January 24, 2018 Statement
I would like to report that the past year was a strong one for equity in the US – but it was not. The truth is that 2017 was a terrible year for racial equity in higher education nationally.
Day after day, we suffered an onslaught of racist tweets and comments from our country’s President. As easy as it seems at times to dismiss his juvenile, ignorant outbursts, his remarks have fueled a wave of support for white supremacy in the United States, glorifying horrific ideas that civilized minds had thought died with Nazism.
The most obvious example of this took place in August, when we witnessed the violent torch march of white supremacists through the grounds of the University of Virginia. This disgusting display ended with the death of a woman fighting against their hatred.
Of course, the most recent threat to higher education and its students is in the form of a tax bill so oozing with greed and hatred that it will deny the most vulnerable among our citizens a right to higher education and a right to healthcare. The foundational elements of this bill are a direct attack on the rights and humanity of anyone who isn’t already obscenely wealthy and white.
Despite all of this, we at CUE have not stopped working for our cause, and we will not stop. In 2017, CUE worked to change faculty hiring practices, making racially diverse faculty more than wishful thinking. In September, CUE held a two-day institute that attracted over 200 participants and 20 community colleges (with 14 more on a wait list). Institute participants demonstrated the will and commitment to reform their hiring practices, and CUE provided them with the tools to redesign every step of their hiring processes.
CUE published three comprehensive policy papers in 2017, one of which worked to make sense of the myriad student equity plans used by California’s vast Community College system. Our work extended to the Netherlands for the first time in 2017, and we gained many new partners committed to helping us advance our cause in the months and years to come.
While I am proud to share the various ways that CUE advanced the cause of racial equity in higher education throughout 2017, it was clearly not enough. I hope you will join me as we work to redouble our efforts in the coming year to advance the agenda of racial equity.
If higher education is going to survive in 2018 and continue to benefit those who need it the most, it will only be through all of our united efforts to support something we so passionately believe in.