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Columns: Is This Your First Issue of Diversity Digest?
Smith College Students Launch Ad Campaign in Support of Diversity
News clips from: CaliforniaArizonaMassachusettsVirginiaNorth Carolina

Making Diversity News

Is This Your First Issue of Diversity Digest?

AAC&U has been publishing Diversity Digest since 1996 as part of a national communications initiative called Diversity Works, supported by grants from the Ford Foundation to AAC&U and the University of Maryland. AAC&U has just received additional funding to extend and expand the distribution of this quarterly newsletter.

Diversity Works provides resources, including Diversity Digest and DiversityWeb, to colleges and universities that view diversity as a compelling educational priority and institutional commitment, important for every campus, every learner, and the wider society.

Diversity Digest provides up-to-date information about diversity in higher education and illuminates the scope, accomplishments, and educational value of the campus diversity movement. Each issue features articles on such topics as curriculum transformation, student experience, faculty involvement, institutional leadership and commitment, and campus-community connections. In each issue, Diversity Digest provides tips, tools, and articles to help readers effectively articulate and communicate the educational value and success of their local diversity initiatives.

Diversity Digest is distributed in print to about 14,000 individuals at over 3,000 colleges and universities across the United States. All current and back issues are available in a World Wide Web version (www.diversityweb.org).

We welcome you to the newsletter and encourage you to pass along this copy to others who might be interested in these issues on your campus. We also welcome suggestions for potential stories and initiatives on your campus from which others might learn.

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Smith College Students Launch Ad Campaign in Support of Diversity

Borrowing tactics from organized groups that oppose diversity in higher education, a group of Smith students has launched an ad campaign in support of diversity in higher education. The first advertisement appeared in the Springfield Union-News.

Students collected more than 1,000 signatures of Smith students on a petition that is included in the advertisement. Students hope to draw attention to the necessity of diversity to academic institutions, says Amy Brown, a first-year student at Smith from New Haven, CT. "The ad will demonstrate how important it is to students that we have a diverse campus."

The petition states that "As students at Smith College, we declare our support for maintaining and increasing diversity in college admissions. In our experience, policies that expand racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity in higher education are essential in promoting equal access to education, improving the quality of education for all students, and contributing to equality of opportunity in the society at large."

Georgianna Goodman, a junior from Queens, NY makes the point that "As students, we are the ones personally affected by the attempts to decrease diversity."

Launched entirely by students, this campaign is just the beginning. Students say they "are actively searching for more funding to place more ads in more papers...[they] hope to get [their] message across in as many places as possible."

These students believe strongly that a diverse campus prepares them for a diverse world. "Diversity in college allows students to have contact with people from all backgrounds that enhances not only their understanding of the world and individuals' experiences, but also themselves and where they come from," says Missy Longshore, a Smith senior from Spokane, WA.

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Media Watch
News Clips


"If the campus is predominantly white and Asian...the kind of education those students are going to receive is going to be different, and I would argue, it would be deficient." UC-Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl commenting on the potential negative effects on the educational experience of all students of Proposition 209. ("The Class of Prop. 209," The New York Times Magazine, 2 May 1999).

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"When I entered law school, the profession was still a club largely restricted to white males. Today, virtually every law school class in the country, including those at ASU, are divided approximately evenly between men and women. The minority population of the most recent graduating class at ASU was about 27 percent....Law schools have changed. But things have not changed simply because justice and light have prevailed. They have changed because policymakers believed that our society will work only if higher education aggressively recruits and retains a diverse student body. This is particularly important in the law, a profession that touches all segments of our society. If the law schools do not admit and graduate significant numbers of women and minorities, we will be guaranteeing a sort of legal colonialism, where the laws are made, enforced and interpreted solely by one segment of society, but are expected to be obeyed by all." ("Diversity Works for Law Schools, Society," Arizona Business Gazette, 22 April 1999).

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"The Massachusetts Institute of Technology created an inhospitable atmosphere for the few women who made it to the top.... 'I have always believed that contemporary gender discrimination within universities is part reality and part perception,' Charles M. Vest (MIT President) said. 'But I now understand that reality is by far the greater part of the balance.' That realization dawned when he was confronted with the fact that women's 8 percent share of the faculty positions in the school of science had barely budged in two decades." MIT President Vest responds with unusual candor to the release of findings from a five-year study of discrimination against women faculty. ("Engineering Equality: MIT Admits It Did a Disservice to Female Faculty," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 29 March 1999).

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"The biggest challenge I see is preparing students for a drastically changing world. Diversity is a really big issue in higher education today... More students of color, more faculty of color, more courses that offer a variety of outlooks and perspectives. That's something we need to constantly be looking at as we prepare our next generation of leaders...it's more than an issue of numbers. It's an issue of mutual respect and an issue of acknowledgment and campus climate,...the benefits students gain from this are absolutely unbelievable. It's crucial that you have different life experiences to share." Three members of this year's All-USA College Academic First Team participate in a round table discussion of issues facing students and educators and reflect on the importance of diversity in higher education. ("On Their Minds: Matters of Diversity, Quality, Money," USA Today, 2 March 1999).

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North Carolina

"'The mobilization here has been incredible,' protest leader Marion Traub-Werner told more than 100 supporters...after acting Chancellor William O. McCoy agreed to support stricter oversight of licensed apparel manufacturers for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.... 'You're not Generation X...You're the generation that's going to save our generation'," journalism professor Chuck Stone, a veteran of the civil rights movement, said at the victory rally. 'You are more committed to diversity, to togetherness, than any generation before you.'" ("UNC Endorses Anti-Sweatshop Rules," The News and Observer, 24 April 1999).

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