"UC Needs More Diverse Student Body"

UC Needs More Diverse Student Body, Report Says
September 20, 2007
Bill Lindelof, The Sacramento Bee

The University of California needs to work harder to attract more minority students and faculty members, according to a report presented to UC regents Wednesday.

Even though Latino, African American and American Indian students account for a growing portion of California’s high school graduates, they remain a small percentage of the UC system’s freshman class.

A committee of UC regents unanimously endorsed the report Wednesday during the first day of their meeting on the UC Davis campus. About 50 students protested outside, saying the report was too general and vague.

“I endorse this report in its entirety,” said Regent Eddie Island, echoing the comments of many of his fellow board members.

The report, which was prepared by a study group on university diversity, says the University of California should work harder to increase transfer admissions of underrepresented students — African American, Latino and American Indian — and that the current method of determining freshman admission should be analyzed.

The report also called for yearly reports to the regents by the president of the university system on the status of diversity.

UC President Robert Dynes said more specifics on what can be done to create a more diverse student body are contained in four committee reports to come in the next several weeks.

“Each of them will have very explicit recommendations on what has to be done next, and we will have to do it,” said Dynes.

In addition to a diverse student body, Dynes also said it is important to have diverse faculty.

“We have to have faculty that looks like the students that are going to want to come to the University of California,” he said.

Provost and Executive Vice President Rory Hume said that work must be done to better prepare students for the rigor of university work before they apply to college.

Regents heard from students during the meeting and in protest on the steps of the Mondavi Center where a rally was organized by the University of California Student Association.

UC Santa Barbara student Justin Reyes, who drove to Davis to protest, said during an interview that he was dissatisfied with the report.

“The report is just common sense,” he said. “These are things we have been saying for so long. I don’t feel that the regents should just say there is a crisis and leave it at that.”

Reyes said that he would like to see less emphasis placed on SAT scores in determining who gets into UC.

“In an ideal world, I would like to see them eliminated, but I realize that would require a lot of restructuring of the education system,” he said.

He said entrance exams are not a good barometer of how well a student will do in the UC system because admissions tests are biased and racist.

He also feels that some students lack enough access to A-G curriculum, the four-year sequence of high school courses that prepare students for college. The core classes include English, math, history science and foreign languages.

In July 2006, the university system decided to find out how the system was serving an increasingly diverse state.

The report was prepared to study the long-term impact of Proposition 209, a 1996 initiative banning preferences in state hiring, contracting and education.

The report found that although there are pockets of success, UC has not kept pace with a changing state. At the undergraduate level, advances in the 1980s and early 1990s have reversed direction.

The numbers of underrepresented faculty members on each campus are low, the report said. Women were also not represented in sufficient numbers in some cases.

In an interview outside the meeting, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Los Angeles Democrat who also serves as an ex-officio regent, pointed to outreach actions taken by Charles B. Reed, chancellor of the California State University, as a good way to increase student diversity.

He said Reed visits churches and is “proactive at high schools and junior high schools to spread the word to students in the inner cities that they need to reach the goal of attending the university.”

He also said private universities are making inroads in the African American and Latino communities to recruit promising students.

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"UC Needs More Diverse Student Body"

University of Rhode Island Senate Admonishes College Republicans for "White Heterosexual American Male" Scholarship

Unidentified URI College Republicans and “White Heterosexual American Male” Scholarship Team Members (from URI CR site)

Senate punishes College Republicans for fraudulent WHAM scholarship ad

by Andy Blais

03/15/07 – The University of Rhode Island Student Senate denied the appeal of the College Republicans over a controversial scholarship at last night’s meeting.

The senate, along with College Republican Chairman Ryan Bilodeau, debated whether the “White Heterosexual American Male” scholarship violated the senate bylaws, which prohibit discrimination by any member group. However, the club never granted the scholarship to an applicant.

The Student Organization Advisory and Review Committee, chaired by Matt Yates, handed two punishments to the group. The first required the College Republicans to write a letter of apology to be printed in the Cigar.

The second requires the student group to have all of its activities approved by SOARC until February 2008.

The senate debated whether the scholarship, sponsored by the College Republicans, was protected by free speech or if it was in direct violation of the senate’s bylaws.

“Nowhere at that time was there any mention of it being political satire,” Yates said, referencing the first meeting his committee had with the College Republicans.

