Supreme Court Will Hear Admissions Cases, Suggesting Conservatives May Target Affirmative Action

August 31, 2022

The Supreme Court on Monday decided to wade back into the nation’s decades-long debate over the consideration of race in college admissions by agreeing to hear two cases brought by an anti-affirmative-action group against Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The group, Students for Fair Admissions, alleges both institutions discriminated against Asian American applicants in their admissions processes.

Making the Case for Affirmative Action

August 5, 2022

Support for Harvard and UNC’s position floods the Supreme Court. Arguments focus on the Constitution, the impact on Asian Americans and saving lives. It seems like everyone in higher education has something to say about affirmative action. To judge by the dozens of briefs submitted to the Supreme Court Monday, they strongly support it. Of course, there are also those who oppose affirmative action and hope the Supreme Court uses cases involving Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to end it. They had an earlier deadline, in May. To learn why, see this article on those 34 briefs. Far more briefs were submitted Monday (although the Supreme Court does not normally consider the volume of briefs in its decisions). But they represented individual colleges, individual scholars and associations arguing for Harvard and UNC.

No, the Boys Are Not Doing Just Fine

July 29, 2022

Men trail women from grade school through college. That’s a real problem. Feyten, chancellor and president of Texas Woman’s University, acknowledges the large disparities between men and women in higher education. The difference in the share of bachelor’s degrees going to women and men is in fact wider today than it was in 1972, when Title IX was passed — but in the opposite direction. Certainly, many people back then saw the gender gap as a crisis big enough to justify new legislation and organizing. As well as Title IX, the 1970s saw the passage of the Women’s Education Equity Act, mostly aimed at elementary and secondary schools, and the founding of the National Coalition for Women & Girls in Education.

14 eye-opening essays from Black writers to read to understand America's problems with race

June 20, 2022

Insider asked Black literary and historical experts to share their favorite works of journalism on race by Black authors. Here are the top pieces they recommended everyone read to better understand the quest for Black liberation in America: This article was originally published in February 2021.

Gender identity lessons, banned in some schools, are rising in others

June 3, 2022

Students are told that dolls aren’t just for girls, and that there are no ‘boy colors’ or ‘girl colors’ . Some lessons are direct: “Who can describe what transgender means?” In other classes, the discussion is more subtle: “Remember, families can come in all shapes and sizes!” Sometimes teachers simply shift their language to reflect gender diversity that may be in the room. Instead of “Good morning, boys and girls!” the teacher might say, “Good morning, scholars!” In Florida and several others states, educators are restricted in teaching about gender identity, but elsewhere, teachers are embracing the topic as the number of transgender and gender nonbinary children rises.

Higher Ed Leaders Prepare for Supreme Court Potentially Overturning Use of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

May 24, 2022

Higher Ed Leaders Prepare For Supreme Court Potentially Overturning Use Of Affirmative Action In College Admissions The Boston Globe (5/22) reported higher education leaders, “alarmed that the US Supreme Court could strike down affirmative action next year,” have started to discuss how they can “continue diversifying elite college campuses without using race as a factor in admissions.” As they fear “such a decision could reverse decades of effort to break down systemic barriers blocking marginalized groups from attending elite institutions, higher education leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to diversity.” National Association for College Admission Counseling CEO Angel Pérez told the Globe, “It’s not that this is going to be in lieu of race, but I think colleges will still have an opportunity to diversify their funnels. A lot of it starts with, how do you get students to even apply and come to the door?” He explained that “using these kinds of strategies have helped public institutions in California, which have not been allowed to consider race since 1996, when voters there passed a ballot measure that effectively outlawed affirmative action."

Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation

May 9, 2022

Executive Summary The moment they earn their bachelor’s degrees, black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers ($23,400 versus $16,000, including non-borrowers in the averages. But over the next few years, the black-white debt gap more than triples to a whopping $25,000. Differences in interest accrual and graduate school borrowing lead to black graduates holding nearly $53,000 in student loan debt four years after graduation—almost twice as much as their white counterparts.

Poll Finds the Public Doesn’t Favor Affirmative Action

May 2, 2022

Americans do not favor the consideration of race, ethnicity or gender in college admissions decisions. A new Pew Research Center report found that 74 percent think race and ethnicity should not be considered in admissions decisions. For gender, 82 percent think it shouldn’t be considered. The results extend to every racial group and to Democrats as well as Republicans.

"Blackness Deserves a Seat at the Sedar"

April 11, 2022

At a table in Fredericksburg, Va., surrounded by loved ones, Michael W. Twitty will celebrate Passover this year with a Seder plate that speaks directly to his identity. Mr. Twitty, an African American food historian and author, will make his haroseth, a dish that symbolizes the mortar Israelites used while they were enslaved by Egyptians, with pecans and molasses. The molasses represents the sugar cane that was central to the American slave trade, and the pecans represent African American resilience and celebration in the South.

Redlining means 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air, 50 years after it ended

March 10, 2022

Decades of federal housing discrimination did not only depress home values, lower job opportunities and spur poverty in communities deemed undesirable because of race. It’s why 45 million Americans are breathing dirtier air today, according to a landmark study released Wednesday. The practice known as redlining was outlawed more than a half-century ago, but it continues to impact people who live in neighborhoods that government mortgage officers shunned for 30 years because people of color and immigrants lived in them.

Idaho House Passes Discriminatory Bill to Criminalize Gender Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

March 9, 2022

The Idaho House approved legislation today that makes it a felony for a doctor to provide age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best practice gender affirming care for transgender children. H.675 now heads to the Idaho Senate for further consideration. Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement in reaction to today’s vote: “It is so disappointing that some politicians in Boise have decided to follow Texas and Alabama down the path of imposing felony criminal penalties upon doctors who are simply doing their jobs. By making it impossible for doctors to provide care for their patients, transgender youth are denied the age-appropriate, best practice, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care that a new study just found reduces the risk of moderate or severe depression by 60% and suicidality by 73%.”

