Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Letters

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Letters

Article excerpt

Making Academia Less 'Toxic'

What has changed? As someone who has been committed to, and involved with, the issue of under representation of minorities in the biomedical sciences, first at the University of Michigan Medical School (UMMS), and since 1996, at CSU Dominguez Hills, as a faculty member and administrator, I fully recognize the significant role that the environment plays in the recruitment and retention of individuals of color and women in academia. Thus, when the article entitled "Changing the Face of American Medicine" (see Diverse, Oct. 20) contained the word "toxic" to describe the environment for minority faculty (Dr. Denise Cora-Bramble), I was immediately struck by the fact that back in the early '90's, an external cultural audit of UMMS used the term "toxigenic" to describe the climate for Black students, staff and faculty there!

Perhaps the most distressing fact about this is not that so little has changed in almost 15 years, but rather, that academicians have not worked harder to change that "toxic" environment, as demonstrated by comments from presidents of major universities as well as decisions by faculty search committees to not only "change the face" of the professoriate, butto make it uncomfortable for those that do "succeed in getting in! …

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