The senate also discussed the legality of false advertising and if the College Republicans had violated the law.

“The First Amendment does not in any way protect a group from committing fraud,” senator Jesse Whitsitt-Lynch said.

The senate also questioned the College Republicans if it had known it would never distribute the scholarship. Bilodeau said that the group knew from the beginning that it would not be handing out the scholarship.

Bilodeau agreed with the senate that he and his group were “ambiguous” in their advertisement, but stopped short of calling the advertisements a mistake.

He also didn’t agree with the letter of apology SOARC wanted the College Republicans to write. He claimed it was against the First Amendment, which grants free speech.

“We are sorry we are racist, bigot, homophobes, that’s basically what we’re asked to write forced speech is illegal,” Bilodeau told the senate.

In the end, however, the senate disagreed with Bilodeau. It voted by a two-thirds majority to uphold the punishment prescribed by SOARC.

The issue started in November during the University of Rhode Island College Republicans “Coming out Conservative” Week. During the week, it offered the WHAM scholarship to students willing to apply in the Memorial Union.

The College Republicans said the scholarship was meant to point out its disagreement with affirmative action.

On Nov. 29, the Cigar published a letter to the editor by Nicole Gunderson, who asked the senate to investigate the College Republicans. Gunderson accused the group of not following the student senate’s bylaws.

SOARC began hearings Feb. 5 that were held twice for both the committee and College Republicans to hear both sides and investigate the issue.

After SOARC made a decision on Feb. 19, the College Republicans appealed to the senate moderator, Vice President Rosie Mean, and was heard last night in front of the full senate.

University of Rhode Island Senate Admonishes College Republicans for "White Heterosexual American Male" Scholarship

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants

Los Angeles Times, L.A. charter school sues radio station. Academia Semillas del Pueblo claims a talk-show host made slanderous remarks that led to security risks.

By Tami Abdollah and Howard Blume, Times Staff Writers
April 19, 2007

A year-long feud between a talk radio personality and an L.A. charter school is ending up in an unusual court case.

School administrators filed a lawsuit this week against KABC-AM (790) and Doug McIntyre, alleging the host of “McIntyre in the Morning” targeted the school in a slanderous, racially motivated campaign last summer that resulted in a bomb threat to the school and ongoing security risks.

Academia Semillas del Pueblo and Marcos Aguilar, the El Sereno school’s co-director, claim McIntyre “targeted the school for destruction because the children were Latino, the teachers were Latino, the principal director was Latino,” according to the suit.

About 92% of the school’s 327 students are Latino.

The school was founded in 2002 with the mission of “providing urban children of immigrant families an excellent education founded upon native and maternal languages, cultural values and global realities,” with teaching primarily in Spanish.

It became a focus of controversy last year when McIntyre accused the school of pursuing a racist, separatist and dangerously revolutionary agenda. The allegations were looked into by Los Angeles Unified School District officials. They found nothing politically worrisome, but they did have serious concerns about the school’s low test scores, which were a secondary focus for McIntyre.

The conflict between KABC and the school first made headlines last year.

Last June, a man tried to run down a KABC radio reporter who was outside the campus interviewing parents. The suspect was arrested on assault charges. School backers insist the incident had nothing to do with them.

KABC spokesman Steve Sheldon said the station would not comment on the lawsuit.

McIntyre has worked for KABC for about five years. His morning talk show, which is from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m., has been on the air for roughly two years and is advertised as offering a “balanced look at the day’s hot topics with a healthy dose of humor that keeps listeners coming back for more.”

Talk radio hosts have long taken advantage of 1st Amendment free speech protections that give them broad latitude. The suit alleges, however, that McIntyre is guilty of civil rights violations for inciting others to harm the school and its students, as well as slander.

According to the court filing, McIntyre made a number of false statements, including: “His [Aguilar’s] job is to keep his school, his madrasa school, open so they can train the next generation of Aztec revolutionaries. Again, I want to make sure that we emphasize this: This school should close.”

The lawsuit also quotes McIntyre as allegedly saying: “Aztecs butchered and ate Spanish invaders. I wonder if they’re teaching that at ASDP.”

KABC would neither confirm nor deny whether McIntyre made those statements.

As a result of McIntyre’s comments, the school has had to hire security guards, adding tens of thousands of dollars to its operating costs, Aguilar said.

