2007: A Year In Review
The most high-profile story of the year touching the higher education community was undisputedly the killings at Virginia Tech in April when student Seung-Hui Cho opened fire, leaving 33 people dead, including himself. To date, it is the deadliest campus shooting in U.S. history, however, in September the Delaware State University community was also touched by gun violence as a fellow student shot two DSU students. One of the victims later died of her injuries.
The tragic loss of life, which included those of faculty, staff and students, raised many issues concerning campus safety, gun violence and the
confidentiality and availability of student psychiatric services. Since the VT shootings, a federal list of mentally ill people barred from buying guns has doubled; and more colleges and universities, are reviewing, testing and implementing campus emergency alert systems using a variety of methods including text messaging, voice mails and online instant messages.
Less than two weeks before the VT incident, the higher education community and the rest of the country watched as the career of top-rated radio host Don Imus seemed to unravel. Imus referred to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy headed hos” a day after the team lost to Tennessee in the NCAA women’s championship game, igniting outrage even from within the media industry. Imus later apologized to the team and just recently returned to the airwaves after being fired from MSNBC and CBS Radio. All the while, several incidents of racial insensitivity involving students were reported
this year, as a number of student groups held “gangsta” themed parties — mocking Black stereotypes.
On a different note, the image of the $85-billion student loan industry took a hit this year as it was uncovered that a number of financial aid officials had a financial stake in some student loan companies and were receiving kickbacks from student lenders. As a result, the U.S. Department of Education has been proposing new rules to improve accountability in a student loan system, which education secretary Margaret Spellings told a House education committee panel needs an overhaul and “is redundant, it’s byzantine and it’s broken.”
In other headlines, students continued to press for immigrants’ rights, namely for undocumented students, which in most states are denied in-state tuition rates. And U.S. News & World Report college rankings continued to feel the heat as a number of presidents earlier this year discussed boycotting at least some aspects of the rankings.
Our “Year in Review” would not be complete if we didn’t remember the people we lost throughout the year — Dr. Elias Blake, Dr. Asa G. Hilliard and Eddie Robinson — just to name a few.
And though not an exhaustive list, the following pages include additional significant events that occurred throughout the year.
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Could training in implicit bias be helpful at your institution?