Notes & Coffee: February 20-26

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 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.


Student affairs groups criticize lifting of protections for transgender students - “Kevin Kruger, president of NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, issued a statement that said the Trump administration's policy "moves our campuses in the wrong direction with respect to the goals of inclusivity and civility, potentially placing trans students in greater danger by forcing them to use facilities that do not match their gender identity."’ 

DeVos v. the faculty - “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos offered few details of her views on higher education during her confirmation hearings. But on Thursday, in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference, she sharply criticized faculty members and accused them trying to indoctrinate students. She devoted only a paragraph to higher education in a relatively short speech, but she captured lots of attention. Here's what she said, after asking how many in the audience were college students: "The fight against the education establishment extends to you too. The faculty, from adjunct professors to deans, tell you what to do, what to say, and more ominously, what to think. They say that if you voted for Donald Trump, you’re a threat to the university community. But the real threat is silencing the First Amendment rights of people with whom you disagree."’ 

Advocates cautiously optimistic about potential executive order on HBCUs - “In a move that has been generating some buzz and attention in recent weeks, the White House is said to be preparing an executive order on historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU). While there has been no official word from the White House on when the order might be released and what policy directives it might contain, organizations that advocate for HBCUs in Washington, D.C., have laid out their own proposals for what the order could accomplish.”

What immigration raids mean for students - “Since President Trump took office last month, the future of 750,000 young people living in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has become uncertain. On the campaign trail Trump vowed to repeal the Obama-era policy, which allows certain immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors to work and go to school in the U.S. Although DACA does not offer a path to citizenship, it grants recipients a two-year deportation reprieve. Trump has adopted a slightly softer stance on the future of the program since the election than he did during the campaign, but a lack of clarity continues to stir questions for many DACA recipients, often known as “dreamers.”’

Transgender protections withdrawn - “The Trump administration Wednesday evening withdrew guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year to protect transgender students -- in schools and colleges -- from discrimination and to ensure they had access to the bathrooms and other facilities of their choice. In a statement accompanying new guidelines from the administration, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos insisted her department remained committed to investigating all claims of discrimination, bullying and harassment of the most vulnerable students. But she said the previous guidelines had given rise to legal questions and that the issue was best resolved at the state level. "Schools, communities, and families can find – and in many cases have found – solutions that protect all students," DeVos said.”

Speaking out where others wouldn’t - “Many college presidents avoid talking or writing about anything remotely political. They cite "institutional neutrality" and speak out only on a narrow set of policy issues, such as student aid, that directly relate to their institutions. Many presidents also demur if asked to criticize an alumnus, more so if that alumnus happens to be a donor. But Patricia McGuire, president of Trinity Washington University since 1989, does not pull her punches, taking on Kellyanne Conway, the Trump aide who is an alumna and a donor. To Patricia McGuire, the issue isn't politics, but truth.”

More Notes

Higher ed lobbying, SWAT style

Financial pressure swamping community college students

Teaching and integrating international students

Nguyen draws on experience to start repairing education inequities

How the trust gap works against minority students’ higher-ed aspirations

For-profit schools, an Obama target, see new day under Trump 

NASPA Highlights

Dr. Kruger responds to Dear Colleague letter rescinding transgender student protections - “The Dear Colleague Letter from the Departments of Education and Justice aims to roll back important protections for our trans students, colleagues and friends. The rescinding of the May 2016 Dear Colleague Letter moves our campuses in the wrong direction with respect to the goals of inclusivity and civility, potentially placing trans students in greater danger by forcing them to use facilities that do not match their gender identity.”

NASPA announces 2017 Election results and incoming board members - We are pleased to share the election results for 2017, as well as introduce you to new Board Member Leadership. NASPA is made possible through its volunteer leadership, and thank you to all who voted. 

This is it: Student Affairs for “such a time as this” - “Versatile, disciplined, resourceful, and emotionally strong are some characteristics of successful Student Affairs professionals. These are transferable skills valued in many professions, but you chose to work in a college environment. Now is the time to navigate caution signs without losing either patience or direction and thrive, helping your institution prioritize students’ intellectual learning and emotional development by ensuring a supportive environment. Ensuring a supportive environment in times such as this will require different approaches, new tools, and a clear understanding of what you need to do your job.”