Not enough Black PhD students

11/30/2015: The data is from a discussion on InsideHigherEd, here:

… How realistic are these goals? Penn proves informative. Even with its prestige and an arsenal of cash, progress has been steady but relatively slow — at least compared to the Mizzou timeline. Between 2011 and 2013, the percentage of new hires who were underrepresented minorities grew from 9 to 14 percent. But the total percentage of underrepresented minorities on the faculty jumped just 1 percent, to 7 percent, from 2010-13. Minority professors over all increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2014.

Part of the problem is that black students are underrepresented in a majority of Ph.D. programs and among Ph.D. holders. While black people make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, they’ve earned roughly 6 percent of the research doctorates awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents each year since 2003, according to the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies’ Survey of Earned Doctorates. While blacks hold a relatively high proportion of education doctorates, earning about 13 percent of such degrees awarded in 2013, they’re underrepresented in other fields. According to 2013 data, the most recent available, they earned 6 percent of life sciences doctorates, 3 percent of physical sciences doctorates and 5 percent of engineering doctorates. In the social sciences, blacks earned 7 percent of doctorates. It was 5 percent in history and about 4 percent in the humanities. In business, it was 9 percent.

According to the survey, 2,167 black citizens or residents earned research doctorates in 2013. Compare that number to 130 — that’s how many full-time black faculty members Kevin Eagan, interim managing director at the Higher Education Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles, says Mizzou alone would need to hire in the next two years to meet the 10 percent demand.

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11/29/2015: Pushback begins against Black student demands & tactics

The NYT, here, on Amherst, Claremont-McKenna, Yale, etc:

… In the heat of the moment, the students drafted a list of demands for the administration. … They wanted students who had posted “Free Speech” and “All Lives Matter” posters to go through “extensive training for racial and cultural competency” and possibly discipline. They wanted the administration to apologize for “our institutional legacy of white supremacy,” among many other forms of discrimination, like “heterosexism, cis-sexism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, mental health stigma and classism.”

… But just as there has been pushback at other colleges, the demands at Amherst were met not only with sympathy but also with skepticism and criticism that the students were asking for too much and trying to stifle free speech and intellectual dissent. Alumni took to the college’s website by the hundreds to complain that this generation was trying to sanitize history and impose a repressive orthodoxy on a place that should be a free market of ideas.

“Why is Amherst, an institution supportive of political freedoms, ultimately becoming a college full of restrictions?” Matthew R. Pewarski, a member of the class of 2008, asked on a password-protected alumni forum.

… At Yale, more than 800 students, faculty, alumni and others signed a letter to the president, criticizing student demands like firing a house master who questioned the policing of Halloween costumes and creating a censure process for hate speech. The letter said these would reinforce “intellectual conformity.”

“The point of the letter was to show administrators that there is organized support for open expression at Yale,” said Zach Young, a junior and the president of the William F. Buckley Jr. Program at Yale.

11/21/2015: UO Black Student Task Force releases list of demands for administration

Diane Dietz reports on Pres Schill’s campus conversation here, and Miles Trinidad has the story on the demands in the Daily Emerald, here:

… “Some of these requests will be easier to achieve than others, but I believe we can make good progress in the coming weeks and months on most, if not all, of those requests,” Schill said. …

Here is the complete list of demands:

  1. Change the names of all of the KKK-related buildings on campus.
  2. Create an African-American Opportunities program that is comparable, in scope and impact, to the Opportunities program for the Latino student population and community.
  3. Commit to creating a Funding Resource and Scholarship initiative that is designed exclusively to support and meet the unique needs of students that identify as Black/African American.
  4. Commit to having Ethnic Studies 101 as a graduation requirement.
  5. Commit to creating an Academic Residential Community (ARC) that will feature African-American history/Oregon Black Diaspora.
  6. Commit to hiring an African-American advisor/retention specialist as well as Black faculty across all academic disciplines, especially major UO departments such as Architecture, Business, Education, Math, and Science departments.
  7. Create a substantial endowment fund and support system to fund and open a Black Cultural Center.
  8. Commit to creating a Black Student Leadership Task Force.
  9. Commit to conducting seminars and workshops by bringing in a black faculty from a peer institution who specializes in Black history and contemporary black issues.
  10. Commit to creating a Student Advisory Board for The Office of Equity & Inclusion and Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (CMAE).
  11. A commitment to immediate change of Fraternity & Sorority Life Baseline Standards for University recognition.
  12. Commit to immediately keeping and publishing data on efforts to increase Black student acceptance, retention, and safety.
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16 Responses to Not enough Black PhD students

