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The chief diversity officer for the State University of New York at Brockport has been fired, The Democrat and Chronicle reported Friday. A university spokesperson declined to comment on the matter to the paper, saying it was a "confidential personnel matter." The officer, Cephas Archie, had been in the position since August 2017.


Unequal Spaces: How College Is Portrayed in Film

By Peter Monaghan

JANUARY 26, 2020

Throughout its history, Hollywood has overtly or tacitly advocated white supremacy in ways that have thwarted progress toward diversity on college campuses. And it has done so with academe’s complicity.

So argues Curtis Marez, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of California at San Diego, in University Babylon: Film and Race Politics on Campus (University of California Press).

Since its silent era, the American film industry has had a love affair with "white higher learning," he writes. That is evident, he says, in scores of films about college life as well as relations between the popular-film industry and higher learning. The two institutions have together advanced a "fantasy of white wholeness" that has excluded or vilified people of color, he writes.

In recent years, several college horror films have suggested the precariousness of being a student today. In Happy Death Day (2017), filmed at Loyola University New Orleans, for example, a blond sorority sister must relive her murder day after day to discover who her killer is. The perpetrator, disguised as the school mascot, turns out to be — spoiler alert! — her roommate, a woman of color.

That plot’s element of racial dread, Marez says, typifies how college films produced by Hollywood have shaped or reflected public views of campus life as it relates to race, along with gender, class, and sexual difference. Preconceptions and prejudices have abounded in such films, he says. And no wonder, he adds, given the long history of such uncomfortable portrayals.

Silent films and then talkies — college-related or not — drew on "a new common sense of white superiority" developed by academic institutions, he says. For example, the filmmaker D.W. Griffith was able to call on connections to President Woodrow Wilson to have his racist The Birth of a Nation screened at the White House in 1915. The president, who had been a professor and president at Princeton University, "wielded his academic authority to promote the film, publicly confirming the accuracy of its sympathetic representation of the Ku Klux Klan," Marez writes.

Another U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, helped shape public conceptions of higher education during his acting career. Knute Rockne: All American (1940) and four other college films in which Reagan played a student or professor were typical of a genre that made unequal access to higher education seem "natural," and even "pleasurable." When Reagan was governor of California, Marez says, he often invoked his films’ themes of endangered white family values and privilege to link a racialized form of "respectability" with students’ worthiness of access to academe. The author asserts that Reagan acted on those same prejudices in imposing financial hardship on poor and minority applicants and curtailing student protest and academic freedom.

Colleges, especially in Hollywood-friendly Southern California, have long made their campuses available for filming. Marez says that seeing campus film shoots and a flow of personnel between the two industries when he taught at the University of Southern California made him realize just how extensive the academe-Hollywood nexus was.

His research led him to identify some filmmakers — among them, Ava DuVernay and Aurora Guerrero — who have recently gained "a certain amount of cult success" by using their university education in ethnic studies to create examples of the "critical minority film" that oppose the dominant themes of college films. They have examined, for example, how hostility and the threat of overwhelming indebtedness impede attendance by students of color or of nonmajority sexual identity.

"I try to present some sort of dialectic — the dominant arc of the story versus a more marginal arc of people who are on the margins of the university," Marez says. In that way, he says, "I hope to provide a window into some contemporary campus controversies, and a historical context for them."


By Audrey Williams June

JANUARY 19, 2020

In 2013, Jocelyn Robinson enrolled in a radio-production skills program at WYSO, a public radio station that used to be owned by Antioch College. During the training program, she produced a piece that included civil-rights era audio from WYSO’s archives, setting the stage for what would become her passion: preserving the audio from radio stations at historically black colleges and universities.

While she was fairly new to radio, Robinson, who has degrees in art history and cultural studies, was no stranger to African American history. She was on staff at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, in Wilberforce, Ohio when it opened to the public. She also worked as a federal-grant program administrator at Central State University, a historically black institution, until deciding to pursue a career as a radio producer.

