Social Justice and Equity
  • Inequality
    The U.S. Inequality Debate
    Public policy experts call income and wealth inequality one of the defining challenges of this century. Recent crises have accelerated these divisions, and the COVID-19 pandemic has deepened them further.   
  • Elections and Voting
    Religion and Voting Rights
    Kelly Brown Douglas, dean of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, and Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, discussed the history of the…
  • Japan
    Glen S. Fukushima: Japanese Capitalism and Its Lessons for the United States
    Among G7 countries, Japan and the United States are the polar extremes in the type of capitalisms they represent. Although Japan today faces challenges of its own, its experience offers some lessons for the United States.
  • Race and Ethnicity
    Renewing America Series: Countering White Supremacist Violence
    According to a recent ADL report, white supremacists were responsible for more murders in the United States in 2021 than any other type of extremist. Panelists discuss how various forms of hate take root in society and grow into larger acts of violence, both in the United States and abroad. With its Renewing America initiative, CFR is evaluating nine critical domestic issues that shape the ability of the United States to navigate a demanding, competitive, and dangerous world. This meeting is cosponsored by CFR’s Religion and Foreign Policy program.
  • Politics and Government
    Renewing America Series: The History of American Democracy
    Panelists discuss historical context and perspective for the current state of democracy in the United States. This meeting is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy. With its Renewing America initiative, CFR is evaluating nine critical domestic issues that shape the ability of the United States to navigate a demanding, competitive, and dangerous world.
  • Political History and Theory
    Virtual Roundtable: The Cycle of American History
    ROSE: Welcome, everybody. My name is Gideon Rose. I'm the Mary and David Boies Distinguished Fellow in US Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, and it's my distinct pleasure to welcome …
  • Religion
    America's Human Rights Credibility Gap
    Cornell William Brooks, Hauser professor of the practice of nonprofit organizations and professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice at Harvard University, and Kathryn Sikkink, R…
  • Inequality
    Virtual Roundtable: The Persistence of Social Hierarchy
    It seems that on race, everything changes and nothing does—even as many rural white Americans feel ignored and scorned by cosmopolitan elites. How should we understand today’s communal tensions, and is it possible to transcend them? In this third session in The Threats to American Democracy Roundtable Series, two of the world’s leading authorities on the subject discuss.  The Threats to American Democracy Roundtable Series explores various threats to American democracy. This meeting is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.​​​​​​
  • Economics
    Virtual Roundtable: The Rise of Economic Inequality
    The rich have gotten richer as workers’ wages have stagnated, social mobility has declined, and regional economic divisions have sharpened. Who wouldn’t be angry? In this second session in The Threats to American Democracy Roundtable Series, two of the world’s leading authorities on the subject discuss. The Threats to American Democracy Roundtable Series explores various threats to American democracy. This meeting is part of the Diamonstein-Spielvogel Project on the Future of Democracy.
  • Education
    Academic Webinar: Race in America and International Relations
    Travis L. Adkins, deputy assistant administrator for Africa at USAID and lecturer of African and security studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service and in the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University, and Brenda Gayle Plummer, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, led a conversation on race in America and international relations. FASKIANOS: Welcome to the first session of the CFR Fall 2021 Academic Webinar Series. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach at CFR. Today’s meeting is on the record, and the video and transcript will be available on our website if you would like to share it with your colleagues or classmates. As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. We’re delighted to have Travis Adkins and Brenda Gayle Plummer with us to discuss race in America and international relations. Travis Adkins is deputy assistant administrator in the Bureau of Africa at USAID, and lecturer of African and security studies at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, and in the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown University. As an international development leader, he has two decades of experience working in governance, civil society, and refugee and migration affairs in over fifty nations throughout Africa and the Middle East. Mr. Adkins was a CFR international affairs fellow and is a CFR member. Dr. Brenda Gayle Plummer is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research includes race and gender, international relations, and civil rights. Dr. Plummer has taught Afro-American history throughout her twenty years of experience in higher education. Previously she taught at Fisk University, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Minnesota. And from 2001 to 2005, Dr. Plummer served on the Historical Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of State. So, thank you both for being with us today. