Dr. Avery August , Cornell’s Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and leader of the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, shared his optimism with The Sun that the past six months offered an opportunity for higher education to change for the better.
In 2018, a Mellon Foundation report showed that 84 percent of museum curators and 88 percent of museum leadership are white. These are the people who decide what voices and what artwork gets championed. And what doesn’t.
Cornell University is prized as being the most diverse institution in the Ivy League, with 46 percent of undergraduates identifying as minorities and 11 percent as international students. Students come from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and often bring customs and traditions from home. The diversity of the student body brings with it a diverse palette. Cornell Dining, consistently ranked in the top ten dining programs in the country, prides itself on being able to meet the dietary needs of their students by serving diverse cuisine and accommodating various restrictions. The menus at dining halls frequently feature foods from a variety of cultures.
Women who don’t feel comfortable participating in these activities may miss out on promotions and client relationships, exacerbating the problem of investment management being thought of as a “boys club” that women have to fight to be included in.
Sometime last week, I stumbled across a LinkedIn post titled “Boy + General category = no future.” Attached was a first-person-account of the tech industry. A male candidate and a female candidate had taken a coding challenge for a Google Internship. The former scored 200/200 and the latter — the female — scored 5/200. The female was selected. The rant went on: “I saw 100s of posts on LinkedIn where only girls have been shortlisted for further interviews …
“The whole experience was humiliating … I was embarrassed and felt incredibly disrespected by the members of the group,” she said. “I feel that if I were a white man, I wouldn’t have been treated that way. Black women are often not met with the respect that they deserve and this interview was a prime example of that.”
“You look at the floor, and it looks diverse. But there’s really no interaction with diverse team members — [they] aren’t going to lunch together, they aren’t collaborating together, they are not called on in team meetings …They’re kind of isolated.”
Raised in a crowded, barely middle-class Somalian home, Cornell physician-scientist Prof. Said Ibrahim never thought being a doctor was in the cards for him. “Medical school was reserved for wealthy elites,” he previously said, noting that his family was sustained only by his father’s income of about $50 a month.