Diversity Gains At Big Ten Universities Don’t Include Black Students

September 8, 2021

The majority of universities in the Big Ten Conference have a smaller percentage of Black undergraduates enrolled at their institutions than they did 20 years ago. And those drops came despite impressive gains in the overall racial/ethnic diversity of American students at these institutions across the same time period. In order to examine the changes in undergraduate diversity at the 14 Big Ten institutions, I inspected the most recent Common Data Set figures collected and submitted by each one (typically for the 2020-21 academic year) and compared it to the Common Data Set numbers each had reported approximately two decades ago. In most cases, that comparison year was 2001-2002, but, in those instances where institutions did not include data that far back, I used the most distant year available at the universities website or relied on its internal institutional research figures.

Penn State Adopts an Acknowledgement of Land Statement

September 3, 2021

The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations. As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.

It’s Time for Engineering to Be Equity-Centered

August 31, 2021

Diversity, equity and inclusion should be a required part of engineering schools’ curricula, argues Alec D. Gallimore. In technical fields, we often pride ourselves on our objectivity -- as though the work exists outside ourselves. In engineering, we have historically believed that we could make technologies that work for anyone, regardless of the identity of the engineer or the user. We have believed that technological progress was inherently making the world a better place. And, in many ways, it has. From the wheel to the automobile, the printing press to the internet, eyeglasses to orbiting telescopes, engineering has expanded humanity’s horizons and improved the human condition. But it has become clear that such technologies and systems do not benefit everyone equally. At times, they can even actively harm some groups. Unintended consequences can occur, because engineers are people, too -- people shaped by their cultures, with biases and blind spots.

A Look Back in History: Emmett Till’s Enduring Legacy

August 28, 2021

Who Was Emmett Till? In late summer 1955, Mamie Till chose to lay the body of her only child, Emmett, in an open coffin, believing that “the whole nation had to bear witness to this” — this Black child of Chicago who had been murdered and mutilated by white men in Mississippi. “They had to see what I had seen,” she wrote in her memoir. Hundreds of thousands of mourners lined up to witness for themselves the horror wrought on the 14-year-old victim, and many, many more saw it when photographs of his body were published in Jet magazine. From that moment until today, Emmett Till has shaped the civil rights movement in America. Here is a look at who he was, the outrage at his murder and the acquittal of his killers, and his enduring legacy.

Penn State Extension Victory Garden Program supports Latino community

August 13, 2021

Penn State Extension Master Gardeners expected there would be a renewed interest in home gardening in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, they developed the 10-part “Victory Garden Reinvented!” webinar series to support gardeners across the country. In 2021, the Master Gardener program and the Penn State Extension horticulture team expanded this effort — aiming to reach the Latino community — and the webinars now are available in Spanish.

IN VIRGINIA, CONFEDERATE STATUES COME DOWN

July 13, 2021

The city of Charlottesville, Virginia on Saturday removed two equestrian statues from its public square that for nearly a century honored Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee (pictured above) and Stonewell Jackson (below). Hours later, City Council decided to take down two statues deemed offensive to Native Americans.

Congrats to one of our own - Jenneth Layaou / Cultivating Change

June 30, 2021

Today the Cultivating Change Foundation announced the recipients of its annual Cultivator of Change and Cultivating Change Ally awards. Through its annual awards program, the Foundation recognizes individuals and organizations that help to advance its mission to value and elevate LGBTQ+ agriculturists through advocacy, education, and community. The co-recipients of the Cultivator of Change award are Justin Gayliard, Senior Manager, Customer Solutions for BASF Agricultural Solutions, and Jenneth Layaou, Director of Campus Enrollment and Retention for Pennsylvania State University and Director of the Pennsylvania School for Excellence in the Agricultural Sciences. The recipient of the Cultivating Change Ally award is Barbara Coty, Senior Food Scientist at Tyson Foods. Read more about the inspiring work of each award recipient below. Next month, the Foundation will announce the organization receiving the annual Agriculture Influencer award.

