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Undergraduates at Brown Vote for University to Offer Reparations

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Last week, undergraduateat Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of the institution offering reparations to descendants of slaves who were affiliated with the school and its founders. 

What We Know:

  • During an annual election, over 2,000 undergraduate students cast a ballot on two referendum questions that asked whether the school should make “all possible efforts to identify the descendants of enslaved Africans who were entangled with and/or afflicted by the University and Brown family and their associates,” and whether or not Brown should provide reparations to thdescendants of slaves. According to NBC, both questions received an approval rate above 80%. 
  • According to the Undergraduate Council, the students voted to include reparations through multiple channels, including preferential admission for descendants of enslaved people, direct payments to descendants, and targeted investments in Black communities. 
  • The university examined its historical ties to slavery back in 2006, admitting to owning slaves but not becoming a major slave trader. A spokesperson of the Ivy League school, Brian Clark, said in a statement: “Confronting questions of reparations and institutional reckoning with connections to the transatlantic slave trade has a deep history at Brown. The University interrogated this issue as a full community […], and Brown committed to a series of actions whose impact persists in our education, research, engagement with historically underrepresented groups, and ongoing work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. The current work of Brown’s Task Force on Anti-Black Racism will make recommendations on more Brown can do to address the legacy of slavery.”  
  • Brown is not the first college to issue reparations to the descendants of slaves. The university follows Georgetown University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Chicago in their efforts to execute reparative justice.

It has not been announced when these changes will take effect.

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Education

Michael Jordan Donates $1 Million to Morehouse College, Allocated to Enrich the School’s Journalism and Sports Program

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Michael Jordan and Nike’s Jordan Brand’s donation will enrich Morehouse College’s Journalism and Sports Program founded by actor and director Spike Lee and late sports columnist Ralph Wiley.

What We Know:

  • The contribution comes from Jordan and Jordan Brand’s Black Community Commitment, which grants monetary gifts to associations that preserve Black culture. Previously, the Black Community Commitment assisted the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Ida B. Wells Society.

 “We want to help people understand the truth of our past and help tell the stories that will shape our future,” said Jordan about the endowment.

  • Morehouse College wrote in a news release that the donation would make scholarships, technology, and educational programming more available to students. Monique Dozier, Morehouse’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, expressed gratitude for the charity. Dozier declared the funds would ensure “equity, balance, and truth in the way sports stories are framed and the way the Black experience is contextualized within American history.”
  • The program, which Morehouse provides as a minor, focuses on the absence of Black leadership in sports journalism and athletics. So far, more than 80 students have added Journalism and Sports to their undergraduate studies.
  • Lee and Wiley came up with the idea after discussing the fact that sports journalism lacks minority reporters, despite many athletes being people of color. This motivated the two friends to find a way to fix this disparity. Eventually, officials from Lee’s alma mater entered the discussion, and they added a Journalism and Sports concentration to Morehouse’s curriculum in 2007. After some time, the university upgraded it to a minor.
  • Morehouse prepares their pupils with four core courses on reporting, interviewing, ethical fundamentals, online writing, social media, and sports coverage while using photography and videography as storytelling tools. Undergraduates may also partake in internships and register in elective courses that teach them topics such as African-American politics, history, psychology, and economics.

Moreover, Lee has stated that Jordan’s donation will create “a rich legacy of storytellers” to influence the representation of Black people on television and Hollywood. “We’ve got to tell our story,” Lee declared.

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Crime

The Bodies of 215 Children Discovered at Former Canadian School for Indigenous People

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Canadian Press/Rex/Shutterstock

Using ground-penetrating radar, officials were able to identify a mass gravesite with 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, Canada.

What We Know:

  • The Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, was established by the Roman Catholic Church in 1890 and closed in 1978. Residential schools were a part of a nationwide Canadian initiative to assimilate indigenous children forcibly. Children between the ages of 4 and 15 were taken from their families and prohibited to practice any aspect of native culture.
  • The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people announced the discovery. Chief Rosanne Casimir says some of the victims were as young as three years old. The causes and timing of their deaths are unknown.
  • Kamloops was one of the largest Residential Schools in Canada. In total, 150,000 children attended the institution. Former students recall unsanitary conditions and exposure to numerous contagious diseases.
  • The Truth and Reconciliation Commission calculates a minimum of 3,201 residential school deaths. This number is uncertain because of unaccounted deaths and destroyed files. In the case of Kamloops, a local museum archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum to find a paper trail documenting the victims.

Mass graves at residential schools have long been an urban legend in indigenous communities across Canada. This discovery at Kamloops proves these suspicions to be true. “This is the reality of the genocide that was, and is, inflicted upon us as Indigenous peoples by the colonial state. Today we honor the lives of those children and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace,” said Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs.

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Education

Colorado Bans Legacy College Admissions

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Colorado’s public colleges will no longer contain a legacy section in their applications. It is the first state to enact such a ban.

What We Know:

  • Gov. Jared Polis signed this into effect on Tuesday. Alongside this, Polis also removed public colleges’ requirements that a first-year student must submit their SAT or ACT scores as part of their application. The new bill makes sending test results an option.
  • Polis passed these bills, so higher education access becomes more equitable. According to the legislation, 67% of middle-to-high-income students and 63% of white ones go straight to university from high school, but only 47% of low-income students and 42% of Latino pupils achieve the same goal.
  • Polis stated legacy admissions severely block first-generation college students, people of color, and illegal immigrants from receiving an education.

“Just because your parent or grandparent went to one of our colleges in Colorado, that doesn’t mean that you automatically get in… Because that could take the spot of somebody who is more worthy of that spot,” Polis said.

  • Richard Kahlenberg, director of K–12 equity and senior fellow at The Century Foundation, says this ban denies “affirmative action for the rich”.
  • Although Colorado became the first state to install these prohibitions, several universities and states already enacted similar measures. For example, Texas A&M University declared in 2004 they would end legacy admissions. Johns Hopkins University also terminated their requirement in 2020.
  • In 2019, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed requirements into law that order institutions to disclose if they give preferential admissions to donor or alumni-related applicants. Earlier this month, Washington also declared their public universities would no longer look at test scores when deciding on admitting a student.

With the establishment of these new educational rules, obtaining a college degree will become much easier for students across all walks of life.

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