The lawsuit follows the firing of radio host Don Imus last week over a racist and sexist remark, which set off a large-scale debate over whether some talk-show hosts go too far.

“Shock jocks” are not new, said Marty Kaplan of USC’s Annenberg School for Communication. “The more they could make your jaw drop … the more their ratings went up — it has since become a standard genre.”

L.A.’s Academia Semillas del Pueblo School Attacked by Radio Rants

An Exhausted Gay American

From John at An Exhausted Gay American, “This weekend KETV Omaha has provided live coverage of the ‘Love Won Out,’ Focus on the Family conference intended to ‘curb homosexuality’ and promote ‘the truth that change is possible for those who experience same-sex attractions.’ While this festival of self-loathing and monstrous bigotry plays out, Don Imus is fired for making a horribly tasteless and grossly inappropriate joke about a group of black women. But who cares about a bunch of fags? Obviously not any of our prominent civil rights crusaders” […]

An Exhausted Gay American

Open Point Letter to the Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights

The dehumanizing legacy of discrimination is rampant and any reasonable individual who heard what was said by Don Imus has to be reminded about how much more we need to do to untangle racism and homophobia from the institutions that perpetuate it and continue to give it a place on the national table. The Scarlet Knights have a unique opportunity today to do just that: to move beyond demagoguery and turn the conversation to the importance of changing entrenched ignorance into positive change born out of reflective thought. But before that can happen, the Scarlet Knights need to be armed with a clear understanding of the importance of their role in moving the conversation forward.

I’ve elsewhere noted how there is a “tiered spectrum” of allies and opponents in the battle against racism and discrimination. The allies don’t need to be convinced about the importance of achieving equality; they already know its foundational importance in democratic systems. The racists will likely never be convinced; their world is small, closing in, and imploding inward. It is only the ignorant, through convenience or stupidity, who can be moved — in all senses of the word — in the direction of reason. So to the Scarlet Knights I proffer this:

First, it is important to recognize all the important voices that have emerged in support of your team, your dignity, and your great accomplishments. These voices know racism and discrimination and they are to be commended for supporting you and letting you know they stand in solidarity.

Second, there are hearts too soiled by ignorance and arrogance to be reasoned with. The arc of the moral universe will prove them wrong and we should all take great comfort in that. But they stand outside of reason, and will never feel your pain as much as revel in it.

Third, there are the truly ignorant (in the most generous sense of term) who either don’t know about racism and discrimination because they’ve been too sheltered or because they love the world they’ve built so much that they keep this most persistent and inconvenient truth out of immediate sight. They may be white, black, Asian, Latino, but what they have in common is a nagging moral compass that inconveniently but incontrovertibly points toward justice.

In the influential political blog, Eschaton, the writer Atrios recently noted that, “Paula Begala [CNNs political analyst and democratic strategist] just told me that the Rutgers basketball team could turn themselves into heroes by forgiving Don Imus.” Though I turn to neither for my opinions, the observation left me wondering about the political future of the Scarlet Knights’ response to Don Imus’ pernicious ignorance. What would the record say if the team “forgave” him? If they did not? In the nationally tiered spectrum of lived reactions to racism and discrimination, who will be better able to see the light of reason?

Open Point Letter to the Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights

First Integrated Prom for Turner County High School in Georgia

For the first time in their school’s history, students at Turner County High School in Georgia will have an integrated prom. The town’s auditorium will serve as the location for the April 21 event where — I will say it again — for the first time, and regardless of race, all students will be invited.

And, yes, this is 2007 and, yes, it’s been tried before in Georgia. In 2003, Taylor County High School in Butler, Georgia, rallied for inclusion and had their first integrated prom. Some parents, outraged at the prospect of Blacks and whites commingling, funded a separate prom for their children.

As is plainly evident to scores of nationals, some American institutions, municipalities, and boards of education, etc., continue to think, feel, and act as if race were a biological truism. This is not, as some have claimed, loving race and identity at the expense equality. It is simply 2007. And counting…

First Integrated Prom for Turner County High School in Georgia

The Twilight of Affirmative Action or the Trappings of the WSJ’s Rhetorical Storehouse of Editorials?

