Colleges in Georgia and Louisiana Now Offer Courses About Civil Rights Leader C. T. Vivian

At least seven colleges in Georgia and one in Louisiana are now offering classes about the late civil rights leader Rev. C.T. Vivian, and those involved in creating the curriculum hope to expand that number to at least 50 schools by next year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Continue reading “Colleges in Georgia and Louisiana Now Offer Courses About Civil Rights Leader C. T. Vivian”

Study Says Majority of Americans Say Parents Should be Informed of ‘Inappropriate Content’ Taught to Kids, Have Way to Opt Out

A new survey released by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty addresses the topic of education and whether parents or school administrators should have the final word on the curriculum being taught to children.

The Religious Freedom Index comes during a time when parents and public schools have been battling over hot-button issues such as Critical Race Theory (CRT) and adopting transgender policies.

The comprehensive study is based on responses from 1,000 Americans to questions about their views on religious liberty.

On the topic of education, 63 percent of respondents said that “parents should have the final say and should be able to opt-out of morally objectionable or inappropriate content,” while 37 percent believe that “public schools should have the final say and parents should not be able to opt-out of morally objectionable or inappropriate content.”

Questions about higher education were asked and the amount of freedom religious groups should have to engage in public discussions while on campus.

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Source: CBN

Health and Human Services Department memo shows they are moving to undo Trump-era policy protecting religious liberty

FIRST ON FOX: The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) is considering revoking authority the former Trump administration delegated for the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to prevent violations of religious liberty – prompting concerns about conscience protections under Secretary Xavier Becerra.

A draft memo obtained by Fox News targets two actions related to the First Amendment from earlier this year, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits federal infringements on the free exercise of religion.

The RFRA delegation came on Dec. 7, 2017, in response to the administration’s broader efforts to beef up religious liberty protections. Citing President Trump’s executive order on the issue, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions provided executive agencies with a long list of guidelines on RFRA, free exercise claims, contraception in insurance plans and other issues.

HHS followed by granting OCR authority to, among other things, conduct RFRA compliance reviews and “initiate such other actions as may be necessary to facilitate and ensure compliance with RFRA.”

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Source: Fox News

Detroit district moves to virtual learning three Fridays in December

The Detroit school district is moving to remote instruction for three Fridays in December, a decision district officials attributed to concerns about mental health, COVID cases, and school cleanliness.

The move was announced Wednesday on the district’s website. It comes as the state is leading the nation in new COVID cases. Students and teachers are expected to show up online for remote learning on those days.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in that statement that he and the school board made the decision “after listening and reflecting on the concerns of school-based leaders, teachers, support staff, students, and families regarding the need for mental health relief, rising COVID cases, and time to more thoroughly clean schools.”

Learning will move online on Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17. The district’s holiday break begins Dec. 20.

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Source: Chalkbeat

Cornerstone University votes no-confidence in president the day before inauguration: President Gerson Moreno-Riaño has allegedly opposed diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and created a culture of fear and suspicion.

(RNS) — Faculty at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, voted no confidence in the Christian school’s incoming president on Thursday (Oct. 21), one day before his scheduled inauguration.

Since his appointment in May, Gerson Moreno-Riaño, slated to be formally named the university’s 12th president, has allegedly opposed diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and created a culture of fear by firing staff and professors with little or no warning.

Moreno-Riaño previously served as executive vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Regent University, the Virginia school founded by evangelical leader Pat Robertson.

The 42 to 6 vote, with 14 abstaining, is non-binding but was reported to the school’s board in a letter late Thursday.

In an earlier letter, 42 university faculty and staff said, “Our current campus culture has become one of fear and suspicion. Faculty and administrators — many of whom have dedicated long years of faithful service to the university and our students — have simply disappeared without explanation.”

Carole Bos, chair of Cornerstone’s board of trustees, said in a statement to RNS that the new president “is committed to continuing our diversity efforts and will lead the Board’s charge to build a diverse Cornerstone community. Our board is confident that he will seek collaboration with our tremendous faculty and staff to help our students reach even further in their goals to serve the global marketplace. Most of all, he will challenge each of us — and himself — to remain steadfast to the teachings of Christ while we reach above the more common, contentious dialogue within today’s social landscape, so that we all may remain focused on training future leaders.”

Cornerstone, a member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, was founded in 1941 as the Baptist Bible Institute of Grand Rapids. Since then, the school has evolved into a nondenominational liberal arts institution with roughly 2,000 students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs and two seminaries.

On Oct. 3, written testimony submitted to the board detailed Moreno-Riaño’s alleged creation of a hostile environment.

The document was signed by 22 full-time faculty members and 19 staff, though some remained anonymous due to fear of retaliation. A summary document shown to RNS contains reports of bullying and intimidation, threats of dismissal and unilateral decisions in hiring.

The document expressed faculty and staffers’ additional concerns about Moreno-Riaño’s apparent opposition to diversity, equity and inclusion.

There has been a “disappearance of nearly every employee who advocated for DEI,” the summary said, including the assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, the director of diversity and multicultural affairs and the vice president for student development.

Brenda King, who had served as assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion, declined to comment.

Staff have allegedly been prohibited from using language connected to anti-racism, including “micro-aggressions,” “privilege” and “unconscious bias.”

The summary alleges that official documents have been edited to censor such language and that an intercultural studies lecture series was abruptly canceled.

