Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Can Online Activities HELP Colleges Deal with Racial Incidents?

What are some examples of using information technology in colleges and universities that help the academic community respond constructively to racial problems?
What are some examples of using information technology in colleges and universities that increase racial problems within the academic community?

"U-Md. has had two forums for students and others to talk about race since the noose was found, with about 50 to 70 people at each forum. A student group is asking people on campus to submit stories online about their experiences with discrimination."

"Either way, the incidents shock in part because many people expect colleges to be oases of tolerance and understanding. But school officials and scholars say it's natural that racial tensions sometimes flare on campuses because colleges reflect what's happening in the world around them; they're not isolated from economic and social rifts. And for many students, college is the first time they've met so many different types of people.

"Some students arrive with prejudices and stereotypes they don't even know they have, said William B. Harvey, vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity at the University of Virginia.

""the power is in the silence that surrounds these symbols," said Sherrilyn Ifill, professor of law at the University of Maryland. "We don't talk openly about why a noose is such a provocative symbol because we don't talk much about our history of lynching.""

"Schools aren't doing well at this, said Harvey, who came to U-Va. from the American Council on Education. "I don't know of a single place that's doing as well as it could be, or should be, doing.""

"Still, several professors said college is the perfect place to challenge people to talk about difficult subjects and learn about the unfamiliar. Studies have shown that students are more tolerant after they graduate, Moore said."

Colleges See Flare In Racial Incidents -, by Susan Kinzie , p. B1, B2, 9/26/2007

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