  1. Cheyney Ryan says:

    There is historical precedent for some of these demands.

    Demand #10: when the forerunner of the current Center of Multicultural Excellence was created it the 1970’s, it was then called the Council for Minority Education, it included both a student board and a community board, to advise–as one of the faculty sponsors of this, I thought it a great idea and still do.

    Demands #5 and #7: something like this used to exist also, the result of pressure in the late 60s/early 70s from the Black Student Union. It was abolished in the late 1970s (during the summer, with no discussion), for budgetary reasons.

    Demand #1: the obvious precedent for this is changing the name of Grayson Hall to McKenzie, after learning that Grayson was a crook.

  2. anonymous says:

    Odd, I am descended entirely (as far as I can tell) from groups that were singled out by the KKK and/or Oregon’s discriminatory legislation. For considerable abuse, though probably not as severe as experienced by blacks and perhaps yet other ethnic groups. But somehow, I don’t feel offended, marginalized, or offended by the names on those buildings. In fact, I would be offended if the names were changed. Perhaps I need some indoctrination/reeducation to have my false consciousness expunged.

    • uomatters says:

      There are many reasons other than “taking offense” to change the name. Having a building named after you is an honor – think of the inscription on the Pantheon. My read of Prof. Mooney’s paper on Judge Deady was that he was complicated, but on balance not particularly honorable.

      Then there’s history. We don’t want people to forget the good or the bad people have done, lest we repeat it. This argument cuts both for and against renaming.

      I’d never have known much about Oregon’s racist origins if not for the fact that UO’s oldest building is named after a prominent racist, and every few years someone starts a movement to change the name and the history comes out again. Take Deady’s name off the building, and we’ll forget a little of that evil history, which we shouldn’t.

      On the other hand, if we rename it for Min Yasui, we honor someone remarkable for fighting racist beliefs. A person we should remember, along with the WWII relocation of Japanese-Americans, but don’t think about much.

      So I vote for renaming it Yasui Hall and putting up 2 bronze plaques, one explaining Deady, one explaining Yasui. And do it quick. Deady is unreinforced masonry and will collapse faster than PLC when the big one hits.

      • just different says:

        I was going to suggest the “plaque solution” also. And point out that it’s the people who have repeatedly tried to get Deady renamed who are keeping our memories fresh and not the name of the building itself.

      • Gene O'Grady says:

        The inscription on the Pantheon? That’s a deliberate falsehood (M Agrippa ter cos fecit), because the actual building was put up by Hadrian 150 years after Agrippa died, in a style that was unknown in Augustan times, and that Agrippa probably would have failed to appreciate.

        • uomatters says:

          OK, I’m no classics professor, and while I did eavesdrop on one explaining the history to a tour group, my Chinese is not that good. So are you arguing Hadrian left Agrippa’s name on it to dishonor him?

      • "Do it quick." says:

        That’s a good motto, the timeline for things changing at UO and the tectonic plates is pretty similar.

      • anonymous says:

        Maybe if UO wants to honor Yasui, it could do it with some class, by raising money for a NEW building to name after him. Rather than rewriting the real history of UO by delisting Judge Deady from what everyone knows as Deady Hall.

        Personally, if it were me, I would be mighty offended by such a cheapo low class way of remembering me as taking someone else’s name off a historic building.

