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Risking It All

When we first began reporting on the situation at Texas Southern University in April, “Texas Southern President Placed on Leave While Investigation Into Spending Continues,” the article and subsequent articles got the attention of many of our readers. After all, under the leadership of Dr. Priscilla Slade, TSU appeared to be moving in a positive direction. The fact that Slade was under investigation and later terminated came as a shock to many in the Black college community.

So to get a better understanding of what really happened in this case, senior editor Christina Asquith headed to Houston in October.

Upon her arrival, Christina found a campus community that is very much committed to TSU and one that is disappointed and saddened by the current series of events. She also found a university that is experiencing tremendous growth, as TSU staff gave her a tour of the various construction projects underway on campus. But what surprised Christina the most were three students, known as the “TSU 3,” who assisted authorities and played a significant role in uncovering much of the alleged wrongdoings on campus.

“These students were willing to risk everything to right this wrong,” Christina says.

The students did, in fact, risk a lot, as they were often harassed and one was even suspended. One of the students says he was offered everything from a job to a semester abroad in Italy, in efforts, he believes, to keep him quiet. In “Trouble at Texas Southern,” Christina chronicles the series of events that would eventually cost Slade her job and, possibly, her freedom.

In other features, Diverse contributing editor Lydia Lum reports on the growing recognition Japanese-American draft resisters of World War II are now receiving. More than 300 men of Japanese descent refused to be drafted into the U.S. military in the 1940s, contending that they shouldn’t risk their lives for a country that had forced 120,000 Japanese-Americans, including themselves and their families, into internment camps. Their controversial positions led to prison terms for draft dodging and ostracism by other Japanese-Americans, even including some of their family members, Lydia writes.

Diverse correspondent Cassie Chew profiles Dr. Christopher Cooper, a professor at Saint Xavier University in Illinois. From high school dropout to college professor, Cooper, needless to say, has an interesting story to tell, compounded by the fact that he was deployed to Iraq in 2004 as a member of the National Guard. Unfortunately, his military service has left him with some chronic medical problems that have made teaching somewhat challenging. Read more about him in “An Unlikely Scholar.”

In this edition, we also profile Princeton engineering professor Dr. William A. Massey, who was recently recognized for his mentoring of minority mathematicians, and we review a book that is generating a lot of buzz, Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American Family, by Dr. Rosanna Hertz, a Wellesley College professor.

Hilary Hurd Anyaso

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