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30 years ago, Lehigh University gave Donald Trump an honorary degree.

Students at the university chose the New York real estate tycoon to be their commencement speaker. It may sound strange to some in 2018, but in 1988, Trump was far less controversial and more of an aspirational figure. Lehigh spokesperson Lori Friedman noted it was customary for a commencement speaker to receive an honorary degree from the university.

Decades later, voting to take away that degree has become a way to send a message about inclusivity and tolerance.


Citing Trump's "racist" and "sexist" comments, Lehigh faculty has voted to strip away that honor.

Trump actually had five honorary degrees — now, he'll have three. Robert Gordon University in Scotland rescinded another in 2015. Two others are from Liberty University, and the third was an honorary doctorate of humane letters awarded by Wagner College in 2004.

President Trump received a honorary degree from Liberty University in 2017.  Photo by Nyttend

In January, Lehigh faculty members put forward a motion to rescind Trump's honorary degree. In a letter posted to the university website, the proposed motion reads:

"When we adopt this motion we send a message to each other, to our staff and students, and to the world at large that we do not accept sexist, racist, demeaning speech, speech that marginalizes, intimidates, and limits the potential of people based on gender, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical ability."

A vote was held and passed with more than 80% of the faculty supporting it.

Michael Raposa, who helped draft the motion, said it's a statement about Trump's language and behavior, not his politics. "We did not want this to be a debate about politics," he said.

The faculty's motion will now be presented to the university's board of trustees to make the final decision. If the degree is rescinded, it won't be the first time Lehigh University has removed an honorary degree. They made a similar decision in 2015 to rescind Bill Cosby's degree in light of allegations of sexual misconduct.

The larger message is that people who, like Trump, say and do hurtful things are no longer guaranteed the privilege of enjoying symbols of respect, like his honorary degree. "It's really important that the faculty has spoken," Raposa said.

Trump has a long, controversial history with the education system.

During the 2016 election, a lawsuit was filed against Trump and the now-defunct Trump University, with former students saying they were misled on a number of fronts about what they were getting for their time and money.

Since becoming president, Trump has also been criticized for his appointment of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.

He's even felt it necessary to defend his own education:

"You know, people don’t understand. I went to an Ivy League college," Trump told reporters last fall; he graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. "I was a nice student. I did very well. I'm a very intelligent person."

The Lehigh faculty vote isn't petty — it's a way of defending values without being partisan.

A few Trump supporters have criticized the decision, but really, the only potential victim in this story is Trump's ego. Yes, some of his fiercest critics will enjoy watching him being publicly reprimanded.

But the real message is that part of receiving an education is learning to respect your fellow students and people in general. Rather than lash out at Trump personally, the faculty of Lehigh are instead choosing to effectively pull an endorsement because of his bad personal behavior. We may not always be able to stop people from behaving badly, but refusing to celebrate and empower that kind of behavior is a good place to start.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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