Thursday, November 19, 2015

November 2015 News Digest

Check out the summaries below for an overview of what's going on in higher education this month.

Victory in Diversity is Hard to Define

Even after two administrators stepped down at The University of Missouri’s flagship campus, there is still more work to be done.

As the author states, “symbolic gains are not the same as systemic ones” and changing the entire atmosphere of a college campus is difficult.

The University of Oklahoma ended its partnership with a fraternity that was responsible for racist chants, and expelled two of its students. However, more substantive efforts to increase the black student body, black faculty members, and expand retention efforts have been slow.

Although overt discrimination has been eliminated, intimidation and hostility toward minority students still exist and students want to see this change.

Students at U. of Missouri

The Resilient Spirit of Syrian Students

Despite many refugees fleeing war-torn Syria, many Syrians still have resilient spirits.
Numerous Syrian students have been organizing ways to help each other get access to universities where they are now living.  They are trying to find solutions rather than dwelling on the issues they face.
Syrian students are also working to improve education in Syria outside of regime control. They are working with outside NGOs to set up online education programs in the country.
The Invisible Labor of Minority Professors
Minority professors all over the country are feeling the effects of cultural taxation, the pressure faculty members of color feel to be role models, mentors, and even surrogate parents to students of color.

According to studies, students of color who have faculty members as mentors tend to stick around. This is why faculty members of color feel so pressured to serve students and join committees even with already heavy workloads.

These extra hours are also not documented. Professors want to see this changed because this will increase the university’s willingness to hire more minority faculty members.

Rev. Joseph Brown, professor of Africana Studies at 
Southern Illinois U. at Carbondale

Campus Police Chief Is Fired After Saying Most Sex Assaults ‘Ain’t Rape’
The campus police chief at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Georgia has been fired after saying most sexual assaults on campus are not rape.
He was quoted in the student newspaper as saying rape does not happen at his college because "...when the dust settles, it was all consensual." His full comments are located in the article.

The police chief was dismissed and the president of the university called his comments inexcusable.

The $10-Billion Sports Tab

Cash flowing into college sports is only going to a few elite sports programs. Instead, many colleges rely heavily on student fees to finance their athletic programs.

The rates of these student fees are quickly increasing, sparking outrage amongst students, faculty, and lawmakers.

Still, many universities are choosing to create or grow their athletic programs despite data that these programs may be too costly. Students at these universities are left with the tab because without wins on the field, outside donations are minimal.

A Piece of UT Austin History

Before the iconic UT tower, there was the Old Main Building. It was built in 1883 and deconstructed in 1935. The building’s removal was not something that everyone on campus was excited about. Below is a poem by Meredith Posey lamenting the loss of the Main Building.

The current building and UT Tower replaced the Old Main Building and was finished in 1937. The new building was informally named the Mirabeau B. Lamar library, but the memory of Old Main wouldn't go away that easily. Students began calling it the new Main Building and the name stuck.

On the Destruction of the Main Building
Lone Goth, stalwart, crowded, towering, still in mellow strength undaunted,
Giant of earlier days, strong in thew and sinew,
Age creeps on you, ivy-tendrilled,
Age your headsman's axe.
Dust of ages long ago clings about you now at last.
You have marched thus far with time, but-
Death awaits you!
Tall-spired buildings snatched from a fire-doomed fall,
Silent--no bells ring, wires are dumb, the steam is off, the rooms are cold,
not a window blinks with light.
You were not made for pavements, patches, and parterres.
Vastness and bluebonnet vista were yours.
The past you served, your vision ever forward.
You die and serve the future so; your death --
A birth and a memory!
Killers come to you with bars and hammers;
They pry, loosen, and throw.
Soon half will be gone, soon all.
Do you hear them changing their Greek and Latin lore?
Are you mourners only the ghosts of ages gone?
That steam shovel shrieking and grunting is digging your grave --
Proudly descend!  

Summaries written by Kelsey Thompson and Stephanie Nandlal 

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