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Two Steps Back, Two Steps Forward

Two Steps Back, Two Steps Forward

My e-mail account experienced increased activity during Black Issues’ press time as subscribers, freelancers and friends gave me the heads up about members of two White fraternities at Auburn University that dressed up for Halloween as Ku Klux Klan members and others as members of the Black fraternity Omega Psi Phi — in blackface and all. 
Hearing about it was bad enough, seeing the photos leaves you outraged. It’s hard for me to believe that in the year 2001 some college students sat around, came up with this idea — and actually thought it was a good one. It’s also hard for me to believe they didn’t think their costumes would be offensive. Reportedly, neither one of the fraternities had Black members. And to think that some courts have ruled that the educational benefits of diversity are not a compelling interest. We will be reporting on this incident more in-depth in a subsequent edition of Black Issues.  
 And although White “educated” fraternity members dressed in blackface  and hooded robes is two steps back, two steps forward is the increasing number of Black professionals seeking business doctorates with the help of the PhD Project. The mission of the PhD Project is to diversify the faculties of business schools with the end result of increasing the minority work force. The PhD Project, because of its effectiveness in increasing the number of minority business faculty, is serving as a model for non-business doctoral programs and is also changing the way business schools recruit students, particularly students of color (see story, page 26).
In addition to the PhD Project, in our annual Careers edition, Black Issues is looking at several aspects of business — business school faculty, business schools, business school accreditation issues and MBA pipeline programs, such as Management Leadership for Tomorrow. A Harvard Business School graduate John Rice began the Management Leadership for Tomorrow program after working with a professor to research programs that helped minorities pursue careers in business. The program pairs minority college students with business executives, who serve as mentors. Having been down the path before, the mentors see their roles as helping the students make good choices (see story, page 38).
As the country is still dealing with the after effects of Sept. 11, Black Issues attended two forums with an international focus. One study abroad conference, sponsored by Michigan State University, dealt with the safety and security measures colleges and universities should take to protect themselves and their students studying abroad.
Black Issues also attended a roundtable discussion between Arab and American students at the University of Maryland College Park. As you will read in the article, the students were often frustrated as they battled stereotypes about their own groups — the U.S. as “global bully” and the Middle Eastern countries as producing “global terrorists.” Interestingly enough, the students blamed both the Arab and American media for perpetuating negative stereotypes of each group and were skeptical that roundtable discussions would bring them closer to a common understanding. But beginning a dialogue — clarifying misconceptions and overcoming stereotypes — is at the very least, a start (see story, page 14). 

Hilary Hurd


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