The Exploration of Diversity and Inclusion Programs Within Institutions of Higher Education

The Exploration of Diversity and Inclusion Programs Within Institutions of Higher Education

Tyresa Rene Jackson (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9628-9.ch016
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Abstract

In recent decades, the landscape of higher education has begun to shift. Yet, throughout the higher education pipeline (Bachelor, Master, Ph.D., and Law), there are stark differences in the academic performance and graduation outcomes among diverse student populations. This chapter explores landmark historical cases that promulgated diversity and inclusion programs in higher education. This chapter also assesses the social experience of race in higher education and if diversity and inclusion programs truly help to remove barriers to access.
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Background

The institution of slavery played an integral role in the foundation of many American colleges and universities. Before the Civil War, there was widespread fear that if slaves and freed African-Americans were to become literate, this would forge a path to freedom (Literacy as Freedom), and they could use writing as a means of communication. The Alabama Slave Code of 1833 prohibited teaching any person of color, or slave, to spell, read, or write. Those who broke this law would face conviction, indictment, and/or be fined between $250 and $500 (Alabama State Archives, 1833).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Critical Race Theory: A legal movement that seeks to explain the relationship between race, racism, and institutional systems in the United States.

Civil Rights Act: Statutes created by the federal government guaranteeing nondiscrimination in employment, housing, education, and other areas.

Double Consciousness: In his 1903 book, The Soul of Black Folk , W. E. B. Du Bois introduced the concept of double consciousness. Du Bois explained how African-Americans often feel split between two worlds—the dominant culture within society and who are they are as African-American people.

Higher Education: Tertiary education offered at post-secondary institutions, such as colleges and universities, comprising educational training and research facilities.

Assimilation: The process by which a person or a group of people acquire the memories, sentiments, and attitudes of a culture or community to acclimate themselves.

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO): Laws that prohibit job discrimination in certain workplaces. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has two mechanisms for monitoring and enforcement—the Civil Rights Center and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.

Affirmative Action: A set of procedures designed to eliminate discrimination among applicants, remedy past discrimination, and thereby prevent future discrimination.

Equality: Treating everyone through a fair and just lens on an even plane.

Social Justice: Originating in 19th-century Catholic thought, this concept assesses the distribution of economic and social goods. Under this virtue, everyone deserves equal political, economic, and social rights and opportunities.

Workplace Inclusion: An atmosphere in which employees belong, contribute, and support one another.

Interest Convergence: This term was first established by New York University law professor, David Bell in a 1980 Harvard Law Review article. Bell’s theory posits that African-Americans’ fight for racial equality will only be accommodated if it converges with the interests of their Caucasian counterparts.

Judicial Review: Policies under which courts determine whether laws are constitutional.

Implicit Bias: Subconscious mental associations that impact how people perceive and act toward situations, places, and individuals. Often, people revert to these patterns of thinking when information is ambiguous or incomplete, when they are under time constraints, or when their cognitive control is compromised.

Fourteenth Amendment: Adopted in 1868, this amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted citizenship along with equal civil and legal rights to African-Americans and emancipated slaves after the U.S. Civil War.

Thirteenth Amendment: Ratified on December 6, 1865, this was the first amendment to the United States Constitution that ended slavery. The amendment reads as follows: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Separate Car Act: In 1890, this law was established by the Louisiana government. It required African-American and Caucasian railway passengers to ride in separate train cars, but it mandated that all passengers regardless of race have equal facilities in their train section.

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