Juneteenth, Celebration and Expectation

June 20, 2021

By Kevin Young We might count Juneteenth among those things Black people have long enjoyed that white folks don’t know about — like Frankie Beverly and Maze. The fact that such things exist might still be a shock to some; Americans are used to having Black culture to draw from like a renewable well. But no matter how aware or steeped in Black music and meanings, white people can still be surprised by the depth of things that Black people have kept alive for generations, kept to themselves in churches and barbershops, beauty salons and artistic salons, or laughed about over barbecue and red drink. These are the habits of freedom, rituals of the heart and mind. There’s a whole canon of Black cookout music that folks sing along to — if you’re lucky enough to get invited. What Juneteenth and other Emancipation days commemorate is both the promise of freedom and its delay. For June 19, 1865, doesn’t mark the day enslaved African Americans were set free in the United States but the day the news of Emancipation reached them in Texas, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It is a holiday ringed, like a good brisket, though not in smoke but irony. Out of such ironies Black people have made the blues, made lemonade, made good. The lesson of Juneteenth is both of celebration and expectation, of freedom deferred but still sought and of the freedoms to come.

Women Identified as Operators on 51 Percent of U.S. Farms in 2019

June 10, 2021

Women play an integral part in farming, either as a principal operator or as a decision-maker. In 2019, more than half (51 percent) of all farming operations in the United States had at least one woman operator, according to the 2019 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS). Women were the “principal operator,” meaning they are primarily responsible for the day-to-day operation of the farm, on 14 percent of operations. In 37 percent of operations, women were the “secondary operators,” involved in decisions for the operation but not the principal operators. Farms with principal female operators contributed more than 4 percent of the total value of production in 2019.

You Can Feel the Tension’: A Windfall for Minority Farmers Divides Rural America

May 25, 2021

A $4 billion federal fund meant to confront how racial injustice has shaped American farming has angered white farmers who say they are being unfairly excluded. But the $4 billion fund has angered conservative white farmers who say they are being unfairly excluded because of their race. And it has plunged Mr. Lewis and other farmers of color into a new culture war over race, money and power in American farming. “You can feel the tension,” Mr. Lewis said. “We’ve caught a lot of heat from the conservative Caucasian farmers.”

Effort underway to give WWI's Harlem Hellfighters the recognition they deserve

April 15, 2021

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Congressman Tom Suozzi was joined by Harlem leaders Thursday to announce he is introducing legislation that would award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, better known as the Harlem Hellfighters. The Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act would bestow what Suozzi calls long-overdue recognition of the bravery and outstanding service of Harlem Hellfighters during World War I.

AFT, MANRRS PARTNER TO CREATE MORE AG OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINORITY STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS

March 16, 2021

American Farmland Trust is partnering with Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) to increase opportunities for minorities in agriculture, conservation, and related fields. David Haight, vice president for programs with American Farmland Trust, says he’s hopeful the partnership will help advance inclusion in agriculture and provide opportunities for those who have been underserved. Listen to audio recordings by David Haight, vice president for programs with American Farmland Trust, and Ebony Webber, MANRRS Chief Operating Officer.

Black Farmers May Finally Get the Help they Deserve

March 5, 2021

A debt-relief program would be a step in repairing more than a century of discrimination by the Department of Agriculture. Many white people have become aware in the last year of the discrimination that Black Americans face in policing, voting, health care and more. Few, however, may recognize that systemic racism led to another grave injustice, one that underpins many other forms of exploitation: More than a century of land theft and the exclusion of Black people from government agricultural programs have denied many descendants of enslaved people livelihoods as independent, landowning farmers.

