Advocating for Students of Color: There’s More You Can Do
Pamela E. Harris, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Williams College
Aris Winger, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Georgia Gwinnett College
Michael Young, Associate Professor of Mathematics at Iowa State University
Advocating for Students of Color: There’s More You Can Do is a virtual professional development experience for higher education faculty and administrators who are actively engaged in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion within the mathematical sciences.
This four-part webinar is anchored in the belief that implementing small changes will compound to create drastic and large-scale transformation. By focusing on how to better advocate for students in your classroom, department(s), institution, and the mathematics community, the organizing team will guide participants to think critically about their practice and discuss concrete changes participants can implement. The goal is to share and commit to implementing changes in a way that is pragmatic, meaningful, and that cultivates cultures in which all students are seen, valued, and validated.
From the Clemson Newsstand: A panel of three Clemson faculty will discuss how educational attainment, including P-12 and higher education, is often viewed as the key to upward mobility while simultaneously having components reinforcing inequity and injustice. It will be the third “Power of Perspective” panel discussion, presented from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 27.
Dear Faculty and Staff: As you prepare for the start of the semester, I want to let you know about important work underway in Woodland Cemetery on campus to explore, preserve and protect Clemson’s history and a journey we are embarking upon as an institution.
As many of you know, Woodland Cemetery – located just to the south of Memorial Stadium – has been a final resting place for Clemson employees.
The site also includes a plot for family members of John C. Calhoun, on whose land this University is built. And, importantly, a section of the cemetery property is known to be the burial site for enslaved African Americans who lived and worked on the Calhoun property in the 1800s.
Earlier this year as part of the Call My Name project led by Dr. Rhondda Thomas, two students participated in a tour of the fenced area of the cemetery previously identified as the “Site of Unknown Burials.” The students expressed concern to faculty and staff about the condition of the area and asked how they could assist with its preservation and the memorialization of those buried there.
University Historian Dr. Paul Anderson and others began locating field stones in the area during the summer. As they did so, they found additional stones thought to be simple grave markers outside the fenced area and extending to a relatively large area in the south and west parts of the cemetery.
On July 29, a survey team brought in by the university to use ground-penetrating radar to better map the property located 215 possible unmarked graves believed to date back more than a century. About 25 are located in and around the fenced area. Many others are on the west slope below the Calhoun family plot atop the hill in an area of the cemetery where Clemson mapped new burial plots in the early 1990s.
The graves are thought to be those of enslaved people who worked from about 1830 to 1865 on Calhoun’s Fort Hill Plantation and later as sharecroppers and Black laborers, including convicted individuals leased from the state to build Clemson Agricultural College from 1890 to 1915. All are believed to be African Americans.
Here are our immediate next steps:
Dr. Thomas has reached out to leadership in the local African American community to share news of this important discovery. We will be engaging with area families to better understand who might be buried in the Woodland Cemetery and to seek guidance on what steps the university should take moving forward to honor them.
We have hired a dedicated historian to assist Dr. Anderson, who is leading the research. All the work will be published to a website Clemson has started to document the university’s role in Woodland Cemetery and give voice to the African Americans who are buried there. A press release on this project can be found here.
Continued investigation of the cemetery could identify additional burial sites in the coming weeks and months. Some areas of Woodland Cemetery remain to be investigated, and Clemson will soon begin work to create access to these areas for testing equipment.
We are in the process of developing plans regarding the assigned burial plots in proximity to the grave sites. And we will be reaching out to families assigned to those plots.
Here’s what I want you to know:
Woodland Cemetery is sacred ground and we intend to always treat it as such. In order to minimize the impact on the grounds while we continue to research the site, Clemson has closed Woodland Cemetery to vehicle access, stepped up security of the site and limited public access to daylight hours.
This is an important discovery for our University and the entire Clemson area and, consistent with the University’s broader effort to chronicle and share Clemson’s full history, our Board of Trustees and myself are committed to compiling a complete and accurate accounting of the university’s role in Woodland Cemetery. We also are committed to creating a preservation plan so that we protect, honor and respect all who are buried there.
From Clemson University Relations: University implements new Title IX regulations for employees, students
Clemson University has implemented procedures for employees and students in accordance with new regulations required by the U.S. Department of Education through Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Title IX is a gender equity law prohibiting discrimination based on gender in education programs and activities receiving federal funding. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence and other forms of nonconsensual sexual misconduct, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under this law.
“We take our obligations under Title IX very seriously and are committed to providing a higher education environment that is free from gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence,” said Alesia Smith, who has served as Clemson’s Title IX coordinator since 2016. “We want students, faculty and staff to know these changes are designed to ensure everyone feels safe, respected and supported as members of our community.”
This summer, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued new rules for how institutions receiving federal financial assistance must respond to complaints of sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.
Online training will be required for Title IX coordinators, investigators, advisors and decision-makers, all University employees and first-year students. In addition, continuing students are highly encouraged to complete the training. Updated materials will be posted to Clemson’s Title IX website as soon as they are available.
SCOPE OF TITLE IX Under the new regulations, what can be considered a Title IX case is limited to an allegation of sexual harassment that occurs in an education program or activity and against a person in the United States.
One of the changes is how sexual harassment is defined. It must satisfy one or more of the following requirements to be considered sexual harassment under Title IX:
An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo);
Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
Sexual assault (as defined by the Clery Act), stalking, dating violence and domestic violence (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act).
Allegations will be reviewed centrally by Clemson’s Title IX coordinator or appointed deputy Title IX coordinators to determine if they meet the criteria above. If the above criteria are met, students will typically be referred to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) and employees to the Office of Human Resources (HR) for adjudication. The adjudication process includes an investigation, assistance from a trained advisor, a live hearing with cross-examination and a right to an appeal. Matters that do not fall within the scope of Title IX could still be actionable under the Student Code of Conduct or applicable employment policies.
Supportive measures will be offered as appropriate and reasonably available. Examples of non-disciplinary, non-punitive supportive measures include access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), academic support such as class section changes, mutual no-contact orders, University housing relocation, campus escort services and increased patrols and monitoring of campus areas.
INFORMAL RESOLUTION Another change set forth with the new regulations is the option of informal resolution in lieu of a formal resolution. After a formal complaint is filed, a complainant and respondent may voluntarily agree to initiate an informal process. Participation in this process is voluntary and can be requested to end at any time by either party. One important exception is that informal resolution cannot be used if the complainant is a student and respondent is an employee.
Details on informal resolution will be made available on Clemson’s Title IX website in the future.
From the Clemson Newsstand: “A unique and effective group focused on guiding Clemson toward a more welcoming, safe and inclusive environment added more than 20 new members in the latest example of Clemson’s drive for inclusive excellence. The Council for Diversity and Inclusion (CUCDI) was created in April 2017 as part of the University’s holistic approach to embrace and promote an inclusive environment for higher learning. The council includes voices from every corner of the campus and the greater Clemson community and is co-chaired by Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert Jones and Chief Inclusion Officer and Special Assistant to the President for Inclusive Excellence Lee Gill.”
Staying the path: Motivation through graduate school Student Authors: Alberto Alonso, Jasmine Camero, Alejandra Castillo, Fabrice O. Ulysse, Victoria Uribe, Andrés R. Vindas Meléndez Organizer Authors: Alexander Diaz-Lopez, Pamela E. Harris, Vanessa Rivera Quiñones, Luis Sordo Vieira, Shelby Wilson, Aris Winger, Michael Young