Vanderbilt revises event accusing white women of fake allyship

Vanderbilt University has changed the name and description of a scheduled workshop that accused “white women” of failing to do enough to combat white supremacy.

After Campus Reform reached out to Vanderbilt for information about the workshop, which was originally described as including reflections on “white fragility, radicalism, emotional labor, safe spaces, gaslighting, and...documented case studies from activist spaces,” the university quickly and quietly altered both the name and description of the event.

Originally called “Fake Allyship and How White Women are Failing the Activist Struggle," the event now bears the less controversial title, “Performative Allyship: Make Sure You Can #dothework as an Ally.”

[RELATED: University of Oregon symposium asks ‘What’s Up With Whiteness?’]

A large portion of the original description was removed, including an excerpt explaining that “This program will serve as a workshop for white people, especially white women, who want to #dothework to divest of white supremacist ideology and some of its common manifestations in social justice work.”

The new, shortened description assures that the event will still address questions such as “What does it mean to be an ‘ally?’ What does it mean at a predominantly white institution like Vanderbilt? In a white supremacist nation? In the social media era? At the #Women'sMarch? At your Thanksgiving dinner table?”  

The original description also included the phrase, “What about under the Trump administration?” which has since been removed.  

Both versions explain that participants “will be exploring the history of ‘white feminism’ and strategies it has employed in co-opting and undermining anti-racist activism and therefore radical feminist struggle.”

Campus Reform reached out to Vanderbilt for comment and asked event organizers to clarify whether or not they believe, as implied, that America is a “white supremacist nation.”

Vanderbilt’s media relations department communicated that it would issue a response, but has not yet done so, and has not responded to follow-up inquiries.

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Harvard prof Universities should not respect Trump officials

A Harvard University professor says universities should not give “respect or deference” to Trump administration officials.

Harvard professor Dani Rodrik, in an op-ed for The Boston Globe, calls Trump’s “shameful presidency” a “stain” universities should reject honoring, declaring that administration officials “should not be accorded the degree of respect or deference that their seniority and government positions would normally merit.”

[RELATED: ND students prove Pence right about civility at Commencement]

While Rodrik concedes that universities should “be open to diverse viewpoints,” he has an issue with “normalizing and odious presidency.”

“Trump violates on a daily basis the norms on which liberal democracy rests,” Rodrik claims. “He undermines freedom of the media and independence of the judiciary, upholds racism and sectarianism, and promotes prejudice. He blithely utters one falsehood after another.”

Citing the controversy over the University of Virginia’s appointment of former Trump advisor Marc Short to a senior fellow position, Rodrik criticizes UVA for expressing positive sentiments about anyone with ties to Trump.

“Trump’s close associates and political appointees are his enablers—regardless of their personal merits and how much they try to disassociate themselves from Trump’s utterances,” the professor adds. “Qualities like intelligence, effectiveness, integrity, and collegiality—words used by Miller Center Director William J. Antholis to justify Short’s appointment—have little to commend them when they are deployed to advance an illiberal political agenda.”

[RELATED: UVA profs quit program over hiring of former Trump official]

The economics professor at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government goes on to identify the “illiberal” political agenda of Trump and his supporters as a “stain” which “covers economic policy makers.”

Rodrik argues that Trump’s cabinet members and “high ranking” officials “deserve opprobrium not merely because they hold cranky views on, say, the trade deficit or economic relations with China, but also, and more importantly, because their continued service makes them fully complicit in Trump’s behavior.&rdqu

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Profs fear engineering exam may be biased against women

Two Kansas State University professors have discovered that women in engineering are 11.6 percent less likely to pass the field’s professional license exam, which they suggest may partly be due to “biases in the exam itself.”

To obtain a license, engineers must pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam after four years of field experience. Taken by a few thousand people each year, the eight-hour exam is typically considered the “gateway” to a long-term engineering career. 

But a new study casts concern over whether the exam is fair for female engineers. Led by Julia Keen and Anna Salvatorelli, the study finds that women taking the exam nationally are 11.6 percent less likely to pass, and that the disparity is even worse in certain states. 

[RELATED: Profs say female STEM grades don’t reflect ‘perceived effort’]

In Wyoming, for example, female test-takers were 37.5 percent less likely to pass than were males, while the pass rate for women taking the exam in Florida was 36.6 percent lower. Only in a handful of states, such as Montana, did women pass the exam at higher rates than men.

Nevertheless, nationwide, women were both less likely to pass and less likely to take the test at all than their male counterparts. 

Lead author Julia Keen says she was motivated to investigate after earning her PhD in Engineering and seeing many of her peers leave the field. 

Though Keen notes that women’s decision to leave engineering is influenced by many factors, during her dissertation research, she discovered that the PE exam repeatedly came up as a roadblock for women. 

[RELATED: Prof: Efforts to recruit women for STEM ‘may be backfiring’]

Not all engineering fields require the PE exams. But in fields where the engineering design cannot be tested prior to use, such as roads, bridges, and buildings, the PE exam is typically required as a “stamp of approval” for the individual prior to hire. 

According to Keen, it functions in the same way as the bar exam for lawyers, or the CPA exam for accountants, making it crucial for professional development, and yet one of the many ways women are kept from advancing in the field of engineering. 

More research is needed to determine why exactly women are passing the PE exam at lower rates than men, but in an interview with Cam

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