Stanford study provides evidence of the ‘diversity-innovation paradox’ in academia

February 25, 2021

A new analysis by Stanford researchers shows that while diversity breeds innovation in academia, diverse perspectives and ideas aren't rewarded. Women and racial minorities introduce scientific novelty at higher rates than white men across all disciplines, the analysis shows, but they are less likely to benefit — either through sought-after faculty jobs or respected research careers.

Racelighting: A Prevalent Version of Gaslighting Facing People of Color

February 14, 2021

Informed by the notion of gaslighting, we offer “racelighting” as a concept to represent a unique type of gaslighting experienced in the daily, normalized realities of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. Racelighting refers to the process whereby People of Color question their own thoughts and actions due to systematically delivered racialized messages that make them second guess their own lived experiences with racism. When racelighted, People of Color may begin to question their interpretation of reality and begin to wonder if they are being overly sensitive. In our own experiences, racelighting most often occurs when other Black people question our mistreatment. When this mistreatment is called to the attention of the perpetrator, the perpetrators’ passionate delivery of innocence and claims of the victim’s misinterpretation can be incredibly convincing.

Two Biden Priorities, Climate and Inequality, Meet on Black-Owned Farms

January 31, 2021

The administration has pledged to make agriculture a cornerstone of its plan to fight warming, but also to tackle a legacy of discrimination that has pushed Black farmers off the land.

Informing the New Administration: Advancing Racial Equity in America

January 26, 2021

"The tragedies of the last year harshly exposed just how persistent and corrosive systemic racism is across our entire society — infecting our systems of health care, justice and law enforcement, employment, housing, and education,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor Dzau. “We are at a moment of reckoning, and the time for real action is long past due.” The Biden administration has pledged a “major mobilization of effort and resources” to address these challenges and advance racial equity in America. And across the nation, decision-makers in all levels of government, the private sector, higher education, and the philanthropic community are striving to understand how systemic racism operates in organizations and in society, and grappling with how best to combat it.

Hank Aaron, Home Run King Who Defied Racism, Dies at 86

January 23, 2021

Hank Aaron, who faced down racism as he eclipsed Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king, hitting 755 homers and holding the most celebrated record in sports for more than 30 years, has died. He was 86. The Atlanta Braves, his team for many years, confirmed the death on Friday in a message from its chairman, Terry McGuirk. No other details were provided. Playing for 23 seasons, all but his final two years with the Braves in Milwaukee and then Atlanta, Aaron was among the greatest all-around players in baseball history and one of the last major league stars to have played in the Negro leagues.

Biden Order Rescinds Diversity Training Restrictions, Requires Review of Agency Equity

January 21, 2021

An executive order instructs all federal agencies to “root out” systemic racism from programs and institutions and rescinds Trump's controversial effort to excise so-called “divisive” diversity training programs from agencies and federal contractors. On President Biden’s first day in office, he signaled a major shift in the administration’s approach to racial issues, signing an executive order ending the Trump White House’s policies that denied the existence of systemic racism in the United States and ordering agencies to “root out” systemic racism and other forms of discrimination both in the workplace and in their public-facing programs.

Baseball Rights a Wrong by Adding Negro Leagues to Official Records

December 17, 2020

More than 3,400 players from seven leagues that operated from 1920 to 1948 will now be considered major leaguers in a move that will shake up the record books. On Wednesday, Major League Baseball took one of its biggest steps to redress past racial wrongs: It formally recognized several of the Negro leagues as on par with the American and National leagues, a distinction that will alter the official record books to acknowledge a quality of competition that the long-excluded players never doubted.

8 Practical, Sustainable Steps to a Diverse Faculty

October 5, 2020

When it comes to the hiring and retention of faculty of color, the situation across higher education is, as the saying goes, “déjà vu all over again.” Colleges and universities seem trapped in a time loop, issuing proclamations and statements similar to those made by our predecessors decades ago with limited success. Campus activists are wondering: Can academe live up to its promises this time?