Over the past year, Robinson has been working to find out what kind of archival radio material black colleges have. She was awarded an audio-preservation grant from the National Recording Preservation Foundation to survey radio archives on HBCU campuses and has visited nearly 20 stations.

Robinson spoke with The Chronicle about the path she took to becoming a radio preservationist, the challenges faced by radio stations at HBCUs, and the importance of audio to an understanding of history.

How did you come to focus your radio-preservation efforts on HBCUs?

I did some preliminary research and found that one-third of HBCUs have radio stations. What’s really unfortunate is that as we’ve been losing HBCUs, we’re losing the radio stations, too. The FCC license for a radio station is an asset, and a lot of them have gone pretty cheap, unfortunately. That’s an incredible loss.

I did a presentation on my idea while getting my graduate certificate in public history with a concentration in archives from Wright State. Then I literally fell into the Radio Preservation Task Force at the Library of Congress, and I had the opportunity to present my idea for this project. I got to know people who are engaged in radio-preservation work throughout the country.

What have you been able to do with your grant money?

I began by putting together profiles of the radio stations. I collected basic information: Where the stations are, when they were founded, and contact information. When that was done, I created an online questionnaire, working with some archival professionals who were generous with their time and expertise, and that was open through most of the summer.

The online survey was to figure out what materials they had archived: Do you have anything? How much do you have, and what is its condition? Eighteen out of 29 currently existing stations have participated. They’re a self-selecting group, but they’re a pretty good cross section of what’s out there — public and private, rural and urban. I contacted the stations that participated to see if I could come visit, and so far I’ve done site visits at half.

What kinds of audio have you found?

At the site visits that I conducted, there was a lot of material, but it’s so disorganized at this point it’s hard to tell. Much of it has been lost, is what I’m finding. Magnetic tape back in the day of reel-to-reel was reusable. It was bulky to store, and at many of our institutions, the radio stations inhabit very small quarters, or they’ve been moved around campus. So whenever you pack up an office, you throw out the stuff you don’t need — particularly if you don’t have a reel-to-reel machine to play it on. The obsolete media is the first thing to go.

At South Carolina State, there’s a bunch of cassettes in a box, and the labels on the cassettes have the briefest of descriptions. One of them was Dr. Cleveland Sellers [who helped organize a civil-rights protest in 1968 during which three South Carolina State students were shot and killed by the police] and someone else. Obviously it was an interview or a lecture. At HBCUs, radio stations are likely to record convocation speeches, commencement speeches, lectures, concerts, even classroom presentations.

It is nobody’s job to go and organize that material and to do it in such a way that they’re paying attention to best practices in preserving audiovisual material. You have to be able to identify it, stabilize it, get the appropriate archival boxes, and then store it where temperature, humidity, and light can be controlled. At some point, if the material can be played back, you have to ask, Can it be digitized? Can the appropriate metadata be provided? There’s also sticky-shed syndrome [in which the binder in a magnetic tape deteriorates, causing poor playback of the tape].

Our institutions are underresourced, understaffed, and we still don’t have a really good handle on the fact that our materials are important and worthy of presentation. Because of the ephemeral nature of radio, people are so busy trying to keep the station on the air, they don’t even think about preservation plans or a disaster plan. I really see this whole project as being something that is going to start a necessary conversation.

Was there something you saw during your visits that gave you hope?

When I went to WCLK, at Clark Atlanta, the general manager had two of her senior staff there, and the head of special collections at the Atlanta University Center Consortium came down and we all sat and talked. They are developing a preservation plan for the radio station. What was exciting was that the materials that do exist at the radio station are going to be taken into the institutional collection with some ease. They have a staff of five and two processing archivists. They have an incredible opportunity to sort of model what that relationship can look like. I’m very excited about the possibility.

One of the things that I think really bears a lot of scrutiny would be the radio station at Jackson State and at South Carolina State. Things happened at both of those campuses [students were shot and killed by the police during civil-rights protests] that reflect the times and that aren’t so far removed from what’s going on in the present.

