News Highlights: Week of May 1

Harvard Seeks to Write ‘Puritans’ Out of Its Alma Mater, by Matt Stevens and Anemona Hartocollis of The New York Times

Campuses are renaming buildings to repudiate their exclusionary past. They want a process that, as the President of Yale put it recently, “ensures respect” for the good part of their legacy. Now Harvard is having a competition to rewrite the problematic last line of their traditional alma mater suggesting the Puritans had the final word on truth. Those running the competition explain they are looking for something that builds on valuable messages from the past while adding more inclusive language for the present.   

Harvard Sees Gains in Faculty Diversity, by Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed

Speaking of Harvard, diversity numbers are notably, if modestly, improving. White male tenured and tenure-track faculty is at a historic low. Within underrepresented groups, the percentage of men rose from 4.1% to 5.2%; for women the rise was from .9% to 2.5%. The numbers are encouraging but some may conclude jumps of only two to three percent warrant cautious optimism at best.

Here’s why women, blacks and Hispanics are leaving tech, by Jessica Guynn of USA Today

Here are some highlights from a new report that explores the lack of diversity in the tech industry: LGBT employees leave companies due to bullying and public humiliation, men and women of color leave due to unfairness, and women of color are denied promotion more than any other group. The researchers point out that culture, in contrast to pipeline issues, is a major cause of underrepresentation.

NSF’s uphill road to making prestigious early career award more diverse, by Jeffrey Mervis of Science Magazine

A $1 million award from The National Science Foundation has gone to only five women—and no women of color —over its 41- year history. Until recently, candidates had to meet early-career criteria that women, who often have more career interruptions and face potent biases, can find tough to meet. And there are other barriers: many steps that lead to the award are not officially taught. Instead, they’re handed down through an “old boys’ network.” One member of the selection committee says,  “The old excuse—that there are none who are good enough—is no longer valid.”

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