Science and Perspective.


February 2018

How we (should) respond to hate

On February 16th, I opened my email to see the best written response to hate messaging I have seen in almost 6 years at this university.

Here are the key points:

1: The Message is specific. We know exactly what happened.

2: It specifically identifies the behavior, and the individuals that support it as being unwanted within our community.

3: University activities to correct the situation and support affected students is mentioned directly.

4: The core values are mentioned “tolerance, diversity and excellence”

5: It is signed by a specific person in their official capacity, who has taken ownership of the issue. This indicates that they are leading by example toward building a culture of tolerance, diversity and excellence.

Thank you, Scott Walter.

I look forward to seeing your response when international students are put upon again in the future.

swastika response


The biggest minority in academia

Critically thinking about minority status.

We hear minority all the time. It has become one of those words that people say but do not really understand at the core. Like “Liberal”, “Communist”, etc. these words often have a standardized meaning you find in the dictionary, but can be used in various contexts with different connotation and meaning depending on who is speaking, to whom and most importantly, about whom.

So, let us begin with defining minority (As I use it)

  • A minority is a group within a larger group. (I think we can agree on that).
  • The minority group can be a numerical minority, meaning there are fewer of them than others in the group.
  • The minority can be a power minority, meaning that as individuals or as a group, they have less power. Less power can mean less autonomy, democratic representation, ability to make decisions for themselves or the group, and less ability to move into the privileged group.

So what happens if we apply this standard definition to all of our groups within academia?

A Thought Experiment

I cannot do this part for you.

Think of your favorite minority (M).

In your mind you might choose “Asian-American”, “Black”, “Gender non-conforming”, “Latinx”, “Mentally Challenged”, “Native American”, “Puerto Ricans”, etc.

Now choose your favorite privileged group (P).

In your mind this may be “Males”, “Active Military”, “Rich folk”, “Mainlanders” etc.


These are all common examples of minorities and privileged groups in English-speaking, North American.

Now, substitute your favorite minority into the following statements and phrases. Replace the (M) with a minority and the (P) with a Privileged group. Extra points for publishing it to your social media feed.

  1. Even after paying for their tuition (M)___________________ have no legal right to be on campus.
  1. (P)___________________ should be allowed to work 22 hours a week. (M)__________________ should only be allowed to work 20 hours a week.
  1. Before (M)_________________ come to University, they should provide a bank statement to prove they can afford three years of tuition.
  1. (P)_________________ should pay less than (M)_________________ for education at our University.
  1. After arriving at our University, (M) _____________________ should submit to a blood test to ensure they do not have a communicable disease. If they do not submit to the test, they should be dropped from their classes.
  2. Our University should not hire (M)_________________ this year.

How did you do? Did your minority win? Did it feel good to say any of these things?

How angry would you be if that statement about your minority was an active policy on your campus?

Should you be upset if it is a different minority? No, seriously, go back and put all the other minorities you can think of on those lines.

Did you find the sweet spot? That minority you are okay with doing those things to? Ask your friends, find out where their line is.

The reality
Each of these is a redacted version of an active written policy that affects one group on campuses across the United States of America and much of the western world. Some of them were edited for length and content.

International students are members of your academic community. There are no laws that protect them as a minority group. No laws to protect them from policies that specifically target them. (I do love to be corrected though, so please do.)

I hope this allowed you to think about your policies and how they affect those around you. Say “hello” to an international scholar today. Ask how they are doing.

Go to your policy and information manual and search for international students. Check the disparities.

Good luck.

Love, Honor, Justice.


A riddle

What is the farthest we can be from something while being as close to it as possible? The other side of a wall.

-Leno Davis January 31, 2018

Feb 9 application deadline for Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program (MICHHERS)

Ancilleno Davis, PhD. Candidate Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology- Miami University, Oxford Ohio

The University of Michigan invites outstanding individuals to apply for the Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program (MICHHERS). This program is designed to encourage rising seniors, recent B.A.s and terminal Master’s students from diverse cultural, economic, geographic, and ethnic backgrounds to consider pursuing a doctoral degree in humanities at the University of Michigan. Our goal is to attract diverse scholars with unique experiences who foster innovation and push the humanities to meet today’s challenges. For 2018, students interested in the fields of Asian Languages and Cultures, Classical Studies, English, History, Linguistics, Romance Languages and Literatures, Sociology (qualitative), and Women’s Studies (any humanities field) are eligible.

This summer research experience, running from Monday, June 11 to Saturday, June 23, 2018, will help students learn about the various fields within their chosen discipline along with the latest methodologies and developments from faculty in individual departments. Students will have the opportunity to work on a piece of their own scholarship or develop a research project in consultation with U-M faculty and graduate students in their field. Attention will also be given to articulating the importance of diversity to the development of the humanities. Students will receive practical instruction on applying to graduate school and pursuing careers inside and outside academia.

Apply for the Michigan Humanities Emerging Research Scholars Program


Application Deadline Feb 9 2018 11:59PM EST

Applications and supporting documentation must be received online by Friday, February 9, 2018 11:59PM Eastern time.

Final decisions will be made by the middle of March.

Eligibility Requirements

We are not able to accept students currently enrolled at the University of Michigan.

  • We seek rising seniors, bachelor’s degree holders, and those currently in terminal M.A. programs, who are United States citizens, permanent residents, or non-U.S. citizens with DACA. Please note, those who are currently applying to enroll in a doctoral program for Fall 2018 are ineligible to participate in MICHHERS.
  • We seek students who come from an educational, cultural, or geographic background that is underrepresented in graduate study in their discipline in the United States or at the University of Michigan.
  • To apply, students should have a compelling record of academic accomplishments.

For 2018, students interested in the fields of Asian Languages and Cultures, Classical Studies, English, History, Linguistics, Romance Languages and Literatures, Sociology (qualitative) and Women’s Studies (any field in the humanities) are eligible.

Application Materials

Your application must include:

  • A brief essay (approximately 500 words) on your academic and professional background and goals.
  • Unofficial transcripts reflecting all undergraduate and graduate work (if applicable) through December 2017. If you completed a degree at a community college that transcript should also be included.
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation.
  • An academic writing sample (between 7 to 15 pages double spaced). This paper should be a piece of original scholarship but does not necessarily need to have been written for a course. The writing sample should be submitted under the “Research Paper” section of the application.
  • Please upload a research plan in PDF format. There is no minimum length for your research statement, so it can be either a brief statement or a more detailed one, depending on the information you include. Consider the questions below, pick some to answer and make that your research plan:
    • What would you like to know more about in your field of interest? (This could be in relation to your writing sample or a new topic that interests you.)
    • Why are you interested in that?
    • What made you think of this topic? (For instance, you can make reference to a reading you did, a class you took).
    • How do you think we can we help you pursue this topic? (For instance, suggest additional readings, teach me how to analyze the material I am interested in; suggest new sources of data.
    • What do you hope to gain from participation in this program?

All application materials should be submitted through the Rackham website. Paper copies will not be accepted.

For questions email rackmichhers

Application Deadline

Applications and supporting documentation must be received online by Friday, February 9, 2018 11:59PM Eastern time.

Final decisions will be made by the middle of March.

Benefits – All Expenses Paid

  • $1,000 stipend
  • University Housing
  • Round trip travel cost (up to $550)
  • Application fee waiver for U-M

Last updated: December 18, 2017 – 2:47pm

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