There are places like this that we know, because of what happened there, we need to dig deeper to find if there’s anything there. Anyone who is trying to research the civil-rights movement would find that material invaluable.

What if it’s too late to save the material you think stations might have?

What a great loss that would be. There is nothing like the sound of the human voice to convey — through language, through resonance, through inflection — the time and the place. It is a primary source, even more so than images.

Within the preservation community, if we are to preserve the historical record, that means everybody’s record. In the past, the archival profession has been the gatekeepers of history and culture. In order to remedy the gaps that we have because of that, we need to collect these materials, and we need to preserve these materials because they’re important to all of our histories and legacies.

My hope is that I’ll be able to develop some kind of follow-up. I’m interested in helping institutions develop preservation plans and getting some funding that allows them to do it. If we don’t go out and find what’s there, we’ll never know.

Correction (1/21/2020, 1:25 p.m.): This article originally said the Library of Congress awarded Jocelyn Robinson an audio-preservation grant. The grant was awarded by the National Recording Preservation Foundation. The article has been updated to reflect this correction.

Tiffany Beth Mfume is assistant vice president for student success and retention at Morgan State University, which has earned national recognition for its rising graduation rates.

'These stereotypes are real. They're very gendered, and they go back basically as far as society has existed.'

'The Last Dragon is arguably the film that best exemplifies the connection between Black culture and Kung Fu. Which is why Josh Toussaint-Strauss copped a lot of stick for leaving it out of his previous video, about that very subject. It was left out because there are so many examples of this cultural crossover, it would require a video all of it's own. So this is a tribute to The Last Dragon, which in turn is a tribute to the Kung Fu film genre, as well as a celebration of Black culture.' -

Sports Forum / As Esports Take Off, High School Leagues Get In The Game
« on: January 24, 2020, 02:05:23 PM »
Today, more than 170 colleges and universities offer esports. And there's money on the table — more than $16 million in college scholarships. Naturally, high schools have followed suit.

Six-year old Jerry Morrison is obsessed with space — a love that intensifies when talking to his uncle, a NASA engineer. "I learned from you a lot," Morrison told him. "More than I could imagine."

Joey's bio:


If the mere thought of going to therapy seems overwhelming, you're not alone. Plenty of people put off seeking therapy because of the stigma, cost and inconvenience. We've got four tips to help you make your first appointment.

General Discussion Forum / Op-Ed: California’s forgotten slave history
« on: January 24, 2020, 11:31:33 AM »
In 1851, some 450 Latter-day Saints — Mormons — were sent by their church from Utah to establish a colony in what we call the Inland Empire. Within several years, the settlement’s population skyrocketed to more than 3,000 — at least as big as, if not bigger, than Los Angeles.

The pioneers plotted a town, established a municipal government and created the separate County of San Bernardino. To transform arid land into a thriving agricultural settlement, the Saints exploited dozens of enslaved African Americans that they had brought with them from Utah, as well as an untold number of coerced Native American laborers.

General Discussion Forum / Has anyone ever lived in Tulsa, OK?
« on: January 24, 2020, 11:15:29 AM »
Just curious about the quality of life there. Thanks.  :)

In 1910, Julius Rosenwald, president of the Sears, Roebuck mail-order empire, read Booker T. Washington’s Up From Slavery, an account of his emancipation and founding of the Tuskegee Institute, originally a school for teachers that became one of today’s most venerated of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Rosenwald recognized a kindred spirit, someone who, like him, was a fierce believer in the power of self-determination.

A friendship sparked, and over the next 20 years the two men would team up to build more than 5,000 schoolhouses in Black communities across the South, where existing facilities, in Washington’s words, were “as bad as stables” — if there were schools at all. With a scope that would be deemed unattainable today, their audacious scheme is credited by present-day economists with having created “a new black middle class in the South.”

Following a unanimous vote by the city council Tuesday night, Oakland has now become the first city in California to ban criminal background checks on potential renters.

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