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Columns: What is "Making Diversity News"?Real-Life Stories
News clips from: WashingtonCaliforniaArizonaMichiganNew YorkVirginia


What is "Making Diversity News"?

"Making Diversity News" will be a regular feature of Diversity Digest. This section will showcase how diversity is making news on campuses and in communities around the nation. One goal is to highlight strong national support for engaging diversity as a resource for learning in higher education.

"Making Diversity News" will contain three sections: this column will highlight special opportunities to promote your diversity work; the middle section will feature quotable items from newspapers around the country; and the final column will feature personal experiences of academics dealing with the media.

If your institution is planning to promote or has already promoted a diversity related event or activity that others could benefit from hearing about, please let us know.

Also, send along interesting clips from your campus or local newspapers which demonstrate how diversity is being covered on your campus and in your local community, and we will try to feature it in an upcoming issue of Diversity Digest.

Visit our Diversity News Room on the World Wide Web for more stories and for ways to connect with others interested in diversity media relations.

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Real-Life Stories

Often times, the campus diversity stories covered by the media are those that emphasize negative incidents and problems surrounding diversity on campus. Such incidents rarely go without investigation, follow-up, and resolution. Unfortunately, media coverage about positive outcomes is not considered newsworthy. Below, Robert Corrigan, president of San Francisco State University, addresses this issue in an op-ed piece.

Something with significance happened at San Francisco State University. A mural of Malcolm X was dedicated in the University's Student Center Plaza.

If that sounds familiar, you may be remembering that two years ago, a student-commissioned mural depicting Malcolm X had to be removed after the artist refused to eliminate anti-Semitic symbols within it. News cameras and reporters followed every moment of that troubled week, and the story became a national one.

Last month, we saw the unveiling of a work of art that was celebrated in a new spirit. It reflects the determination of a great many people--students, faculty, administrators, and members of the community--to put aside pain and anger, and to find the sense of community and respect for each other that we must have to survive.

I recognize the media truism that "conflict is news." We had no conflict; hence, no news. But I contend that in a society still grappling with racism and other forms of divisiveness, our small story, our second mural, does rank as news.

And it is news we all need to hear. We need to restore our optimism and our faith in each other. That is why I wish the reporters, the cameras, the spotlight had communicated the joyous conclusion of the two-year saga of the Malcolm X mural.

Excerpted from "Good News, In a Turnabout, is No News" by Robert Corrigan, San Francisco Examiner, June 5, 1996

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News clips

University of Washington

"Your assumptions in your editorial 'Proposed Diversity Rule Strikes Out at UW' (April 8) that the study of cultural pluralism is academically suspect...are misinformed....Far from supporting a specific ideological perspective...faculty members are too varied by academic specialty, background, and perspective to be of one mind and too attentive to excellence to teach non-scholarly material....These courses have had to withstand standard departmental and college review processes in order to be listed in the catalog, another guarantee of quality."

Letter-to-the-editor by Betty Schmitz, Director, Curriculum Transformation Project, University of Washington, responding to an editorial about the University of Washington's proposed Cultural and Ethnic Diversity requirement. ("Study of Cultural Pluralism a Worthwhile Educational Goal," The Seattle Times, April 19, 1996)

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University of California

"Using affirmative action as the whipping boy is both dishonest and divisive. Its elimination will not by itself improve the bottom line of business or solve major societal problems."

Judy Rosener, a professor at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California at Irvine, challenging affirmative action opponents who blame the issue for economic and societal woes. ("Stop Using Affirmative Action As Whipping Boy for Society's Woes," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1996)

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Arizona State University

"We were a migrant family....We followed the crops.... When you live in a poor community like Guadalupe, you know ASU exists. But you also know that it was for other people. We went there to cut lawns or work in the cafeteria."

Lucy Orozco, 45, who along with her 23-year-old daughter Monica became the first mother-daughter team to graduate from the Hispanic Mother-Daughter program at Arizona State University. Both received degrees in education. ("Mom, Daughter Graduate ASU Together," Arizona Republic, May 29,1996)

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University of Michigan

"Affirmative action helps not just women and minorities, but all students."

University of Michigan President James Duderstadt in an opinion piece which cites studies showing that outreach to underrepresented students has led to an increase in the number of white students as well. Duderstadt emphasized that a diverse student body is important to providing students with a full educational experience. ("Affirmative Action," Detroit Free Press, May 1, 1996)

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Columbia University

"The real heirs (to Plessy) are conservatives who, echoing dominant opinion of a century ago, argue that intelligence is genetically determined, whites are 'civilizationally' superior to blacks, and government can do nothing to promote equality among its citizens."

Letter to the editor by Columbia University DeWitt Clinton Professor of History Eric Foner, in a powerful response to conservative Clint Bolick's assertion that affirmative action supporters are the heirs of Plessy. ("Who Are True Heirs of Our Racial Divisions?," New York Times, May 8, 1996)

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George Mason University

"What I tried to show in this book...is that the genius of America has been its ability to renew its essential spirit by admitting a constant infusion of different peoples who demand that the ideals and principles embodied in the Constitution be put into practice....The result has been to open America to great diversity, and colleges and universities are beginning to reflect this heterogeneity. It has not led to repression as (Allan) Bloom argued, but to the very opposite--a flowering of ideas and scholarly innovation unmatched in our history."

From a review of the new book, The Opening of the American Mind, by Professor Lawrence Levine, George Mason University, MacArthur fellow and former president of the Organization of American Historians, "Curriculum and Culture: New Round Is Opened In a Scholarly Fistfight," New York Times, August 21, 1996

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