The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that white supremacists who used social media to threaten and harass Taylor Dumpson, the first African American female student body president of American University in Washington D.C., were liable for over $700,000 in damages and attorneys’ fees.
In 2017, Taylor Dumpson was elected as American University’s student body president. The day after she was inaugurated, a hate crime targeted her on the basis of her race and gender. A masked person hung nooses around campus with bananas tied to them. Some bananas had “AKA” written on them – referencing Plaintiff’s historically black sorority.
Others read “Harambe bait,” referencing a gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo as a racist and threatening comparison to African Americans. Defendant Andrew Anglin, an avowed neo-Nazi and publisher of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, then directed his white supremacist followers to threaten and harass her on social media to amplify the harm of the hate crime.
In addition to other allegations, the suit alleged that Defendants interfered with the Ms. Dumpson’s ability to fully enjoy places of public accommodation and interfered with her equal opportunity to education. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and pro bono counsel Kirkland & Ellis LLP, along with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Plaintiff.
In 1953 the Marshall Scholarship program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.
The scholarships provide funds for up to three years of study at a British university, travel, living expenses, and a book allowance. Since the inception of the program, more than 1,900 Americans have studied in the United Kingdom as Marshall Scholars.
This year 43 Marshall Scholarships were given out. While the British government does not publicize the race or ethnicity of Marshall Scholars, it appears that there are four African Americans among the 43 Marshall Scholars. The four African American Marshall Scholars are in sharp contrast to the record of 10 African Americans who were among the 32 American students awarded Rhodes Scholarships this year. (See JBHE post.)
Josephine Cook is a senior neuroscience and psychology double-major at Queens College of the City University of New York. She plans to complete a Ph.D. at either Imperial College London or Brunel University, focusing on how dance therapy can be used to rehabilitate neurological disorders. Upon completing the degree and returning to the United States, she hopes to open a clinic dedicated to arts therapy and neurorehabilitation.
Kobi Felton is a senior at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, where he is majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in Spanish. He will pursue a master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Cambridge beginning in fall 2018 and then a master’s degree in nanomaterials at Imperial College London in the second year of his Marshall Scholarship.
Aasha Jackson is a 2015 graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. While at Brown, Jackson served as senior editor for the Brown Human Rights Report, a student-run online publication, and co-founded the university’s chapter of She’s the First, a national nonprofit that supports girls who will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. She is now serving as a policy associate in the Office of Population and Reproductive Health at the United States Agency for International Development. Jackson plans to use her Marshall Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Cambridge and a master’s degree in reproductive and sexual health research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Craig Stevens graduated from American University in Washington, D.C., this December with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Currently, Stevens is an archaeological technician at AECOM, a civil engineering firm that employs archaeologists to assess construction sites prior to breaking ground. As a Marshall Scholar at University College London, he will study advanced techniques for analyzing ceramics and conducting mixed-methods research relevant to archaeological practice.
The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced the selection of the 2017 Truman Scholars. Each Truman Scholar is awarded up to $30,000 for graduate study. They also receive priority admission to several top-tier graduate schools, have career and graduate school counseling opportunities, and are fast-tracked for internships within the federal government.
Truman Scholars must be U.S. citizens and be in the top 25 percent of their college class. They must express a commitment to government service or the nonprofit sector. Since the establishment of the program in 1975, 3,139 students have been named Truman Scholars.
This year, 62 Truman scholars were selected from 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. While the foundation does not release data on the racial and ethnic make up of Truman Scholars, a JBHE analysis of this year’s class of 62 Truman Scholars, concludes that it appears that 8, or 12.9 percent, are African Americans. Here are brief biographies of the African Americans named Truman Scholars this year:
Dontae Bell is a junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., studying economics and military science. He is a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and was selected as a pilot candidate this spring. After graduation, Dontae will commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Eventually, he hopes to earn a master of public administration degree before pursuing a career in public service.
Taylor Cofield is a junior political science and international studies major with a minor in Middle East studies at the University of Missouri. She also is studying Arabic. Cofield is a member of the university’s track team and is current legislative intern with the Missouri State Senate. Upon graduation, she hopes to fulfill a two-year assignment in the Peace Corps and then pursue a dual master’s and law degree program in contemporary Arab studies and national security law.
Lexis Ivers is a third-year student at American University in Washington, D.C., where she studies law and policy. She is the founder and director of Junior Youth Action DC, a mentorship program focused on the academic and personal development of foster youth. She plans to pursue a career in child welfare law, which will allow her to advocate for children when foster care systems fail. Continue reading “Eight African Americans Earn Truman Scholarships for Graduate Study in 2017”→
The Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C., has named Camille A. Nelson as its next dean. She will become dean on July 25.
Professor Nelson was dean of the Suffolk University Law School in Boston from 2010 to 2015. She continues to teach at the law school. Before joining the faculty at Suffolk University, Professor Nelson taught for nearly a decade at the Saint Louis University School of Law. Before entering the academic world, she was a clerk for the Supreme Court of Canada. She was the first Black woman to clerk for Canada’s highest court.
A native of Jamaica, Professor Nelson is a graduate of the University of Toronto and earned a law degree at the University of Ottawa. She also holds a master’s degree in law from Columbia University.
Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, is establishing the Perry E. Wallace Scholarship to honor the first African American to play a varsity sport in the Southeastern Conference. The scholarship will be awarded to a student in the School of Engineering, where Wallace earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970. Wallace is now a professor in the College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C.
After graduating from Vanderbilt, Wallace went on to earn a law degree at Columbia University. He then worked for the U.S. Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency. Before joining the faculty at American University in 1993, Professor Wallace taught at Howard University and the University of Baltimore.