        That way, UO doesn’t dishonor the many people in the state who, rightly or wrongly, take pride in the history and traditions of their state.

        And also doesn’t risk pissing off the many such people of Oregon, whom UO still counts on for support of the University, both as private donors and as taxpayers.

        Already, in Missouri, there is much talk of cutting funding for MU over the recent troubles there.

        Something tells me that sending Judge Deady down the memory hole — or worse yet, recasting him as a totally dishonorable character — is not going to win much goodwill for UO from the many people who don’t see it that way.

  3. Sun Tzu says:

    Why is it that our students have more courage than we faculty? After nearly 20 years of mediocre, often spiteful presidents and administrators who have traded our hard-earned academic standing for personal gains and a corporate, you-are-with-me-or-against-me mentality, isn’t it time we faculty put forward our own list of non-negotiable demands? Here’s a start:

    1) Improve our academic quality and national standing. Start by including faculty in all campus decisions;

    2) Increase the number of tenure track faculty by 25% and provide them with adequate space and resources to perform their jobs;

    3) Reduce undergraduate student/tenure track faculty ratio;

    4) Increase numbers of and support for graduate students;

    5) Decrease the number of large undergraduate classes (>100 students) and limit maximal class enrollment to 200 students;

    6) Stop balancing the university’s budget on the backs of full-paying undergrads who cannot handle the academic work. This includes underperforming California students, foreign students with inadequate English language skills and a fraction of our student-athletes;

    7) Stop cutting the budget of academic departments while increasing the budgets of administrative units for new, middle level personnel and useless vanity projects (e.g., EMU, sports facilities and university police);

    8) Stop trotting out the trite and patently disingenuous excuse that the University is broke to justify not improving our academic quality;

    9) Fire all incompetent JH administrators immediately. This list includes but is not limited to Scott Coltrane, Robin Holmes, Jamie Moffitt, Doug Park and Tim Gleason. Also get rid of the music, law, business and CAS deans, all of whom are spinning their wheels and not trying to improve our academic standing; and,

    10) Increase fiscal and decision-making transparency, improve campus morale, and rebuild campus trust in JH.

    If the Senate passed each of these in the form of a resolution containing a “must be completed no later by” date and a mandatory written response by the President stating he agrees to work on implementing the resolution, then we might have a chance to save our University. Worth a try? Absolutely yes. What about it Senate leaders?

    • Why students have more courage says:

      Faculty debate quickly leads to some bullshit arguing about something like Hadrian and Agrippa, instead of doing something useful. Watch any senate meeting.

    • anonymous says:

      Doing what you are talking about would probably require beefing up the endowment by a few billion. Have you lined up the funding?

      And, I somehow doubt that taking historic names off the buildings is likely to make the potential big donors more eager to uncork their billions.

  4. wishy washy liberals says:

    …..if the vast majority of intercollegiate athletes on a campus are African-American might it be argued by some that the athlete only resources (eg., the jock box) on campus already serve as black cultural centers?

    • lol says:

      Might as well, because coach sure as hell isn’t going to let anyone join the BSU, make a “don’t shoot” or “I can’t breathe” gesture, know about Yvette’s existance, form a union, or even tweet without first getting permission.

    • Hart says:

      I can’t decide if you are kidding. Would you care to elaborate? Because I am given to understand that Black students experience a pretty unfunny degree of people making assumptions about the equivalence of Blackness and athleticism and about the extent to which they are likely to have worthwhile nonathletic culture and/or academic credentials, and so if this is joking, I’m not so sure it’s not punching down.

      (In case you are not kidding: at a quick count and ignoring the many problems of trying to assess race and nationality based on smallish roster photos, somewhere in the one-quarter-to-third range of the student athletes at the UO this year are African-American)

  5. doh says:

    Here is a CHE article that talks about a similar list at another college.

    In reviewing this information I found the Atlantic article that seems to be a larger dialog and different point of view:

  6. Never mind says:

    Sun Tzu, you are my hero.