Staying Current: Supreme Court ruling in the Fisher v. University of Texas case represents a victory for affirmative action and the ideals of social justice. The close 4-3 decision to reject Abigail Fisher's challenge to the race-conscious admissions process at the University of Texas, however, reminds us that affirmative action stands on uneasy ground. Click on this link for the Inside Higher Ed article on the Supreme Court Upholds Consderation of Race.
Six Word Stories on Transformative Allyship
On June 21, Vice Provost Dr. Mary Wardell, Alejandro Covarrubias, and Ria DasGupta of the University of San Francisco facilitated a discussion on transformative allyship at the AJCU Conference on Diversity and Equity at Santa Clara University. The purpose of this session was to create a space for attendees to examine the nature of allyship within our historically white, male-led institutions.
The group discussed the unique roadblocks and challenges they face as diversity officers, and imagined how day-to-day work and the overall campus climate would be affected if allyship was “cognizant of positionality and social identity, and used the strengths (and social capital) that are inherent to those positions to confront entrenched systems of power, and offer new possibilities” (DasGupta, 2016). In small groups, the twenty-five participants were asked to come up with “six word stories” (Pender, 2016), which concisely offered their understanding of what transformative allyship can mean:
“Conspirators working enemies into new-found friends.”
“Transformative allies push forward for others.”
“Unite. Activate. Trust. Wonder. Twin powers.”
“Sacrifice. Change. Justice. Unity. Equality.”
“Moving from you, me, to we.”
Participants discussed synthesizing these six word stories into a manifesto on transformative allyship that could potentially be distributed among the AJCU.
Student Activism Changing the World from Here
This year student organizations and the student senate have been very active. Our Black Student Union wrote a list of demands and worked with the University President to create an action plan to improve the student experience for Black and African American Students. Our student senate partners with our MEChA to pass a resolution to create a scholarship for undocumented students. Our LGBTQ student organization met with university leadership to express their needs, specifically around supporting transgender students. Our international student representative also worked with the international student community to bring forth a list of needs including more financial assistance and academic support to improve the retention of international students. The students have worked in solidarity within and across groups and have role modeled what it means to be men, women, and people for and with others.
USF Represents at the National Conference on Race & EthnicityThe 2016 National Conference for Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) was held in San Francisco from May 31st – June 4th. The University of San Francisco (USF) community stepped up to engage in the national conversation on race and ethnicity. Through collaboration with the Office of Diversity Engagement and Community Outreach (DECO), several presentations involving USF Dons were accepted by NCORE.
Like many of our AJCU institutions, USF faculty and staff continue to create the brave space for students to dialogue, think and act critically on these issues within USF classrooms and around campus.
USF faculty, students, and alumni presented at ten (10) different sessions that include pre-conference, workshop, panel and poster board presentations. Their work and active participation exemplified the praxis shaped by a USF Jesuit Education committed to developing men and women for others as race and ethnicity continue to be at the forefront of societal discussions in the nightly news, legislation, policy, protests, rallies, social media and other media.
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