AAU New Principles

AAU New Principles

The Association of American Universities announced Tuesday that it was adopting “groundbreaking” new principles for preventing sexual harassment in academe.

By Maria Carrasco | October 27, 2021

The presidents and chancellors of the AAU, an organization composed of 66 research universities across the U.S., voted during their fall meeting this week to adopt the eight new principles, which include fostering a climate and culture where sexual misconduct is unacceptable; sharing findings of sexual misconduct with prospective employers when requested; requiring job applicants to provide personnel information from their prior employers about sexual misconduct; holding students, faculty, administrators and staff accountable for violations; and completing all investigations into sexual misconduct.

“We know that this continues to be an issue on college campuses,” said Barbara Snyder, president of AAU. “And for that reason, we wanted collectively to speak to our members but also to say broadly to the higher ed community, obviously we think this is important. And we collectively believe that these principles will help guide our campuses.”

Read full article >>

New Senior Leadership Position in Equity and Diversity

New Senior Leadership Position in Equity and Diversity


Fatimah Conley to serve as vice president of institutional equity and chief diversity officer

University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis today announced the creation of a new vice presidential position in the University’s senior administration to advance the institution’s strategic priority of enhancing our institutional equity efforts to support a diverse, inclusive and intercultural campus.

The new position – vice president of institutional equity and chief diversity officer – reports directly to the president and works closely with the provost, the executive vice president and chief operating officer and other senior leaders. With dedicated focus on advancing UD’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), responsibilities will encompass strategic leadership, oversight and visionary activation of a range of services, programs, policies and procedures for faculty, staff and students.

“The elevated role and accompanying responsibilities, authority and accountability of this new post reflect the importance we place on advancing an inclusive culture here at the University of Delaware,” Assanis said. “Our vision and priorities for the University often reference new programs and initiatives— but at the heart of all these efforts are our people. As ideals and values of society continue to evolve, UD is reaffirming its commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging at the center of everything we do.”

After a nationwide search, Assanis said Fatimah Conley, who has served as the University’s acting chief diversity officer since Oct. 16, 2020, will take on the new role, effective immediately.

“Fatimah Conley’s deep knowledge of the University of Delaware community and culture, as well as her experiences over the past year as interim chief diversity officer, make her the ideal person to take on this new role,” he said. “With several initiatives underway on these critical issues, I am confident that Fatimah has the insights, experience, dedication, empathy and leadership ability we need in this critical area to help the University move forward.”

In this role, Conley will be a leader, adviser, advocate and catalyst for change, Assanis said. She will lead the Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion that was created last year to consolidate and coordinate all campus units primarily responsible for all DEI initiatives at the University. Included in this office are the vice provost for diversity, Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Center for Black Culture, the Office of Disability Support Services and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

“I am elated and thankful to be able to serve as UD’s inaugural Chief Diversity Officer,” said Conley. “Working closely with President Assanis over the past year, I have learned that with his commitment to social justice principles and diversity comes the expectation for transformational and sustainable change. As the CDO, I look forward to continuing to work with the Office of Institutional Equity team, the faculty, staff and students who have long been devoted to this work, and the entire UD community to continue progress toward becoming a more equitable and diverse campus, where every Blue Hen knows that they belong.”

During Conley’s tenure at interim chief diversity officer, there have been a number of important developments, including the formation of the Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, expansion of the Center for Black Culture’s Each One Reach One Mentoring program, and multiple town halls on a range of topics in response to calls for change.  As part of the University’s strategic planning process, Conley has served as co-chair of the subcommittee exploring “Building a Social Justice Foundation to Support a Diverse, Inclusive and Intercultural Campus,” and she also has worked closely with campus colleagues on a number of impactful projects, such as the Anti-Racism Institute, the historical naming task force and the initiative to play “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at UD athletic events.

About Fatimah Conley

A staff member in the Office of the General Counsel at UD since 2015, Conley also served from 2017-20 as senior counsel to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), headquartered at UD and funded by the federal government to advance U.S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing innovation.

While at UD, Conley has worked directly with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, serving as interim director and Title IX coordinator from May 2018 to December 2019 and as senior associate director of the office from 2015-16.

Before joining the University, she was an attorney at a law firm in New Orleans, handling all aspects of commercial transactions, and spent two years as a human resources consultant in higher education.

Conley is a member of the Louisiana State Bar Association and the National Association of College and University Attorneys. She earned her undergraduate degree at Fairleigh-Dickinson University and a law degree from Tulane Law School. Currently she is pursuing her MBA in UD’s Lerner College of Business and Economics.

‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ makes stop in Delaware

‘Grandmother of Juneteenth’ makes stop in Delaware

Opal Lee speaks at the University of Delaware

Sean Greene | Published Oct 27, 2021

Five years ago, then-90-year-old Opal Lee embarked on a journey that would take her from a Fort Worth, Texas church to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to get Juneteenth honored by the federal government.

“I left the church steps walking 2 1/2 miles to symbolize that the enslaved didn’t know they were free for 2 1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation,” Lee said during an event at the Biden Institute on the University of Delaware campus Tuesday.

Lee, who retired as a counselor for the Fort Worth Independent School District in 1977, has spent over four decades since working to help those economically disadvantaged get into a better position.

Lee told a crowd at the University of Delaware that they need to go to school board meetings, and make sure people are voting, in an attempt to tell the tale of America’s growth from the Black perspective.

“Make yourself a committee of one to change somebody’s mind, and you can do it, you’ve got to do it, because none of us are free until we are all free. So, we’ve simply got to turn our country around and make it a model for the world.”

Read full article >>

UD sexual assault survivors hold candlelight vigil

UD sexual assault survivors hold candlelight vigil

‘Please know, it is not your fault’ | UD sexual assault survivors tell their stories during candlelight vigil

By Sean Greene

Thirteen days after a University of Delaware sophomore allegedly attacked a fellow student, survivors of sexual abuse gathered on campus to share their stories, and attempt to heal.

A candlelight vigil was held in front of Memorial Hall Thursday night, where four University of Delaware students told their stories of abuse, and recovery, in between musical performances.

The final speaker of the night was senior Emma Burrows, who did not directly reference the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity that the now-suspended Brendan Freyre was a member of when he allegedly assaulted his victim, but made a strong implication that she had a similar story to what happened on October 8, 2021.

“Last year, I was raped by a member of a recognized fraternity on our campus, that is currently involved in an investigation for harming another woman. Even though I cannot say the name of this fraternity for legal reasons, you might feel like I did when I found out. When I realized that a member of the same fraternity had done such terrible things to another woman, I was mad.”


Fixing Workplace Culture for Graduate Students

Fixing Workplace Culture for Graduate Students

Doctoral students often suffer the worst consequences of the faculty’s inattention to the academic workplace.

Leonard Cassuto

Professors and doctoral students don’t usually think of academe as a workplace. Outside of the obvious exceptions, such as the laboratory sciences, much of our writing and research is solitary. More important, we tend to see that work as centered not within a physical space — like a department or a campus — but in the wider culture of our disciplines.

Yet we do have a professional workplace. And because we pay it so little attention, it often doesn’t function well. That hurts all of us, but it’s graduate students who suffer the worst consequences. Many of our Ph.D. programs teach students to prize a faculty job and disdain other career paths. Given the limited number of tenure-track jobs actually available, we are, in effect, teaching them to be unhappy. Not surprisingly, many of them are. Their unhappiness — and anger, sometimes spiked with feelings of betrayal — isn’t an isolated effect. It needs to be considered in terms of the academic workplace as a whole.


Opal Lee helped make Juneteenth a holiday

Opal Lee helped make Juneteenth a holiday

And at age 95, she’s just getting started.

The Biden Institute on Tuesday honored Lee with their 2021 Woman of Power and Purpose award.

At age 89—an age when most people would consider settling down—Opal Lee embarked on the biggest journey of her life.

In 2016, determined to elevate Juneteenth into a national holiday, Lee decided to walk 1,400 miles from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington, D.C. armed with 1.6 million signatures. With the support of fellow Juneteenth activists, she reached her goal in about four months.

“I felt like if a little old lady in tennis shoes was making her way to Washington, D.C,” Lee, now 95, told Know Your Value.

Her efforts eventually paid off. President Joe Biden signed the federal holiday into law in June of this year. He called Lee an “incredible woman.”

The Bidens have remained awed by Lee. On Tuesday, The Biden Institute honored her with their 2021 Woman of Power and Purpose award, presented by Valerie Biden, the president’s sister, at the University of Delaware.

“Opal is the epitome of power and purpose,” Valerie Biden told Know Your Value. “This woman has the backbone of steel…she has a vision, and she is hopeful.”

Valerie Biden continued: “If she doesn’t prove that success can happen at any age, I don’t know who does.”

Read full article >>