Notes & Coffee: February 27-March 5

NASPA headquarters is buzzing on overdrive with the NASPA Annual Conference only days away, but we did not forget that you count on us to connect you with all the evolving hot topics in student affairs and higher education. There will not be an edition of N & C next week as we gather in San Antoino #NASPA17, but this week’s is stacked with trending stories to get in the know. Perhaps opt for the extra shot of espresso this week as you catch yourself up with Notes & Coffee.

Presidents hope funding follows White House taking lead on HBCU’s - “The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will move from the U.S. Department of Education to the White House, per an executive order on HBCUs signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday afternoon. Trump’s order was the culmination of the “HBCU Fly-In,” a two-day convening on Capitol Hill in which approximately 90 HBCU presidents met with the president, senior staff members in the administration, and congressional leaders. HBCU leaders present for the Fly-In represented a sizable majority of the entire HBCU community. There are 101 accredited HBCUs across the United States.” 

Title IX enforcement and LGBT students – “The Trump administration last week generated plenty of headlines by withdrawing guidelines issued by the Obama administration regarding Title IX’s protections for transgender college students. Remaining unnoticed, however, is an apparent conflict between two prominent religious universities’ takes on student sexuality and the 2014 guidelines on preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity. And that guidance was not affected by the White House action last week. Bob Jones University and Liberty University, both conservative private institutions, have codified prohibitions on transgender identities and sexual relations outside of heterosexual marriage of the Christian variety.”

DeVos: Black colleges are ‘pioneers’ of ‘school choice’ – “Monday evening, the Education Department issued a statement from Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that has infuriated many advocates for historically black colleges. The statement comes when many leaders of black colleges are in Washington for meetings at the White House and with Republican congressional leaders, who have been wooing black colleges and pledging to help them. Most of the statement is innocuous. DeVos praises black colleges. In perhaps a sign not to expect too much money from the Trump administration, she says, "Rather than focus solely on funding, we must be willing to make the tangible, structural reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential." And she notes that black colleges were created when "there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education."’

Shutting down a lecture – “Hundreds of students at Middlebury College on Thursday chanted and shouted at Charles Murray, the controversial writer whom many accuse of espousing racist ideas, preventing him from giving a public lecture at the college. Murray had been invited by Middlebury's student group affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank at which Murray is a scholar. Many of his writings are controversial, but perhaps none more than The Bell Curve, a book that linked intelligence and race and that has been widely condemned by many social scientists (even as Murray has been supported by others). Prior to the point when Murray was introduced, several Middlebury officials reminded students that they were allowed to protest but not to disrupt the talk. The students ignored those reminders and faced no visible consequences for doing so.”

Closing the Gap – “Only 41 percent of black students who start college as first-time freshmen earn a bachelor’s degree within six years -- a rate more than 20 percentage point below that of white students. While that’s the national average, a new report from the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for minority and low-income students, suggests that the average gap at individual institutions is just two-thirds that wide. And that means if higher education collectively is going to close the completion gap, it will take more than just boosting graduation rates on individual campuses. Highly selective colleges with high graduation rates must also enroll more black students, the report concludes.”

‘Some of our friends couldn’t make it’ - “International relations scholars met for their annual convention last week against the backdrop of a Donald J. Trump presidency. Scholarly business to a large degree continued as usual, with panel sessions on the future of a liberal world order and change in world politics taking on special urgency. Hundreds of sessions covered topics like climate and energy policy, global governance institutions, the rise of populism, terrorism and counterterrorism, and the politics of nuclear weapons. But while panels and receptions continued apace, not everyone who had originally planned to attend the International Studies Association's annual convention was able to partake. ISA’s leadership reports that a total of 176 participants withdrew from the conference citing a reason related to Trump and his Jan. 27 order barring travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Enforcement of that order, which also prohibited the entry of refugees, has been temporarily halted by the courts, but the Trump administration has pledged to introduce a new order meant to achieve the same purpose.”

More Notes

Failing to keep up

New visibility for HBCUs, but not dollars

5 innovative strategies to support non-traditional students

Replicating the Tennessee promise

Online ed’s return on investment

Study on first-year orientation and retention

NASPA Highlights

NASPA Foundation 2017 Pillars of the Profession – Each year at the annual NASPA Conference, the NASPA Foundation recognizes a series of distinguished individuals who have served as leaders, teachers, and scholars in student affairs and higher education. Each individual is nominated and supported for designation as a Pillar by colleagues, students, friends, or others who find him or her deserving of this honor. In the nominee’s name, a gift of $2,500 is made to the Foundation to further research and scholarship in student affairs.

Hannah Brencher brings love letters to #NASPA17 – Author, TED Speaker, and online educator with a heart for building leaders, Hannah Brencher will engage the audience in her story and tell you how you can participate in this amazing opportunity to show total strangers that they are not alone in the world. Remember to visit the World Needs More Love Letters area of the #NASPA17 Exhibit Hall anytime between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Monday or Tuesday to take part in the 2017 NASPA Annual Conference letter writing campaign. Whether you are writing letters to the highlighted communities or to fellow NASPA conference participants, help spread the message of love during your time in San Antonio!