American University Announces Anti-Racism Plan, Required Diversity Course

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American University student protesters block traffic in Bender tunnel to demand support for students of color

American University in Washington. D. C. with strong ties to Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS), has announced plans to insert an Anti-racism Plan on the campus after Black students said they feel alienated and unsafe after student Taylor Dumpson, and AU’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated was targeted with bananas hanging from nooses last year.  A survey identified only a third of African American students feel the school is inclusive juxtaposed to 70% of their white student peers, according to an announcement by officials on Tuesday.

American university in Washington DC is a leader among Washington DC universities in global education. The University enrolls a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. It  a reputation for impacting negatively and producing very racist lawyers and judges some of them practicing law through Washington DC Metro area and other places without creating meaningful change in the world. Many local lawyers and judges mentioned in this blog  some of them have ties to American University. The training on Anti-Racism Plan needs to go beyond students and into faculty itself for better outcomes. The training should also go beyond into many places American University Students currently working including PGCPS.

First up in the plan will be a required course on diversity for all entering freshman. The course is aimed at prevention, and hopefully, will offer a two-pronged education emphasis that will discourage predators and at the same time teach potential victims how to defend themselves.

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university president Sylvia Mathews Burwel

“We’re transparent about the fact that a number of our students of color don’t feel like they belong,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the university’s president, said to NBC Washington. “That’s a cultural issue that we need to work on.”

It seems a bit weird that such a class is even necessary. But the university has a past with racist incidents beyond the noose and bananas referenced earlier, which shows the course is not a bad idea. Of course that won’t stop us from wondering who will teach it and what specifically will the curriculum entail?

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The university’s $121 million plan asks the school community to acknowledge racism on campus.

Students of color experience bias and feel alienated and unsafe, the university said in a report released with the announcement.

Only a third of African-American students said they felt included on campus, compared to 70 percent of white students.

Burwell said she hopes an “inclusive excellence” plan will help end an exclusive culture on campus. The plan focuses on hiring a more diverse faculty, changing the processes for reporting hate incidents and requiring all freshman to take a diversity course.

The course, known as the American University Experience 2 or Aux2, tackles a number of issues, including diversity, bias, privilege and race, and social identity, the school’s website says. School officials say the class, which began in 2016 as a pilot course, aims to help change campus culture.

“Students reported feeling happier about their transition to the university and that AU was a place where they belonged,” the school said.

The plan will invest a total of $121 million over the next two years for a number of programs that promote equality, including training programs for faculty, staff and administrators, offering grants for community projects that promote inclusion and providing more scholarships for underrepresented groups and veterans.

“I think it’s important because it’s specific, it creates accountability in our leadership, it asks the entire community to join in,” Burwell said.

The changes come after multiple racist acts on campus.

Confederate flag posters apparently decorated with cotton were posted on bulletin boards as the school year started in September 2017. Most recently, an unknown person posted anti-immigration posters that linked to a white supremacist website. Last year, a black sorority was targeted with bananas hanged from nooses.

Read more >>> NBC4

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