Afro-Latinidad: The celebration of a multifaceted identity

February 10, 2022

Black History Month is an opportunity to be reminded of the beautiful, complex, multi-layered, and diverse nature of the Black experience in the United States. Afro-Latinos, with their unique voices and perspectives, are an essential and vibrant group in the makeup of the Hispanic and Black American identity. From writers to social innovators, from performers to musicians, from cultural icons to scholars: La Afrolatinidad está presente!

8 Ways for Search Committees to Be Inclusive

February 8, 2022

Inclusive hiring is one of those hot topics that everyone in higher education talks about but rarely with any specifics attached. People on search committees say they aim to be “more inclusive” in the hiring process but don’t quite know what that means in practice, working with one another and interacting with candidates. Here are eight tips for how committees (including those for faculty searches) can work inclusively and achieve the ultimate goal of hiring more diverse candidates:

Rooted in Diversity: Black History Month

February 8, 2022

February is nationally recognized as Black History Month. AgriSafe would like to recognize and celebrate Black history and the contribution Black farmers have made and continue to make to the agricultural industry!

Students of color persist in STEM despite racial stereotypes, my research shows

February 7, 2022

Through my research, I’ve come to see that — for Black and Hispanic STEM students — these instances of being stereotyped are quite common. Consequently, these students experience a sort of racial fatigue. No matter what they do, they cannot shake the perception among certain White colleagues and collaborators that they don’t belong.

How It Feels to Be an Asian Student in an Elite Public School

January 30, 2022

Stuyvesant, Brooklyn Tech and other schools across the country are under pressure to end entrance exams. Students have complicated feelings about that. Liberal politicians, school leaders and organizers argue such schools are bastions of elitism and, because of low enrollment of Black and Latino students, functionally racist and segregated. Sixty-three percent of the city’s public school students are Black and Latino yet they account for just 15 percent of Brooklyn Tech’s population.

2022 Study - The Women's Power Gap at Elite Universities

January 25, 2022

The Women's Power Gap at Elite Universities: Scaling the Ivory Tower is the second in a series of two reports examining compensation and top leadership among the country’s 130 major research universities (R1 as defined by the Carnegie Classification). For updates on the Initiative and to learn more, visit WomensPowerGap.or

Happy Valley LaunchBox supports company serving underrepresented students

January 12, 2022

When Joel Sakyi first arrived at Penn State, he found himself far from home and in search of organizations and people to connect with. This yearning led him to join BLUEprint, a peer mentoring program focused on offering cultural, social, and academic support to students of color, specifically those who are first-year or change-of-campus students. His experience with BLUEprint inspired him to found Vybrnt, a social networking platform which launched in October 2020.

U.S. Racial Inequality May Be as Deadly as the Coronavirus

January 11, 2022

Black Americans experience a higher mortality rate every year than white Americans are experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, finds Elizabeth Wrigley-Field of the University of Minnesota.1 Her analysis focuses on death rates and compares the scale of this pandemic to racial inequality, which she calls “another U.S. catastrophe.” Using demographic models, Wrigley-Field estimates how many deaths of white Americans would be needed to raise the white age-adjusted mortality rate to the best-ever (lowest) Black age-adjusted rate. At least 400,000 excess deaths of white Americans—deaths above and beyond the number expected in a non-pandemic year—would be needed to reach the best mortality rate ever recorded for Black Americans, which occurred in 2014, she finds. Black Americans’ age-adjusted, confirmed COVID-19 deaths are more than 2.5 times higher than that of white Americans, she reports.2

W. B. Saul: A Historic Ag School With a Record Of Students’ Success

December 8, 2021

Walter B. Saul High School in Philadelphia is Pennsylvania’s largest high school of agricultural science. It’s located, surprisingly, in an urban and not rural setting, along Henry Avenue in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia. For eight decades, it has attracted and prepared students for agricultural jobs or post-secondary studies. In addition, today’s graduates also enter careers in hi-tech ag-related businesses. Saul students told me it takes a commitment just to attend classes there as many have to take two or three public transit buses daily for up to two hours to and from the 130-acre campus.

A White teacher taught White students about White privilege. It cost him his job.

December 6, 2021

Amid a growing furor over critical race theory, Matthew Hawn told his high school students in rural Kingsport, Tenn., that White privilege is ‘a fact’

The Carlisle Indian Industreial

November 12, 2021

In the latter half of the 1800s, the Indian conflicts (skirmishes, wars) in America were at an end. The vanquished Native Americas were herded to reservations. But the question emerged about what to do with the Indian children. The American government decided that Native American children should be reeducated and “Americanized.” They should be taught skills that would enable them to become productive citizens of society outside of the reservation. Thus, thousands of Native American children were separated from their parents and sent to special boarding schools to become educated and “Americanized.”

New Faculty Fellowship to Help Advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

November 2, 2021

A new fellowship in the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity aims to help faculty members develop as leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) while creating opportunities to make a positive impact at Penn State. The Equity Leadership Fellows Program, launched this past summer, is designed to recognize faculty members’ ongoing efforts to foster greater DEI across the University while helping faculty further develop their knowledge and expertise as leaders in fostering a more equitable and inclusive institution. Equity Leadership Fellows work alongside senior faculty mentors, collaborate on initiatives across the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, and have the opportunity to shadow senior-level DEI administrators and others whose portfolios include this area of emphasis.

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.

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.


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.