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor spoke at Washington and Lee University recently in a symposium honoring her friend Justice Lewis Powell. Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial about the event (which I link below) continues the paper’s characteristic investment in less than rigorous coverage of diversity related issues which is disappointing when one considers its cogent coverage of economics and business. But then again, perhaps national economics and business demands a myopic understanding of race and diversity in order to allow the neoliberal logic of labor dispersal, outsourcing, and capital accumulation to sustain its hegemony in the political sphere.

Justice O’Connor, who upheld the 2003 University of Michigan’s Law School’s right to use race in its admission decisions, famously noted that “The court expects that 25 years from now the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” Apropos of Justice O’Connor’s statement, and its reiteration in her own talk at Washington and Lee, the WSJ piece quoted another symposium attendee, UCLA law professor Richard Sander, who countered Justice O’Connor’s 2003 preemptive and cautionary assertion. The paper quotes Sander as saying that “minority law students in California who attend law schools at which their academic credentials do not match the credentials of other students are less likely to pass the bar exam than they would have been if they had attended less prestigious law schools where their academic credentials would have been closer to the norm.” If this is so, then the logic at hand assumes that Blacks and Latinos should not occupy the spaces that more meritorious candidates should occupy, thereby forcing them to take the bar exam over again but this time without the benefit of institutional pedigree. Fascinating logic. It’s as if all Latinos self identify as such, and as if all “coloreds” better make way for better, brighter minds of presumably lighter stripes.

I suppose it’s alright for those better and brighter minds of privileged institutional and class pedigree, like the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., to be allowed to take the bar exam over and over again as John John infamously did on more than a few occasions. After all, the assertion allows the writer or writers — with rhetorical expediency the piece cites no author save the auspices of the WSJ — to not only dismiss Affirmative Action but to claim that its prerogatives have been injurious to equality. What the piece doesn’t note, of course, is that the civil rights act of 1964, which established that racial discrimination of any kind is illegal, meant to secure the non-discriminatory treatment of all citizens in all settings; education included. This meant, of course, equality of schooling. Now that we see the erosion of Affirmative Action’s initial gains as the result of a seemingly inclusive notion of “equality” we are left with racism’s legacy adorned anew in the trappings of a cynical “equality for all.” Indeed, nowhere in the piece does anyone lament the practice of legacy admissions in education. These “specially protected” spots for the likes of our own President Bush (Yale Class of 1968) never seem to factor in the absolutist logic of the new and now unabashedly literalist conception of “equality for all.”

If equality for all were truly the concern of the WSJ then its beneficiaries should logically be held accountable for their inability to create more equitable business environments. The type of business environments that creates equal educational opportunities for a better prepared business force and citizenry well before professional school. But that can’t happen when editorials from one of the nation’s most prestiges papers can’t produce an author or authors for it’s concerned piece on “equality for all” and the legacy of Affirmative Action. The WSJ’s seemingly reasoned editorial on the “twilight of Affirmative Action” is, through the expediency of authorial metonymy and its purported martyrs, a cheap rhetorical conceit.

Getting Beyond Race
Justice O’Connor ponders the twilight of affirmative action.

Indeed, the video below is emblematic of the bread and circuses related to the constant death-blows being inflicted on diversity as a concept and as a practice. The question is: How can we rise to the occasion without legitimating the banter that passes for engaged and honest cultural critique?

The Twilight of Affirmative Action or the Trappings of the WSJ’s Rhetorical Storehouse of Editorials?

The Trouble with Diversity

For anyone working on the politics of race of late one thing is clear: diversity is being attacked as both a concept and a practice. Just outside Philadelphia, in the town of Bensalem, there is an emerging uproar over the recruitment of Latino and Black officers to the police force because, it is claimed, such a practice is a thinly veiled guise for racism and discrimination. The claim comes at the heels of the township’s hiring of a firm to attract and recruit Latino and Black officers. According to a recent editorial, “this use of public money advances racial discrimination under the polite guise of diversity.” The piece goes on to note that the police force is comprised of of 102 officers. Of these, one is Black and the other is Latino. Hmm? Two “diverse” officers in a police force of 102? In a county where the racial demographic does not bear out the paucity of racial and ethnic diversity in the force, it never occurs to the writer that the combined Black and Latino population of almost 16% in Buck’s county has a history. A history that makes it possible to see “diversity” as a racist practice.

I’ve just finished reading Walter Benn Michaels’ The Trouble with Diversity and will write a post on it soon.

The Trouble with Diversity