University flies blackened American flag for art display

The University of Kansas is hosting a display on campus featuring an American flag that has been smeared with black paint by an artist as a commentary on “the current political climate.”

The artist is being featured at KU as part of an ongoing project sponsored by Creative Time, a New York based organization focused on three core values: “art matters, artists’ voices are important in shaping society, and public spaces are places for creative and free expression.”

[RELATED: Prof uses American flag as doormat in college ‘art display’]

The flag, “untitled (flag 2),” was designed by German artist Josephine Meckseper and is being displayed in several locations across the United States, including KU, Cornell University, Texas State University, Rutgers University, and th University of South Florida. 

Meckseper’s design is the only one in the project that has involved altering the American flag.

“The flag is a collage of an American flag and one of my dripped paintings which resembles the contours of the United States,” Meckseper explained on the Creative Time website. “I divided the shape of the country in two for the flag design to reflect a deeply polarized country in which a president has openly bragged about harassing women and is withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol and UN Human Rights Council.”

“The black and white sock on my flag takes on a new symbolic meaning in light of the recent imprisonment of immigrant children at the border,” Meckseper added.

[RELATED: University art display axes American flag]

The project, which began in June 2017, called “Pledges of Allegiance” features 16 artists and focuses on one artist’s work each month. Each artist designed a flag to highlight “an issue the artist is passionate about, a cause they believe is worth fighting for, and speaks to how we might move forward collectively,” according to the project description. 

“Conceived in response to the current political climate, Pledges of Allegiance aims to inspire a sense of community among cultural institutions and begin articulating the urgent response our political moment demands,” a nearby plaque states.

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Student expelled after photo deemed discriminatory harassment

A Marquette University student was expelled after coming forward to explain the innocent context of a photo that had sparked charges of racism after it circulated on social media.

Alex Ruiz was found guilty of “discriminatory harassment” for using a service called “AirDrop” to send a photo that was interpreted as a racial threat, but only after he voluntarily identified himself to campus police in hopes of staving off the burgeoning campus-wide controversy.

The photo in question, which was released to media, depicts Ruiz and three of his friends (none of whom are Marquette students) pointing an airsoft gun at a black doll alongside the caption, “Chuuch,” which Urban Dictionary defines as slang for “Amen.” 

[RELATED: Marquette forum says 'white community' 'perpetuates racism'] 

Ruiz told Campus Reform that the photo was taken in a different state years before he ever enrolled at Marquette, adding that the doll was not intended to have racial connotations, and was simply something that one of the boys was known to carry around with him regularly.

The boys referred to the doll as “Bill,” and Ruiz’s father described it to Campus Reform as being similar to “a troll which people carry around.” 

One night, according to a campus police “Incident Report” obtained by Campus Reform, Alex and friends were playing a “game” in which they would randomly scroll through their phones while the “Apple Airdrop” function was on, which allows photos to be sent to all nearby devices without specifying a recipient, resulting in the photo being unintentionally shared with a classmate.

According to the university, “sending [photos] to another person is harassment.” Ruiz and his father both told Campus Reform that they are deeply “apologetic” about what occurred, but feel that the university was not fair in its handling of the matter.

[RELATED: McAdams defeats Marquette in WI Supreme Court]

Ruiz’s father asserted that he had made “multiple attempts” to contact university officials, even calling President Michael Lovell, but said Lovell ignored “multiple requests” to speak to the family even after they flew from Colorado to Marquette to meet with school administrators.

Ruiz’s family originally immigrated to the United States three years

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Cal Poly admins plot to reduce white enrollment

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo is slated to initiate dozens of “diversity” projects in an effort to decrease the total share of white students on campus. 

According to a lengthy catalog of “Diversity Action Initiatives” first obtained by The College Fix, the school’s Office of University Diversity and Inclusion argues that there is “still much work to do” when it comes to lowering the percentage of white enrollment at the university.  

“In 2011, the campus was 63 percent Caucasian; in fall of 2017, it was less than 55 percent,” the administrators write in the May 2 document. “Applications from underrepresented minority students doubled between 2008 and 2018, while overall applications during that time increased by just half that much. Progress is being made—and the university is more diverse now than at any time in its 117-year history—but there is still much work to do.”

[RELATED: Students may need counseling after 'required' diversity training]

The document goes on to explain that the school’s diversity goal consists of “reflecting the demographics of California,” which it hopes to accomplish by implementing suggestions outlined in the report. 

