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When a beloved professor was denied tenure, these students took action.

One Ivy League university isn't doing well on the subject of diversity.

When a beloved professor was denied tenure, these students took action.
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Aspen Institute

In May 2016, Aimee Bahng, an assistant professor at Dartmouth College, was denied tenure — despite unanimous support from her colleagues and glowing recommendations from her students.

Image via Dr. Su Yun Kim, used with permission.


In addition to being beloved on campus, Bahng is also said to be a brilliant teacher with a wide range of expertise. She specializes in Asian-American literature, feminist science and technology studies, and queer theory. But she is perhaps most well-known on campus as a community organizer who brings students of color together.

She helped found — in response to the death of Michael Brown and the failure to indict Darren Wilson — the Ferguson Teaching Collective at Dartmouth and teaches a popular course centered on Black Lives Matter.

Image via Gerry Lauzon/Flickr.

The denial of her tenure — especially considering Dartmouth's stated commitment to make its faculty more diverse — was especially troubling.

"Once we sort of got past the anger, we were kind of shocked," Melissa Padilla, a Mexican student attending Dartmouth, told The Associated Press. "We didn't understand why the college would not take this opportunity to keep a professor of color on campus that is not only providing the academic prestige they want but is also mentoring students of color."

Dartmouth is bound by confidentiality when it comes to discussing the tenure process. But some believe the decision to deny Bahng tenure is due to the advisory committee's inability to evaluate her experimental work and service responsibilities.

Bahng said she would appeal the school's decision. However, she can't officially start the process until she receives an official letter from the school explaining her rejection. Tricky.

Image via Institute for Humanities Research/Vimeo.

The decision struck students as uncalled for and unfair. So they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Students started using the hashtags #Fight4FacultyOfColor and #DontDoDartmouth on social media in order to spotlight the story as much as possible. And the effort is paying off.

The movement has spread. Students from around the country are uniting as one to express their support and are fighting the good fight with Bahng.

This is all the way across the country in USC. Image via Kaitlin Foe, used with permission.

The students also banded together with teachers to start a petition directed at the higher-ups.

They rallied to spread Bahng's story on Change.org and now have over 3,600 signatures supporting the cause. They also gained some powerful words of encouragement from the public.

Screenshot via Change.org.

Students even rallied together to organize a symbolic "funeral," mourning the loss of their departed teachers.

It was a bold move, but it sent a powerful message across campus.

Image via Mariko Whitenack, used with permission.

Whatever the outcome, it's inspiring to see the student community working together to create real change.

We've seen students demand their school take down a symbol of oppression. We've seen students come together to help end sexual violence. And we're seeing students across the country stand up for more diversity among faculty and speak out against what they perceive to be unfairness.

Whatever happens with professor Bahng, one thing is clear — there are many students out there who care deeply about important issues and will continue to fight for what they truly believe is right.

Loudly. Together.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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In 2015, Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price had a life-changing epiphany.

Price, who founded Gravity with his brother in 2004, was out hiking in the Cascade Mountains with his friend, Valerie. She told him her landlord had raised her rent by $200 and she was struggling to get by on her $40,000 a year income. Price, who was making $1.1 million a year as CEO of Gravity, was struck by her story. Not only did he feel for Valerie—a military veteran working two jobs and barely making ends meet—realized that some of his own employees might be facing similar struggles.

And they were. One employee frankly told him his entry-level salary was a rip-off. Another employee had secretly been working at McDonald's outside of work hours to make ends meet. So Price decided to make a drastic change by investing in his employees.

He researched how much money the average person would need in order to live comfortably and settled on $70,000 a year. In one fell swoop, he dropped his own salary to that amount, while also making it the minimum salary for anyone who worked at Gravity.

The move drew media coverage—and dire predictions from pundits. On Fox News and other conservative outlets he was called "foolish," a "socialist" and a "lunatic of lunatics." Rush Limbaugh called the company policy "pure unadulterated socialism" that was "going to fail" and should be a case study in MBA programs on how socialism doesn't work. Talking heads predicted that his employees would end up in the welfare line.

Six years later, Price has proved the haters wrong—by a lot.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less