Colleges Grapple With Best Ways to Address Race Incidents

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials were slow to handle racial incidents at the University of Missouri, and that contributed to protests, a student hunger strike, a threatened boycott by the football team and ultimately, the resignations of two administrators.

At the University of Oklahoma, damage over a racist chant that was caught on video was kept to a minimum when the school president acted quickly to expel the students and condemn the episode.

Swift action is high among the best practices that school leaders can use to help defuse campus tension, experts say.

“There’s no such thing as having a perfect plan, but you have to continually be in the motion of creating a better campus climate,” said Jabar Shumate, Oklahoma’s vice president for the university community.

Benjamin Reese, president of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education, said administrators should not wait for students to demand a meeting. Instead, he said, they can invite students to strategic meetings and join students in protests if it’s over an issue they agree with. Administrators should know what they are going to do before something happens and be willing to speak out immediately, Reese said.

For example, Harvard University President Drew Faust immediately condemned the taping …read more

Source:: Black America Web

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