative Action” was coined by President John F. Kennedy in Executive Order 10925, which included a provision for the government’s “Affirmative Action” to guarantee fair employment without consideration of “race, creed, color or national origin.

Read full story on The Harvard Chronicle.

You Can Kiss Any Discrimination Cases Goodbye With A Gorsuch Supreme Court

Earl Ofari Hutchinson
03/30/2017


The anti-labor, pro-business, blind eye toward discrimination rulings, dissents, opinions and writings of Trump’s SCOTUS nominee Neil Gorsuch have been well-documented. But here’s a brief recap. Between 2007 and 2016, in ten of 14 cases involving discrimination, he shot down all union and employee litigant arguments charging discrimination in back pay, hiring, and termination cases. In a case in 2012, involving pay and an employee termination, he made clear that the burden to prove discrimination is always on the petitioner.

He applied his “originalist” read of the law to cases involving trucker rights, safety and health, and the termination of a whistleblower. In a 2016 case involving an employee suit that charged retaliation, Gorsuch blasted the long-standing standard that permitted indirect evidence of employment discrimination. He flatly stated that the standard had “no useful role to play in First Amendment retaliation cases.” He didn’t stop there. Even more ominously, he noted that the standard may have no application in Title VII discrimination cases “because of the confusion and complexities its application can invite.”

Read full story on The Huffington Post

Neil Gorsuch got where he is because of a form of affirmative action

Will he remember that if he makes it to the Supreme Court?

By Richard L. Hasen 
April 3

Judge Neil Gorsuch, whose nomination to the Supreme Court is expected to be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, is an affirmative action baby. But there’s no reason to believe that if he’s confirmed, his rulings on the high court would reflect the fact that he did not get where he is today solely based on his merits — or extend to others the benefit of a helping hand.

Let’s start with how Gorsuch got to the point of being nominated in the first place. The judge secured a clerkship on the Supreme Court in 1993 after a post-law school year at Oxford University, quite an accomplishment for a new lawyer. But the clerkship began with Justice Byron White. White was known to favor his home state of Colorado, and it was unsurprising that he handed a clerkship to a bright, politically connected fourth-generation Coloradan. White had just retired, though, and a clerkship with a retired justice is not nearly as prestigious as one with sitting justices, because they do not work on Supreme Court cases. As a courtesy to White’s clerks, Gorsuch got to work in Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s chambers, too — not because Kennedy hired him through a process based only on merit, but instead, because Kennedy wanted to help a fellow justice.

Read full story on Washington Post

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Faculty ‘Diversity Statements’ Are Called Threats to Academic Freedom

Peter Schmidt
March 30, 2017

The “diversity statements” that many colleges now require of applicants for faculty positions are coming under attack by traditionalists and conservatives as threats to academic freedom.

The Oregon affiliate of the National Association of Scholars has issued a report accusing colleges in that state and elsewhere of creating “ideological litmus tests” for faculty hiring and promotion by asking candidates for statements discussing their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“The statements will deter leading scholars from coming to the state, cause a deleterious effect on research productivity, and serve as an ideological cudgel against scholars with alternative views,” the Oregon Association of Scholars said in issuing the report. It called the statements “a direct threat to academic freedom and research excellence.”

This entry was posted in Academic Freedom, The Profession.