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 >>

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.”


Faculty Diversity Fell in Time of Crisis

Faculty Diversity Fell in Time of Crisis

By Colleen Flaherty

Four-year colleges and universities cut tenure-track hiring by 25 percent around the time of the Great Recession — and hires of people of color declined disproportionately, especially at public and research-oriented institutions, according to a new study in Sociological Science.

In addition to these data, the new paper offers another, urgent takeaway: the same reversal of progress toward faculty diversity could happen in the COVID-19 era, if institutions don’t take steps to ensure it doesn’t.

“That hires of faculty of color declined during the Great Recession may have gone unnoticed by administrators struggling to keep the ship afloat,” the study says. “Provosts and deans facing the COVID-19 crisis should take note that institutions facing uncertainty may reduce new-hire diversity unwittingly. It may be that public and research-oriented institutions will again face the greatest uncertainty over the next few years and will again see the greatest declines in the diversity of new faculty.”


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.


Promoting an Inclusive Campus Climate

Promoting an Inclusive Campus Climate

Fatimah Conley named interim chief diversity officer at UD

Fatimah Conley, associate general counsel at the University of Delaware, has been promoted to the position of interim chief diversity officer (CDO) at the University effective immediately, President Dennis Assanis announced today.

“During this time when our nation is confronting challenges in pursuit of equity and social and racial justice, there is an urgency for action. Even under the current circumstances of constrained resources, our commitment to the progress and advancement of inclusive excellence throughout the University of Delaware must remain steadfast. Our success will rely on strategic and innovative use of the resources UD is investing and maximize effectiveness,” Assanis said.

In her role as interim chief diversity officer, Conley will serve as the senior adviser to the president regarding all diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) initiatives at the University.  She will advise and collaborate with senior leadership and other University groups to develop and implement DEI programs that promote a welcoming campus culture for all faculty, students and staff. Conley will work closely with the president and the UD community to realize a clear vision for success for DEI efforts by engaging all stakeholder groups – students, faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, alumni, community. This will further solidify the foundation for actions that sustainably advance DEI as part of the University’s core mission.

“Fatimah’s experience, insights and drive will serve UD well as she takes on this new post,” Assanis added. “She will inspire, catalyze and coordinate our university-wide DEI efforts to reinforce and build upon one another. I look forward to working together to advance the DEI agenda for the UD community.”

Conley brings to this challenge a deep understanding of UD’s organization, culture, and aspirations. Over the past five years, she has worked closely with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, serving as interim director and Title IX coordinator for eight months, all the while consistently demonstrating steadfast commitment to the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion at the University.

In addressing UD’s immediate priorities, the president has asked Conley to work closely with units and programs supporting campus-wide student, faculty and staff DEI efforts and provide recommendations on how to consolidate them into one cohesive structure reporting to the CDO.  The goal of this effort is to improve coordination of our programs, and balance shared resources for enhanced impact, beginning with the establishment of a clearer accountability structure. As a first step in this process, the Office of Equity and Inclusion will report into her immediately, expanding its visibility and effectiveness while ensuring UD’s compliance with state and federal laws.

In consultation with senior leadership and building on information from an earlier study and results of a working group, she also will investigate potential spaces for a new multicultural center, seeking input from a diverse set of community members to help define the role of such a center and provide recommendations for the best path forward.

“I look forward to working with President Assanis, administrative leaders and the entire UD community to synthesize and integrate the University’s many diversity and inclusion efforts into a visible, meaningful, collaborative and effective strategy for enhancing diversity, equity, access and inclusion at UD,” Conley said. “In my role as interim chief diversity officer, I will engage our students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees and UD community members to make significant progress for transformation.”

A staff member in the Office of the General Counsel at UD since 2015, Conley has also served since 2017 as senior counsel to the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), which is headquartered at UD and funded by the federal government to advance U.S. competitiveness in advanced manufacturing innovation. As she takes on this new role, Bradley Yops, assistant general counsel, will take over her duties at NIIMBL, which include advising the institute director on legal matters to ensure that decisions and outcomes are aligned with the University, working with the operations director to negotiate agreements for all projects and supporting NIIMBL’s sustainability efforts.