Systemic racism in higher education

September 18, 2020

The nexus of Black Lives Matter protests and a pandemic that disproportionately kills Black and Latinx people (1) highlights the need to end systemic racism, including in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), where diversity has not meaningfully changed for decades (2). If we decry structural racism but return to the behaviors and processes that led us to this moment, this inexcusable stagnation will continue. We urge the Academy to combat systemic racism in STEM and catalyze transformational change.

What Is Black Fatigue, and How Can We Protect Employees from It?

September 15, 2020

Here are eight tips for organizations embarking on a diversity, equity, and inclusion process. My diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy, the Winters Group, has conducted thousands of focus groups with Black and brown employees who report more toxic environments than their white coworkers. In addition, the results of our cultural audits often show statistically significant disparities for Black and brown people in hiring, promotions, involuntary terminations, and performance reviews.

Justice Department v. Yale - Federal agency says the university's admissions policies discriminate against Asian and white applicants

August 17, 2020

The Justice Department told Yale University Thursday that it had to change its admissions policies to no longer consider race and ethnicity because of violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. It said that the university is discriminating against Asian American and white applicants. "There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. "Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin." If Yale does not agree by August 27 to end the consideration of race in admissions for one year, the Justice Department threatened to sue the university.

The UC System Just Admitted Its Most Diverse Class of Californians. How Did These Campuses Do It?

July 24, 2020

The University of California (UC) system admitted its largest, most diverse class of Californians this year, according to preliminary data. Notably, for the first time, the system welcomed a higher percentage of Latinx prospective students than White students from the state. The nearly 80,000 California students admitted, a record high, is 36% Latinx, 35% Asian, 21% White and 5% Black. In total, the campuses extended 16% more offers to California’s underrepresented students than last year.

Milwaukee Said It First: Racism is a Public Health Crisis

July 19, 2020

From cradle to grave, Black Milwaukeeans were suffering. The infant mortality rate was nearly three times that of white people. The life expectancy was about 14 years shorter, on average. Life in between offered its own hardships — from gaping disparities in education to income — officials realized years ago, in what was among the most racially segregated and inequitable cities in America.

A North Carolina City Made The Historic Move To Pay Black Residents Reparations

July 17, 2020

On July 14, a unanimous vote came through from Asheville, North Carolina’s City Council. The City Council apologized — on behalf of the entire city — for the Asheville's historic role in slavery, racial discrimination, and withholding of basic rights from its Black residents. The 7-0 vote included the decision to provide reparations to residents and their descendants. Reparations will come in the form of investments in areas where Black residents face inequality. "The resulting budgetary and programmatic priorities may include but not be limited to increasing minority home ownership and access to other affordable housing, increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities, strategies to grow equity and generational wealth, closing the gaps in health care, education, employment and pay, neighborhood safety, and fairness within criminal justice," reads the resolution.

After Years Of Protests, A Judge Ruled To Shut Down The Dakota Access Pipeline

July 8, 2020

After years of protest and legal battles, a district court ruled on Monday to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route stretching from North Dakota to Illinois. The contentiously built pipeline must be completely drained of oil by August 5, in order to conduct further reviews of its environmental impact. The news also stands as a big victory for the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes.

LGBT Workers Win Job Protections in Landmark Supreme Court Ruling

July 1, 2020

Employers that fire an individual merely for being gay or transgender violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 today. Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, "An individual's homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions." The Court's decision in Bostock v. Clayton County involved a pair of employers that fired male employees shortly after learning of their sexual orientation, as well as a third case involving a funeral home director, Aimee Stephens, who lost her job after revealing her intention to have sex-reassignment surgery.

Virginia Becomes The First Southern State To Officially Ban Natural Hair Discrimination

July 1, 2020

In March, Virginia became the fourth state to pass The Crown Act, which prohibits discrimination against natural hair in schools and workplaces. While California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado, and Washington have now signed the act into law this year, Virginia is officially the first southern state to end this discriminatory practice, marking a significant step forward that many hope will have a ripple effect.