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Travis, I thought we could begin with you to talk about the ways in which you’ve seen race relations in America influence U.S. foreign policy. ADKINS: Sure. Thank you so much, Irina. And welcome to everyone. Thank you for joining. The first thing I would say is that America’s long history of violence, exclusion, and barbarism towards Black people and indigenous people and Asian communities and immigrant communities in the United States have worked to give the lie to the notion of who we say we are in terms of freedom, in terms of democracy, in terms of the respect for human rights. And these are the core messages that we seek to project in our foreign policy. And we’ve not been able to resolve those contradictions because we have refused to face this history, right? And we can’t countenance a historical narrative in which we are not the heroes, not the good guys, not on the right side of history. And the challenge that we’ve had is that we’ve seen that play out in so many ugly ways domestically. But it also has resonance and relevance in our foreign policy, because what it ends up doing is essentially producing a foreign policy of platitudes and contradictory posturing on the issues of human rights, on the issues of racial justice, on the issues of democratic governance when the world can see not only this history but this present reality of racial discrimination, of police brutality, of efforts to suppress the political participation of specific groups of people inside of America. They can see children in cages at the Southern border. They can see anti-Asian hate taking place in our nation, and they can hear those messages resounding, sometimes from our White House, sometimes from our Senate, sometimes from our Congress and other halls of power throughout the United States. And that works against the message of who we say we are, which is really who we want to be. But the thing that we, I think, lose out on is pretending that where we want to be is actually where we are. And I think back a couple weeks ago Secretary Blinken came out saying to diplomats in the State Department that it was okay for them to admit America’s flaws and failings in their diplomatic engagements with other countries. But I would—I do applaud that. But I also think that saying that we would admit it to the rest of the world—the rest of the world already knows. And who we would have to need to focus on admitting it to is ourselves, because we have not faced this national shame of ours as it relates to the historical and the present reality of White supremacy, of racialized violence and hatred and exclusion in our immigration policy, in our education policy, in our law and customs and cultural mores that have helped to produce ongoing violence and hatred of this nature in which our history is steeped. I think the other part of that is that we lose the opportunity to then share that message with the rest of the world. And so, what I like to say is that our real history is better than the story that we tell. So instead of us framing ourselves and our foreign policy as a nation who fell from the heavens to the top of a mountain, it’s a more powerful story to say that we climbed up out of a valley and are still climbing up out of a valley of trying to create and produce and cultivate a multiracial, multiethnic democracy with respect for all, and that that is and has been a struggle. And I think that that message is much more powerful. And what it does is it creates healing for us at home, but it also begins to take away this kind of Achilles’ heel that many of our adversaries have used historically—the Soviet Union, now Russia, China, Iran—this notion that democracy and freedom and the moral posturing of America is all for naught if you just look at what they do at home. Who are they to preach to you about these things when they themselves have the same challenges? And so I think that we would strengthen ourselves if we could look at this in that way. And I would just close by saying that we often speak of the civil rights movement and the movement for decolonization in the world, and specifically in Africa where I mostly work, speak of them in the past tense. But I would argue that both of them are movements and histories that are continuously unfolding, that are not resolved, and that haven’t brought themselves to peaceful kinds of conclusions. And this is why when George Floyd is killed on camera, choked for nine minutes and loses his life, that you see reverberations all over the world, people pushing back because they are suffering from the same in their countries, and they are following after anti-Asian hate protestors and advocates, Black Lives Matter advocates and protestors, people who are saying to the world this is unacceptable. And so even in that way, you see the linked fates that people share. And so I think that the more we begin to face who we are at home, the more we begin to heal these wounds and relate better in the foreign policy arena, because I think that it is a long held fallacy that these things are separate, right? A nation’s foreign policy is only an extension of its beliefs, its policies and its aspirations and its desires from home going out into the world. So I will stop there. And thank you for the question. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Dr. Plummer, over to you. PLUMMER: Well, your question is a very good one. It is also a very book-length question. I’ll try to address that. First of all, I would like to say that I find Mr. Adkins’ statement quite eloquent and can’t think of anything I disagree with in what he has said. There are a couple of things that we might consider as well. I think there are several issues embedded in this question of the relationship between race relations in the United States and it’s policies toward other countries. One of them is, I think there’s a difference between what policymakers intend and how American policy is perceived. There is also the question of precisely who is making and carrying out U.S. foreign policy. Now there was a time when that question I think could be very readily answered. But we’re now in an age where we have enhanced roles for the military and the intelligence community. We have private contractors executing American objectives overseas. And this really places a different spin on things, somewhat different from what we observe when we look at this only through a strictly historical lens. I think we also need to spend some time thinking about the precise relationship between race and racism and what we might call colonial, more of imperialist practices. You might look, for example, at what is the relationship between the essentially colonial status of places like Puerto Rico and the Marianas and the—how those particular people from those places are perceived and treated within both the insular context and the domestic context. Clearly, everybody on the planet is shaped to a large degree by the culture and the society that they live in, that they grew up in, right? And so it is probably no mystery from the standpoint of attitudes that certain kinds of people domestically may translate into similar views of people overseas. But I think one of the things we might want to think about is how our institutions, as well as prejudices, influence what takes place. People like to talk, for example, about the similarities between the evacuation of Saigon and the evacuation of Kabul and wonder what is it called when you do the same thing over and over again and expect different results? We might want to think about what is it, institutionally, which creates these kinds of repetitions, creates situations in which diplomats are forced to apologize and explain continually about race and other conflictual issues in American society. We might also think about what you perhaps could call a racialization process. Do we create categories of pariahs in response to national emergencies? Do we create immigrants from countries south of the United States as enemies because we don’t have a comprehensive and logical way of dealing with immigration? Do we create enemies out of Muslims because of our roles in the Middle East and, you know, the activities and actions of other states? There’s some historical presence for this—the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, for example. So it seems to me that in addressing I think, you know, some of this very rich question, there are a number of ways and facets that we might want to look at and discuss more fully. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you very much. And now we’re going to go to all of you for questions and comments. So you can either ask your question by raising your hand, click on the raised hand icon and I will call on you, or else you can write your question in the Q&A box. And if you choose to write your question—although we’d prefer to hear your voice—please include your affiliation. And when I call on you, please let us know who you are and your institution. So the first question, the first raised hand I see is from Stanley Gacek. Q: Yes, thank you very much. Thank you very much, Professor Plummer and Mr. Adkins, for a very, very compelling presentation. My name is Stanley Gacek. I’m the senior advisor for global strategies at the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, representing 1.3 million working women and men in the United States and Canada in the retail, wholesale, food production, healthcare, and services industries. Practically all of our members are on the frontlines of the pandemic. I also served as deputy director and interim director of the ILO mission in Brazil in 2011 to 2016. And my question is this. I wonder if the speakers would also acknowledge that an issue for the United States in terms of its credibility with regard to racial justice, human rights, and of course labor rights, is a rather paltry record of the United States in terms of ratifying international instruments and adhering to international fora with regard to all of these issues. One example which comes to mind in my area is ILO Convention 111 against discrimination in employment and profession, which could—actually has gone through a certain due diligence process in former administrations and was agreed to by business and labor in the United States but still the United States has failed to ratify. I just wondered if you might comment more generally about how that affects our credibility in terms of advocating for racial justice, human rights, and labor rights throughout the world. Thank you very much. FASKIANOS: Who can address that, would like to address that? PLUMMER: Well, I have very little immediate knowledge of this, and I have to say that labor issues and labor rights have been kind of a missing element in terms of being heavily publicized and addressed. I think it has something to do with the fact that over the course of the decades the United States has been less responsive to the United Nations, to international organizations in general. But in terms of the specifics, you know, precisely what has fallen by the wayside, I, you know, personally don’t have, you know, knowledge about that. ADKINS: And I would just say more generally, not to speak specifically in terms of labor, where I’m also not an expert, but there is, of course, a long history of the U.S. seeking to avoid these kinds of issues in the international arena writ large as Dr. Plummer was just referring to. I just finished a book by Carol Anderson called Eyes Off the Prize, which is a whole study of this and the ways in which the U.S. government worked through the United Nations to prevent the internationalization of the civil rights movement which many—Malcom X and Martin Luther King, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others—sought to frame it in the context of human rights and raise it into an international specter, and that was something that the U.S. government did not want to happen. And of course, we know that part of the genius of the civil rights movement writ large was this tactic of civil disobedience, not just to push against a law that we didn’t like to see in effect but actually to create a scene that would create international media attention which would show to the world what these various communities were suffering inside of America, to try to create pressure outside of our borders for the cause of freedom and justice and democracy. And so there is that long history there which you’ve touched on with your question. Thank you for that. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome. Q: Good afternoon and thank you for your presentation. I just wonder about U.S. foreign policy, how it lines up with the domestic politics, you know, in terms of race relations, because if one was to believe U.S. propaganda, you know, this country is doing good in the world, it’s the country to emulate. But you know, the events of—well, I guess the George Floyd case brought into graphic relief what most astute observers of the U.S. know, that race relations of the U.S. do not line up very well with the constitutional aspirations of the U.S. So what’s going to change now, you know? And then there’s also this pandemic and the way which race and class is showing us about the real serious inequalities in the U.S. So what’s going to change in terms of lessons learned? And then moving forward, is also multilateralism going to come back into U.S. foreign policy in some way? That’s it. PLUMMER: I think—I’m getting kind of an echo here. I don’t know if other people are. I don’t think anyone is—you know, who is thinking about this seriously doubts that the United States is in a crisis at the moment—a crisis of legitimacy not only abroad but also domestically. We have a situation in which an ostensibly developed country has large pockets, geographic pockets where there are, you know, 30, 40, 50 percent poverty rates. We have people who are essentially mired in superstition, you know, with regard to, you know, matters of health and science. And you know, I don’t think anyone is, you know—is, you know—who is, you know, thinking about this with any degree of gravity is not concerned about the situation. Once again, I think we’re talking here about institutions, about how we can avoid this sort of repetitive and cyclical behavior. But one thing I want to say about George Floyd is that this is a phenomenon that is not only unique to the United States. One of the reasons why George Floyd became an international cause célèbre is because people in other countries also were experiencing racism. There—other countries had issues with regard to immigration. And so really looking at a situation in which I think is—you know, transcends the domestic, but it also transcends, you know, simply looking at the United States as, you know, the sort of target of criticism. FASKIANOS: Do you want to add anything, Travis, or do you want to—should we go to the next question? ADKINS: Go on to the next question. Thank you. FASKIANOS: OK, thank you. Let’s go to Shaarik Zafar with Georgetown, and our prior questioner was with Brooklyn—teachers at Brooklyn College. Q: Hey, there. This is Shaarik Zafar. I was formerly the special counsel for post-9/11 national origin discrimination in the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division—sorry, that’s a mouthful—and then most recently during the Obama years I was a special representative to Muslim communities. So this—I first applaud the presentation. These issues are very near and dear to me. I think it’s clear, you know, we have to own up and acknowledge our shortcomings. And I think, you know, I was really sad to hear that we actually worked against highlighting what I think is really an example of American exceptionalism, which is our civil rights movement and our civil rights community. When I was at State during the Obama years, we had a very modest program where we brought together U.S. civil rights leaders and connected them with European civil rights leaders. And the idea wasn’t that we had it all figured out but rather that, you know, in some respects the United States has made some advances when it comes to civil rights organizing and civil society development in that respect—and perhaps more so than other countries. I was just thinking, I would love to get the panelists’ thoughts on ways that we can continue to collaborate and—you know, on a civil society level between civil rights organizations in the United States and abroad and the way the U.S. government should actually support that—even if it means highlighting our shortcomings—but as a way to, you know, invest in these types of linkages and partnerships to not only highlight our shortcomings but look for ways that we could, you know, actually come to solutions that need to be, I think, fostered globally. Thanks so much. ADKINS: You know, the first thing I would say, Shaarik—thanks for your question—I thought it was interesting, this idea of framing the civil rights movement as a kind of example of American exceptionalism. And I think there’s a way in which I would relate to that in the sense that folks did, at least nominally or notionally, have certain kinds of freedom of speech, certain kinds of rights to assembly. But even those were challenged, of course, when we see the violence and the assassinations and all of the machinations of the government against those who were leaders or participants in that movement. And so in that sense, perhaps I would agree. I might push back, though, in terms of American exceptionalism as it relates to civil rights, because these people were actually advocating against the U.S. government, who actually did not want them to have the rights that they were promised under the Constitution. Of course, many of us would not be free or able to speak up without the 13th and 14th and 15th Amendments. And so there’s a sense in which we celebrate them, but there’s also a sense in which they are actually indictments of the original Constitution which did not consider any of those things