While at UD, Conley has worked directly with the Office of Equity and Inclusion, serving as interim director and Title IX coordinator from May to December in 2018 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.

Article by UDaily staff | October 16, 2020

James Jones discusses the challenges of diversity

James Jones discusses the challenges of diversity

Racism is wrong. Clearly, objectively, patently wrong. Which means its opposite — embracing and promoting diversity — must be right.


According to James McCoy Jones, long-time faculty member and honored speaker at the March 10 luncheon of the University of Delaware Association of Retired Faculty (UDARF), this is a loaded question. Unlike racism (always condemnable) or rooting for the UD Blue Hens (always commendable), diversity is not a neatly defined moral absolute. It is far more nuanced than that.

“Diversity is one of these challenges where, if we do it right, we’ll be on a positive course,” said Jones, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Black American Studies. “But if we don’t, we’ll be facing very serious problems.”

This may sound subversive. Haven’t we as a society determined that diversity is our strength — no questions asked? You can now buy that catchphrase in the form of sweatshirts, refrigerator magnets and embroidered Pinterest pillows. It is woven into the mission statements of companies selling everything from software to sunscreen. It is increasingly the mantle of leaders in business and government. It is, by all indicators, the future.

So… what gives?

According to Jones, who directs UD’s Center for the Study of Diversity, in the public consciousness there are two conflicting arguments for diversity. Each is correct. Each is valid. Yet, these arguments are sometimes at odds with one another, and this is problematic.

One of these positions is the so-called moral argument: Diversity efforts are a way to acknowledge historic racism and ameliorate those effects. The other position is the instrumental argument: Diversification includes and benefits us all. In other words, as author Peter Wood wrote in the New Boston Post in 2015: “Diversity is both kumbaya and Black Lives Matter.”

This duality, Jones explained, “can foster confusion and conflict.”

Consider statements on diversity written by universities. Jones said 75 percent of these adopt the instrumental — or kumbaya — approach. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se, Jones said, except for what the research shows: Black students are less likely to graduate and more likely to perform poorly in schools that adopt the we-are-all-in-this-together attitude.

“Groups who are concerned with biases they must overcome feel unfulfilled — and at times disrespected — when they are lumped with other groups with very different histories,” Jones said. “The inclusive idea — that everyone is better for it — does not work in a world that is seen as a zero-sum contest for resources, prestige and opportunity.”

On the other hand, the moral approach to diversity that acknowledges our different histories? Research shows whites feel excluded from this and, when they feel excluded, they fail to support diversity efforts, he said. Sometimes, they actively or passively oppose them.

Put another way: “Inclusion as a concept is both a goal of diversity and a challenge it faces,” Jones said.

These difficulties are compounded by other factors. For starters, diversity encompasses much more than race. There are variations of sex, gender orientation, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation and immigrant status to consider, among other factors. Within an institutional framework, it’s impossible to  respond to them all. So, when formulating or analyzing diversity efforts, these differences get truncated into categories.

“Consider, for example, international students,” Jones said. “They may come from China, Southeast Asia, Japan, Middle East, Caribbean, South America and Africa, not to mention Europe. Considering this diversity of background, what does the international category even mean?”

Of course, these obstacles don’t take away from a research-backed truism: The more diverse we are at any level, the greater the gains in terms of learning and experience. The question, then, is not whether greater diversification should be attempted, but how to go about it in a meaningful way — one that goes beyond magnets and embroidered pillows.

For that, Jones explained, there must be constant negotiation and communication between groups. At both the institutional and personal levels, everyone must strive for openness when it comes to learning about and with others. And, in navigating this potentially tricky territory, we need to keep in mind, perhaps, the importance of understanding.

“Anthropologist Margaret Mead once likened people living in a post A-bomb world as pioneers,” Jones said. “I believe we are living in a post-diversity-explosion world, and we are all still learning how to do that….Yes, diversity is the new normal, but it is not yet normalized. It is still a work in progress.”

Article by Diane Stopyra, Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson | This article was originally published in UDaily on March 31, 2020.