A. Benjamin Spencer Named First Black Dean at William & Mary

The William & Mary Law School — the oldest law school in America — has appointed A. Benjamin Spencer its next dean. It’s an historic decision as Spencer is the first African American dean of any school at the university.

A nationally-known civil procedure and federal courts expert, Spencer is

A. Benjamin Spencer

currently the Justice Thurgood Marshall Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law. He also recently completed a year as the Bennett Boskey Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

“Since the beginning of the search process we sought a leader who values all three aspects of the law: the academy, the bar and the bench,” said Dr. Katherine A. Rowe, William & Mary’s president. “Ben brings that broad view of legal practice, together with a deep appreciation of the ethos of the citizen lawyer that has inspired the oldest law school in the country since its founding.”

Spencer holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Morehouse College, a master’s degree in criminal justice policy from the London School of Economics and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Read more: https://diverseeducation.com/article/178424/

Asian American Artists Illustrate Students’ Coronavirus Stories

Dr. Jason Oliver Chang, associate professor of history and Asian American studies at the University of Connecticut, wanted to check in with his students during the pandemic, so he asked them to write about their experiences.

Students shared stories about food insecurity, family arguments, their gratitude for health insurance, and the little details of their daily lives at home.

“It’s confusing and hurtful to me to have people talk about it as ‘the Chinese Virus’, not knowing what the impact of these words can be to Asian Americans,” an anonymous senior wrote.

“At first, we struggled with both what and how much food can be available to us,” wrote first-year student Tam Vu.

“My father and mother are mid-sixties,” junior Emerson Femc wrote, “so I am trying to do all I can to keep myself contained and them safe.”

Reading students’ responses, Chang had an idea: What if their stories could be turned into art?

By Simi Kang

In a new social media campaign called #MyCovid19Semester, the University of Connecticut’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute selected four Asian American artists to illustrate students’ written narratives about the coronavirus. Each artist chose one student’s story to tell – and the final results were shared online to encourage students from across the country to submit their own thoughts and artwork. The institute plans to share those submissions on social media.

Chang described art as “a process of meaning making” that allows students to learn in new ways. This isn’t the first time he’s brought art into the classroom. Starting in the fall semester of last year, the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute won a three-year grant from the University of Connecticut – the Scholarship and Collaboration in Humanities and Arts Research grant – specifically to incorporate art into their work.


Can You Build a New HBCU? Trump Entertains Idea

During a meeting with Black Michigan leaders, Donald Trump and Rep. Karen Whitsett, D-Detroit, entertained the idea of founding a new historically Black college or university (HBCU) in Detroit, reported The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“I would love to see a historically black college in the city of Detroit, and I think

President Donald Trump

you’re just the president to do it,” Whitsett told Trump, who said the idea was “great” and told John James, a Republican candidate for a Michigan Senate seat, to “start working on that.”

Others, however, quickly derided the idea on social media, pointing out that founding a new HBCU isn’t possible under the federal definition of what an HBCU is.

According the U.S. Department of Education, an HBCU is an institution “established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.”

Or, as one D.C.-area attorney wrote on Twitter, “The concept of a *new* historically black college is a contradiction in terms.”

There are currently 107 colleges in the U.S. deemed HBCUs. Detroit used to house one that was established in 1928 — the Lewis Business College — but its doors closed in 2013.


Read more: https://diverseeducation.com/article/178421/

Campus Pride and PFLAG Host a Virtual Lavender Graduation Ceremony

Members of the class of 2020, their families as well as faculty and staff members from colleges and universities across the country gathered online May 23 for a virtual national Lavender Graduation ceremony.

Given the cancellation and postponement of commencement ceremonies due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Campus Pride and Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) National decided to host the virtual ceremony on social networks such as Facebook and YouTube as a way to honor the achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students and allies.

“During these difficult times of physical distancing, it is wonderful to have colleges and universities nationwide come together remotely and celebrate our LGBTQ+ and ally graduates,” said Fanny He, assistant director of student activities and inclusivity programming at Marymount Manhattan College. “We hope students and community members watching the virtual Lavender Graduation feel a sense of pride, accomplishment and solidarity.”

Shane L. Windmeyer, founder and executive director of Campus Pride, said that graduation, especially for someone who identifies with the LGBTQ+ community, is a “unique time” because each day of their existence can be a challenge on a college campus.

“So our goal [was] to really create a digital milestone that people can look back on or watch and really feel like, ‘Wow, this is something special and I’m glad that I was able to create a memory through this digital graduation,’” he said. “That’s ultimately what graduation day is all about, creating memories with your family and friends.”

Diego Sanchez

Diego Sanchez, director of advocacy, policy and partnerships at PFLAG, began the ceremony by discussing how his life started with uncertainty. At the age of five, he found the courage to tell his parents he was born “wrong.” His parents both left the room and his mother came back wit

Read more: https://diverseeducation.com/article/178402/

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