“There is an expectation to conform to the president’s vision,” wrote one university employee in an excerpt included in the summary. “Thus, if one does not submit to the president’s vision, that person will be removed from employment at Cornerstone University. The president and his administration are not only hindering DEI efforts but are aggressively undermining the progress that has been made, to the detriment of faculty, staff, and students of color.”

The summary paper suggests Moreno-Riaño has characterized the previous administration as financially incompetent and adrift from the university’s mission. In one instance, the summary said, the president spoke of himself as an incoming hero who would solve the previous administration’s failures and reinstate Cornerstone’s original conservative Baptist identity.

As word of these remarks circulated, former President Joseph Stowell, who served as president for 14 years and had been assisting with fundraising, resigned from his current position in early October. Close to the same time, a group of Cornerstone alumni posted an open letter online that was addressed to the board of trustees, expressing concerns about Moreno-Riaño. The letter was taken down on Oct. 18.

In an Oct. 18, 2020, article for the Washington Examiner, Moreno-Riaño elaborated on his vision for higher education. He wrote that American higher education’s insufficient focus on Western Civilization and its excessive attention to “the oppressed” is shaping students into “vicious” and “intolerant” individuals who are participating in the “corrosion of US democracy.”

“American higher education must be renewed so that it can reject the revolutionary impulses that will lead to its demise,” he wrote. “This renewal begins when universities are held accountable to provide education that is truly tolerant — that fairly considers the breadth and depth of approaches to the true, beautiful and good, and is not myopically fixated on the perspectives of the ‘oppressed.’”

According to Carl Ruby, a pastor in Springfield, Ohio, the events at Cornerstone are part of a larger pattern of conservative retrenchment at Christian colleges and universities. In 2013, Ruby said, he was forced to resign as vice president for student life at Cedarville University, a Christian school where “there are fears of the institution drifting too far to the left, and most of those fears are prompted by concerns over issues of social justice,” he said.

“What happened at Cedarville and what is happening at Cornerstone reflect a deep rift that is developing in evangelicalism,” Ruby added, “and this is just a symptom of that.”

Moreno-Riaño’s inauguration is scheduled to feature several notable conservative leaders. They include Kay Coles James, former president of the Heritage Foundation, and Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars and author of “1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project,” a book that locates America’s founding at the signing of the Mayflower Compact.

Source: Religion News Service

Say it ain’t so, Howard University – the Harvard of HBCUs! Moldy shoes and leaky pipes: Howard students protest poor living conditions and lack of voice

From students living in cars to mushrooms growing on ceilings, students say substandard conditions make some feel ‘they were sold a dream’

Political science major Erica England returned to Howard University in 2018 after an eight-year hiatus, hoping to enjoy the university’s status as an elite historically Black school.

She soon realized she could barely keep up with tuition despite working full-time. Meanwhile, her life and studies were disrupted by what she and others describe as substandard housing – including roaches and rats, leaky pipes, cold showers and spotty Wi-Fi.

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SOURCE: USA Today – Marc Ramirez


Law firms promise jobs before law school in new diversity push

(Reuters) – Could hiring lawyers before they even enroll in law school be part of the next wave of law firm diversity efforts?

Two Ohio firms are giving it a try, partnering with the University of Dayton School of Law to recruit J.D. students with a promise of tuition and living expenses, mentoring, and a full-time job once they graduate.

Thompson Hine and Taft Stettinius & Hollister are the first two firms to sign on to Dayton’s Flyer Legal Promise Program, which builds on an undergraduate scholarship program for underserved students from local high schools.

The law school and firms this year will select two students from that pool of undergraduates for full-ride scholarships to the J.D. program, paid for by the school. The sponsoring firms will cover two-thirds of an annual $15,000 living stipend, as well as summer jobs at the firms and a full-time job offer after graduation.

Many law firms have summer associate programs for diverse law students and so-called pipeline programs to get underrepresented students interested in law school and help them apply. But Dayton Law Dean Andrew Strauss said he doesn’t know of any other firms offering permanent jobs to would-be law students so early on.

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Source: Reuters

Top Berkeley physicist resigns in protest at colleagues who refused to invite top scientist to speak after his MIT speech got canceled over his criticism of George Floyd riots and pro-meritocracy views

A leading scientist has dramatically resigned from his post at Berkeley University in protest at his colleagues’ refusal to invite a physicist to give a speech previously canceled by another college at the behest of a woke mob.  Continue reading “Top Berkeley physicist resigns in protest at colleagues who refused to invite top scientist to speak after his MIT speech got canceled over his criticism of George Floyd riots and pro-meritocracy views”

University of North Carolina can continue using race-based admission practices: ‘Holistic approach’ does not discriminate against white and Asian-American applicants, judge rules

The University of North Carolina did not discriminate against white and Asian-American applicants by using its ‘holistic approach’ to race-based admissions, a federal judge. Continue reading “University of North Carolina can continue using race-based admission practices: ‘Holistic approach’ does not discriminate against white and Asian-American applicants, judge rules”

LA Councilman and a former USC dean are indicted on bribery and fraud charges after official ‘exchanged lucrative county contracts for his son’s admission to the school’s graduate program’

A Los Angeles Councilman and former University of Southern California dean face conspiracy and bribery charges after allegedly scheming to get the politician’s son into graduate school. Continue reading “LA Councilman and a former USC dean are indicted on bribery and fraud charges after official ‘exchanged lucrative county contracts for his son’s admission to the school’s graduate program’”