Diversity & Democracy: Civic Learning for Shared Futures
Diversity Innovations Institutional Leadership and Commitment
Diversity Digest Volume 7, Numbers 1 & 2

Diversity Digest
Volume 7, Numbers 1 & 2
(July 2003)

Download our print issue (PDF)
Kellogg Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good: Contributing to the Practice of Democracy
Tribal Colleges and Universities: Guided by Tribal Values
Commitment to Diversity in Institutional Mission Statements
Valuing Equity: Recognizing the Rights of the LGBT Community
Creating Border Crossings: Dickinson College at Home and Abroad
Prejudice Across America: A Nationwide Trek
The Accountability Side of Diversity
Percent Plans: How Successful Are They?
Campus Life for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People
Multimedia, Books and Conferences
The E Pluribus Unum Project


The state of Wisconsin held a rally on October 28, 2002, to commemorate thirty years of Title IX Education Amendments of 1972. The ceremony in Wisconsin included showing a new photography exhibit that features the accomplishments of women in education. University of Wisconsin System President Katharine Lyall participated in the celebration and said of Title IX: "Women are much better off for it and are flourishing as a result. In the UW System, it has been a large part of the reason our student body is now over fifty percent women and they can go into the fields of medicine and law. Enrollment used to be one-third female when Title IX went into effect. Now it's 55 percent."
"Rally Celebrates Thirty Years of Title IX," by Brenda Ingersoll, Wisconsin State Journal, October 29, 2002

The 2001-2002 study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) found that an increasing number of college professors are self-identifying themselves as "liberal" or "far left" politically. The 2001-2002 survey found that the percentage of faculty identifying themselves as politically "conservative" has held steady since 1989 at 18 percent. The percentage of faculty identifying themselves as "middle of the road" politically decreased from 40 percent in 1989 to 34 percent, and the percentage of faculty self-identifying as "liberal" politically increased from 42 percent in 1989 to 48 percent. The shift was especially prominent among women faculty, 54 percent of whom identified as "liberal" compared to only 45 percent in 1989. Ninety-one percent of faculty respondents indicated that a diverse student body enhances the educational experience of students. Statistics were compiled from the responses of 32,840 full-time undergraduate faculty at 358 universities. Information is available on the HERI web site: http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/heri.html
"Survey Says Faculty Leaning ‘Far Left,‘" by Andrew Whelan, The California Aggie, October 30, 2002

State Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore wants the Virginia state legislature to pass a law barring illegal immigrants from attending public colleges in Virginia. Officials at Northern Virginia Community College, an institution located just outside of Washington, D.C., that serves 38,000 students, say that Kilgore's proposal conflicts with the university's mission to serve the local community. Kilgore's office states that it is concerned with illegal immigrants taking the admission spots of legal state residents as well as a possible terror threat by allowing illegal immigrants to receive higher education in the States. But Max L. Bassett, vice president for academic and student services counters, "As long as we are within the law, we're not really considering closing our doors to people who need us." Ultimately, Northern Virginia Community College complied with Kilgore's request to charge illegal immigrants the out-of-state tuition rate rather than the in-state tuition rate, even though many of the students have lived in the community for years.
"Virginia Weighs Banning Illegal iImmigrants from State Colleges," by Jamilah Evelyn, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 10, 2003

According to a report published by The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Duke University earn high marks on integrating black students and faculty. The study ranked the application and admittance rate for black students at twenty-five of the nation's highest ranked universities and liberal arts colleges. In the university category, University of North Carolina ranked number one in the percentage of black freshman students attending with 12.5 percent, while Duke University ranked number three in the report with 10.4 percent of the freshman class composed of African-American students.
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, "The Progress of Black Student Enrollments at the Nation's Highest-Ranked Colleges and Universities," www.jbhe.com/, November 15, 2002

January 28, 2003 marked forty years of racial integration at Clemson University in South Carolina. When Clemson admitted black students in 1963, it became South Carolina's first public institution to integrate. But today Clemson continues to struggle in its efforts to build a diverse student body. At the University of South Carolina black students make up 16 percent of the student body, while at Clemson, African-American students comprise between 6 and 8 percent of the student body. Approximately 30 percent of South Carolina's population is black. While Clemson has several minority recruitment and outreach activities, some criticize the institution's failure to devote more resources to building a diverse campus population.
"Clemson struggles to diversify students," by Jeff Stensland, The Myrtle Beach Sun-News, January 28, 2003


If you want to tell a reporter something, but don't want to be quoted, tell the reporter: "The following is OFF THE RECORD." Make sure that the reporter explicitly agrees when you are speaking off the record. When you are done speaking off the record, tell the reporter that "we are now talking ON THE RECORD again."

Be aware, however, that off the record information may still wind up in the article, if the reporter can find another source to say the information on the record. Good reporters know how to get another source to confirm information, especially if it makes a good story. They may even tell the other source that you told them the information. All "off the record" means is that the information will not be attributed to you. When you speak off the record, you are giving the reporter background information for their story. Don't tell the reporter idle gossip.

If you don't want something to appear in print, don't tell it to them, even off the record. Be very careful with on and off the record. With established publications, if you say "the following is off the record" they tend to respect that. But reporters do sometimes make mistakes. With lesser publications, just don't tell them off the record information.

If you get sandbagged, don't become defensive. If you do, you'll seem like you're either whining or covering up. Definitely don't overreact. Either refer them to someone else for the answer (and call that person to give them a heads up), or answer the question with a question. It takes a lot of skill to put the proper spin on an answer, so don't try until you have more experience. If you have to answer, don't talk to the specifics of the challenge, but the intent behind them. For example, state that privacy rules prevent you from discussing student records, and describe the general procedures you follow in resolving problems. Changing the topic can backfire on you. The right way to change the topic is to toot your own horn on a related subject.

If you don't want to answer a question, answer simply "no comment." If you say that you don't want to answer in too many words, you're giving the reporter something they can excerpt.

General Tips

  • Spell out all names when talking to a reporter. Not only will this help ensure your name is spelled correctly, but it increases the likelihood that they'll quote you.
  • Don't be long-winded. Try to find the shortest possible way of answering the question. Sound bites are more likely to be quoted than detailed explanations because they are easier to remember, so try to be concise. Try to say what you need to say in thirty seconds.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Think before you talk. Don't be so eager for the interview that you launch into an explanation without gathering your thoughts together.
  • If being interviewed for TV, know in advance what you're going to do with your hands. Don't fidget. Don't cross your arms, as this appears confrontational. If standing, keep your hands at your side.
  • Be yourself. Don't assume a persona--you'll come across as artificial or uptight. Use personal pronouns and don't use the passive voice.

Excerpted from FinAid! the smart guide to Financial Aid. Copyright © 1994-2000 by FinAid Page, LLC. All rights reserved.

Questions, comments, and suggestions regarding Diversity & Democracy should be directed to Kathryn Peltier Campbell at campbell@aacu.org.
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