Student news wrap 20/7/18

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Student news from around the world…

Wits adopts gender neutrality 

A proposal to the registrar’s office has seen the University of the Witwatersrand take the  decision to use gender neutral titles. Mr‚ Ms or Mrs will no longer be used to reflect a student’s designation in university correspondence or on student systems. While the decision has been welcomed across the university, Wits stated that while students could elect how to be addressed within the university community‚ it could not change a student’s title on any legal documentation like certificates. The university is obliged to obey the terms of the Alteration of Sex Description and Sex Status Act of 2003 which stipulates that a sex description can only be altered by an order from the director-general of Home Affairs.

Tish Lumos‚ programme co-ordinator for sexual orientation and gender identity advocacy, said there was an institutional culture in places of higher education that can be very isolating for people who were transgender‚ gender queer and non-binary. “We want people in our university community to feel safe‚ supported and ultimately respected. As a transgender person myself‚ it means a lot being in a space which is welcoming.” she added. –  You can read more on this story on the Times Live site.

Trump cancels affirmative action, uni’s fight back.

During his term in office, former president, Barack Obama, outlined recommendations for  colleges to use race as a factor in boosting minorities in higher education. Last week, the Justice Department announced the rollback of the guidelines, saying they were “unnecessary, outdated, inconsistent with existing law, or otherwise improper.” The decision has been rejected by close to a dozen top U.S. universities. Colleges that defy federal guidelines could be subject to a federal investigation or lawsuit or lose funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

Despite this, Harvard University and Brown University have both stated that they will maintain current policies, with Brown adding that the school would oppose any laws that would prevent it from doing so. Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York state system to adhere to existing diversity and inclusion plans. “The new federal action should have no bearing on admission policies and should not interfere with SUNY’s and CUNY’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive student body,” Cuomo wrote in an open letter to university trustees. “We will continue to work together to dismantle barriers to social and economic mobility and extend the promise of equal opportunity to all New Yorkers.”
California, has barred colleges from considering race in admissions along with Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington. – Read the full story on the Huffington Post site.

Feminist protestors continue occupation of Chilean campuses

When Universidad de Chile’s law faculty failed to sack Professor Carlos Carmona, who was accused of sexual harassing a student, the incident triggered a ‘feminist wave’  as 22 Chilean universities or faculties were taken over by students who demanded improved sexual harassment protocols and better conditions for female students. The takeovers, which started in mid-April, brought to light cases of faculty members accused of sexual harassment and abuse, forcing universities to take action.

Monday (July 9) saw the end of a 74 day feminist occupation of Universidad de Chile’s law faculty. However, 10 more, mostly state universities, are still under student occupation as
skirmishes continue between demonstrators and university administrators.

A study published by the ministry of Education regarding gender equity in higher education, found that 63% of Chilean undergraduates are female while women had more MAs than their male counterparts. Men however dominated PhDs and academic posts. The document also states that only one third of Chile’s 59 universities have sexual abuse protocols. – Read the full report on the University World News site.