Similarly, other goals of the university include “implementing a pre-enrollment diversity training for new first-year and transfer students,” “creating Cal Poly Core Pre-Orientation for Black, Latino/a and Native American students,” “evaluating the implementation of teaching related to diversity and inclusion within each General Education subject area,” and much more. 

The voluminous list of initiatives included in the report outlines the past and future projects that are designed to achieve the school’s objectives by improving “diversity” across all academic departments. 

Some of the planned projects include “college diversity awards,” establishing “faculty and staff committee that addresses diversity issues,” engaging “greater percentage of faculty and staff in unconscious bias workshops,” providing “travel grants to recruit faculty and staff at select national conferences,” and more. 

[RELATED: Student gov mandates diversity training for members]

Notably, the university has also taken steps to eliminate pr

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Colleges receive 57M for inclusivity culture change

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is slated to give out $1 million grants to dozens of colleges and universities in an effort to “advance inclusive excellence in STEM.”

According to HHMI’s announcement in late June, the organization “has selected 33 colleges and universities to join 24 schools selected in 2017 in its Inclusive Excellence initiative, which aims to catalyze schools’ efforts to engage all students in science—regardless of background.”

“Those students could include underrepresented ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, or working adults with families,” HHMI noted. 

[RELATED: Feds pay $8M+ to promote 'diversity' in STEM]

The $1 million five-year grant will be given out each of the 57 selected schools, making the total initiative worth a whopping $57 million. 

According to the announcement, HHMI is partnering with the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) to provide project funding and help recipients “engage in the process of culture change."

“This initiative is about encouraging colleges and universities to change the way they do business—to become institutions with a significantly greater capacity for inclusion of all students, especially those from nontraditional backgrounds,” said Erin O’Shea, the president of HHMI. 

Similarly, David Asai, HHMI’s senior director for science education, said that “the Inclusive Excellence initiative insists that schools recognize that the different perspectives that students of diverse backgrounds bring to science are assets.”

[RELATED: Feds dole out $3M+ to fight 'microaggressions' in STEM fields]

As justification for the grants, HHMI asserted that some students struggle to “persist” in STEM disciplines because “race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, educational paths, and parents’ level of education are all tied to undergraduate success rates."

“While the scientific community has long worked to increase diversity in the sciences, programs have tended to focus on helping students in ways that enable them to adapt to the majority culture,” the organization added. 

According to HHMI, the 57 grant recipients were selected from a pool of 594 applicants, and will now be tasked with fulfilling their plans to “develop more inclusi

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UMich must prove Title IX staff not biased against males

A federal court has ruled in favor of a student accusing the school of violating his due process rights during an ongoing sexual assault investigation. 

According to MLive, the decision means that the university will now have to allow the accused student, identified as “John Doe,” a right to undergo a live hearing. 

The lawsuit, filed in early June, alleged that the student was denied any form of hearing or cross-examination after being accused of sexual assault on March 12, arguing that the school "created an environment in which decision-makers at the University are explicitly and implicitly biased against males accused of sexual assault."

[RELATED: SURVEY: 'Vast majority' of college students demand due process]

According to the report, the university also placed the student’s transcripts and degree on hold due to the sexual assault accusation—a move that the student says is impacting his ability to pursue higher education and employment.  

"Defendants essentially ask the Court to sit back and wait for the investigator to issue findings against Plaintiff before intervening in this action," U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow wrote in the July 6 decision, as reported by MLive. 

"But, at this very moment, the University may be denying Plaintiff due process protections to which he is entitled,” the ruling continues. “The Court cannot, and will not, simply stand by as the fruit continues to rot on the tree. This case is ripe for adjudication."

Likewise, the court ruled that “the risk of an erroneous deprivation of Plaintiff's interest in his reputation, education, and employment is significant" without a live hearing, arguing that "additional procedural safeguards would both assist the truth-seeking process and help to ensure the protection of Plaintiff's constitutional rights.”

[RELATED: STUDY: Most top schools deny ‘basic elements’ of due process]

The ruling does, however, impose some restrictions on the plaintiff’s demands, only allowing the student to partake in cross-examination after questions have been submitted to a university official or student panel. 

Despite that requirement, the student’s attorney, Deborah Gordon, told MLive that she and her client are satisfied with the results of the ruling.

"These were life-changing decisions and yet there was no openness at all and so h

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