Notes & Coffee: February 6 - 12

Notes & Coffee is here to keep you informed of all the trending student affairs and higher ed news stories most critical to our field as they develop. In this time of information overload, we’re here to bring you vetted examinations of the rapid changes taking place under the new administration, as well as stories of higher education continuing to strive forward for the betterment of our students. We invite you to brew up your favorite morning beverage, relax, and catch yourself up for the week ahead with Notes & Coffee. 

Yale will take Calhoun name off residential college – “Yale University announced Saturday that it will remove the name of John C. Calhoun (at right) from one of its residential colleges. "The decision to change a college’s name is not one we take lightly, but John C. Calhoun’s legacy as a white supremacist and a national leader who passionately promoted slavery as a 'positive good' fundamentally conflicts with Yale’s mission and values," said a letter released by Peter Salovey, the president. Calhoun is notorious in American history for his effectiveness in protecting slavery and promoting bigoted ideas about black people in the era prior to the Civil War.”

DeVos confirmation fails to end uncertainty – “WASHINGTON — Although Betsy DeVos narrowly clinched the confirmation she needed Tuesday to head the U.S. Department of Education, questions about what direction she will take the agency — as well as her higher education agenda — are likely to remain unsettled until key agency posts are filled. That is the take of several higher education stakeholders and observers who commented on her controversial ascendancy to the cabinet post Tuesday amid widespread vocal opposition and skepticism that is not likely to abate anytime soon. “I think we’re going to be entering a period of uncertainty and change with respect to federal regulation of colleges and universities,” said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of governmental and public affairs at the American Council on Education. “What I don’t know is how quickly we will see those changes simply because the political appointees are not all in place at the Department of Education.”’ 

Why aren’t we talking about Native American students? – “The challenges facing Native students in America today are known, although hardly ever discussed outside of Native communities. According to national statistics, our students are more likely to be labeled as having special needs and experience higher rates of suspension and expulsion than white students. Just 67 percent of Native students graduate from high school—a figure well below the national average. This is in part due to a tribal education system that has been imposed on us by the federal government for 150 years. But contrary to what many think, education in Indian Country is not in need of a solution imposed by others who know little about our communities. Solutions already lie within.”

The number of hungry and homeless students rises with the cost of college –“There's no way to avoid it. As the cost of college grows, research shows that so does the number of hungry and homeless students at colleges and universities across the country. Still, many say the problem is invisible to the public. "It's invisible even to me and I'm looking," says Wick Sloan. He came to Bunker Hill Community College in Boston more than a decade ago to teach English full time. He says it felt like he quickly became a part-time social worker, too. "When I first got here, I was always told that we should never miss a chance to give students food," he says. "I foolishly thought at the time they meant Doritos and cookies. It's protein that they're after. It's crazy."’

The ‘black hole’ of college sports – “Baylor University’s former head football coach covered up his players’ sexual violence and other troubling behaviors for years, new court documents allege. But the university is not alone in protecting athletes from punishment. “This is an issue across the country, and we’ve seen it for a long time,” said Brenda Tracy, a victims’ advocate and member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Commission to Combat Campus Sexual Violence. “Athletics already exist in a silo, and football coaches and athletic directors have always preferred taking care of these sorts of things in-house.”’

Digging deeper into campus diversity – “Amid all the literature about the merits of college diversity, an important trend is often overlooked, according to a new study in The Journal of Higher Education. Although more students report having positive experiences by studying and living with those from different racial, religious, political, gender and ethnic groups, negative experiences are fairly common, too -- and they can impair student learning and cognitive development, according to the study. The study, titled “Engaging With Diversity: How Positive and Negative Diversity Interactions Influence Students’ Cognitive Outcomes,” seeks to add to the conversation about campus diversity by examining the incidence and influence of negative diversity experiences.” 

More Notes

Trump’s entry ban remains blocked

Free tuition? Not the same as free college, students say

Tracking the evolution of student success

Professor hopes his quickie calculator will show low-income students they can afford a selective college

The prestige gap

The DeVos agenda