Colleges implement curriculum, dedicate funding to combat racial inequities

Jul 19, 2020 by

Colleges are announcing new curriculum and resources to improve the experience of Black students on campus and help dismantle structural racism in higher ed. Institutional leaders are also following through on promises made last month to help promote racial equity in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and nationwide protests about racial injustice.

Beyond the symbolic and long-demanded removal of statues and names of historical figures with ties to the Confederacy and racist ideologies, colleges are also developing new antiracism courses and requiring all students to take courses on diversity, equity and inclusion. Some colleges are exploring ways to better financially support Black students, to alleviate the vestiges of discriminatory Jim Crow-era policies and, more recently, the coronavirus pandemic. which has disproportionately impacted the health and income of people of color.

Ivory Toldson, a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, a historically Black university in Washington, D.C., said he has encouraged efforts to close Black students’ income disparities while on recent calls with leaders at Louisiana State University, his alma mater. Toldson said he was among the first generation of Black students to attend LSU during the 1990s without race-based restrictions. He believes institutions that participated in segregationist policies should atone for “all the economic opportunities that were closed to Black people for so long.”

“This is the beginning of the conversations,” Toldson said. “It’s a lot easier to make symbolic gestures, but if you really want to make change, you have to invest money to make that happen.”

An ongoing fundraising campaign at Cornell University is focused on combating growing economic hardships among students due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is hitting Black and Latinx communities harder than others, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As part of the campaign, Robert Jain, a College of Arts and Sciences alumnus, donated $1 million for a scholarship fund specifically for Black students, students of color and those from other underrepresented groups who need financial assistance to continue attending Cornell, said Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the college.

Source: Colleges implement curriculum, dedicate funding to combat racial inequities

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