(CNSNews.com) - Ten colleges and universities are getting $30,000 each to create brand-new campus centers for "Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation."
The Association of American Colleges and Universities, which describes itself as an influential catalyst for educational improvement and reform, announced the awards last week.
AAC&U said the ten schools, listed below, were selected based on their proposals to "create positive narratives about race, identify and examine current realities of race relations in their communities, envision communities without entrenched racial hierarchies, and pinpoint levers for change and key individuals to engage." The goal is to "uproot the conscious and unconscious biases and misbeliefs that have exacerbated racial violence and tension in American society."
The initial award of $30,000 to each college or university comes with support from the Newman's Own Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The ten institutions selected as sites for the first Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Campus Centers are: Austin Community College (Texas); Brown University (R.I.); Duke University (N.C.); Hamline University (Minn.); Millsaps College (Miss.); Rutgers University (N.J.); Spelman College (Ga.); The Citadel, The Military College of S.C.; University of Hawai’i at Manoa; and University of Maryland/Baltimore County.
A total of 125 institutions filed applications.
“In the aftermath of the horrific, heartbreaking events in Charlottesville, we must not be silent," said AAC&U President Lynn Pasquerella. "Instead, we must harness our collective intellectual, social, and financial resources to transform words into action."
She added that AAC&U envisions the eventual establishment of 150 TRHT centers across the country -- "to ensure that higher education is playing a leadership role in promoting racial and social justice.”
Initiated in 2016 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation centers aim to "unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism, the main one being the belief in a 'hierarchy of human value.' This absurd belief, which has fueled racism and conscious and unconscious bias throughout American culture, is the perception of inferiority or superiority based on race, physical characteristics, or place of origin," the AAC&U news release said.
Brown University reportedly plans to use its first TRHT grant to "develop student-focused programming, including a discussion group for female Muslim students on campus and the expansion of a spring 2017 pilot discussion group for black students," the student newspaper said.
Coincidentally, several days after Brown received money to start on-campus racial healing centers, the university encountered friction from local Indian tribes.
On Sunday evening, the Pokanoket Tribe set up camp on 375 acres of land in Bristol, R.I., which was donated to Brown over the years.
One of the Native American protesters was quoted as saying the tribe has been “denied our birthright to our family’s land, our sovereignty rights, therefore states and powerful organizations have held our wealth over and over to the point that they believe it is their natural gift and natural right to have our property.”
In a statement released on Sunday, the university said it has “maintained clear legal title” to the Bristol land for more than 60 years.
“Brown expects opportunities for open dialogue with the Pokanoket as the University becomes more knowledgeable about their concerns,” the news release said.