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Joy Reid Named 2021 Hearst Visiting Professor at Howard University

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Howard University has announced Joy Reid as a visiting journalism professor starting in 2021. She will be joining the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film in the Cathy Hughes School of Communications this coming Spring.

What We Know:

  • Last week, Howard University announced that MSNBC host Joy Reid would be teaching a class as a Hearst Visiting Professor next year despite her controversial past. She will be teaching a “master class” of junior and senior journalism students titled “Covering Race, Gender & Politics in the Digital Age.” According to the university, it will introduce students to concepts of political media coverage, focused on issues of race and gender, and discuss how those topics land in today’s increasingly ideologically siloed digitally-influenced newsroom. The topics include digital disinformation and Black voters and racial roots of journalistic objectivity vs. fairness.

“Joy Reid is a great addition to our faculty as Hearst Visiting Professor in Spring 2021, Hearst Visiting Professor in Spring 2021,” Cathy Hughes School of Communications Dean Grace Lawson-Borders said in a statement.

  • While MSNBC has handed Reid a promotion in the form of Chris Matthews’ old timeslot, her critics have not been as forgiving over her infamous hacking controversy. In December 2017, Mediaite discovered a trove of homophobic articles written by Reid between 2007 and 2009 on a political blog called The Reid Report. At the time, Reid issued an apology, calling her remarks “insensitive, tone-deaf, and dumb” and vowed to “do better” going forward.
  • According to Fox News, Mediaite found even more homophobic articles in April 2018, Reid claimed that an “unknown, external party accessed and manipulated material” on her old blog and “fabricated” the offensive entries and that she was working with a “cyber-security expert” and “notified federal law enforcement officials.”
  • Reid addressed the controversy the following week on her show. Although she did offer an apology, she did not take ownership of her blog posts as she did in her first apology, and Reid says those hateful comments are completely alien to her, and she did not write them. “I genuinely do not believe I wrote those hateful things because they are completely alien to me.”
  • According to a report from Nielson Media Research, Joy Reid is the host of the MSNBC show The ReidOut. It debuted in July at number one. The first episode featured Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden, and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Reid earned the second-highest rating ever for any regularly scheduled 7 p.m. program on MSNBC.

Upper-level students studying journalism may join her course for Spring 2021. No word has been released as to whether or not this course will be online or in person.

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Alex Haynes is Editor-At-Large/NYC Editor at Urban Newsroom, Executive Editor at UNR's Black Alerts and the host of Boss Mornings and Unmuted Nation. Alex joined Urban Newsroom in 2010 and contributes regular op-ed and editorial pieces while advising the columnist and contributing staff.

Crime

Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack

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Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.

What We Know:

  • Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
  • Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
  • A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack.  Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.

Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.

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Education

Howard University installs Chadwick Boseman’s name on College of Fine Arts building

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The “Black Panther” star is seen as an “icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation,” the university said.

What We Know:

“Yesterday, the letters were installed over the now official Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts,” the school said in a tweet Friday. “An icon in his own right who has left an immeasurable legacy for the next generation. Thank you Mr. Boseman.”

  • Howard University first announced in May that it would rename its performing and visual arts school after the ‘Black Panther’ star who also happens to be an alumnus of the school.
  • Boseman graduated from Howard in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in directing. During his time at the school, Boseman led a student protest against the absorption of the College of Fine Arts into the larger College of Arts & Sciences, according to the university.

In 2018, the year Boseman rocketed to international fame as King T’Challa in the Marvel cinematic universe, the university announced that its performing and visual arts school would return to its independent status.

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Education

Education Department Will Erase $5.8 Billion in Loans For Borrowers With Disabilities

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The Department of Education (DOE) announced it would eliminate the outstanding loans of over 32,000 borrowers with significant, permanent disabilities. It will also remove barriers that block future students from qualifying for this relief.

What We Know:

  • The DOE’s declaration erases approximately $5.8 million in debt. In addition, NPR writes that it symbolizes a “significant step” toward improving a “troubled debt relief program meant to help borrowers with disabilities.” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed this statement when the Education Department revealed its decision, stating it would remove a major barrier for disabled students.

“Today’s action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Cardona said.

  • Despite the program’s intention to wipe student loans of those who cannot work due to disabilities, those who qualified for the program needed to apply for relief. Under the new plan, students will obtain automatic relief when identified through a data match with the Social Security Administration. The next match will take place in September.
  • In addition, the Department of Education said it would propose to eliminate the three-year income monitoring period. Officials will stop sending requests to borrowers for income information during the aforementioned years. Furthermore, the DOE will consider removing it entirely during the upcoming negotiated rule-making.
  • Disabled students and advocates believe this will bring change to the program. Persis Yu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said the vote is “long overdue.” However, Yu hopes the Education Department will review the eligibility criteria to determine when someone holds a disability discharge.

Yu added that Social Security’s match does not identify some qualified borrowers.

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