to be necessary elements of our society. In terms of civil society and where the U.S. government is engaged, I think that, you know, sometimes when we deal with these problems that are foreign policy related, you know, sometimes the answer is at home. Sometimes the answer is not, you know, a white paper from some high-level think tank. It’s not something that starts ten thousand miles away from where we are, because I don’t think that we would have the kind of standing and credibility that we would need to say that we believe in and support and give voice and our backing to civil society movements abroad if we don’t do the same thing at home. And so everything that we want to do somewhere else, we ought to ask ourselves the question of whether or not we’ve thought about doing it at home. And I don’t mean to suggest—because certainly no nation is perfect, and every nation has its flaws. But certainly, we would be called to the mat for the ways in which we are either acknowledging or refusing to acknowledge that we have, you know, these same—these same challenges. And so I think there still remains a lot of work to be done there in terms of how we engage on this. And you have seen the State Department come out and be more outspoken. You’ve seen the Biden administration putting these issues more out front. You have now seen the Black Lives Matter flag flying over U.S. embassies in different parts of the world. And some people might view that as co-optation of a movement that is actually advocating against the government for those rights and those respects and that safety and security that people believe that they are not receiving. And others might see it as a way to say, look, our nation is embracing civil society and civic protests in our nation as an example that the countries in which those embassies are in should be more open to doing the same kinds of things. And so it’s a great question. I think it remains to be seen how we move forward on that—on that score. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Molly Cole. Q: Hi. My name is Molly Cole. I am a grad student of global affairs at New York University. I was just curious sort of what y’all thought about what the consequences of foreign policy on punishment systems and institutions as it pertains to race relations in the United States would be, also in tandem with sort of this strive for global inclusivity and equity and just sort of, I guess, hitting those two ideas against each other. ADKINS: Can you clarify the ideals for us, Molly? So one sounded like it was about maybe mass incarceration or the death penalty or things of that nature? You’re talking about punitive systems of justice? And then the other seemed to be more about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the foreign policy space? But I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I just want to make sure I understand the question. Q: You hit the nail on the head. ADKINS: OK. Do you want to go ahead, Dr. Plummer? PLUMMER: Oh. Well, again, a great question but, you know, one of, you know, it’s—could write a book to answer. (Laughs.) Well, if you’re talking about the sort of international regime of incarceration—is that what you were referring to? Q: Yes, essentially. So when we’re—when we’re considering, you know, these punitive systems, I’m thinking in terms of, you know, the death penalty, mass incarceration, private prisons, sort of this culmination of us trying to come up with these ideals, but doing it sort of on our own, while also combatting, you know, what the nation is calling for, what the globe is calling for. PLUMMER: Yeah. I think this sort of pertains to what I had mentioned earlier about just, you know, who is making and carrying out U.S. foreign policy, or domestic policy for that matter. There’s a whole question of the state and, you know, what parts of the state are involved in this whole question of incarceration and are involved in the whole question of the death penalty. One of the things that we are aware of is that prisons have—some of the prisons are actually not being operated by civil authorities. They’re operated by private entities. We saw this again in—you know, particularly in Afghanistan, where a lot of functions which normally, you know, are carried out by civil authorities are carried out by private authorities. And so this really puts a whole different perspective on the question or the relationship of citizens to the state and, you know, to any other particular group of citizens to the state. So I think that, you know, one of the problem areas then is to tease out what in fact are the obligations and privileges of government, and how do they differ from and how are they distinguished from the private sector. Q: Thank you. ADKINS: And I would just add quickly on this notion of hypocrisy and saying one thing and doing another, there was an interesting anecdote around this when President Obama visited Senegal. And he was delivering a fairly tough message about the treatment of members of the LGBT+ community in Senegal. And President Macky Sall got up essentially after President Obama and was essentially saying that, you know, we kind of appreciate this tough love lecture, but I would remind you, you know, that Senegal doesn’t have the death penalty, right? And so on one hand we’re actually saying something that has a grounding. Of course, people of all human stripes can have dignity, and have respect and be protected. But he is then hitting back and saying, hey, wait a minute, you kill people who break laws in your own country. And we don’t have the death penalty. So who should actually be the arbiter of how is the correct way – or, what is the correct way to be? On the second part of your question, quickly, Molly, especially as it relates to the kind of diversity, equity, and inclusion piece, this is why also there has been a big push to look in our State Department, to look at USAID, to look at the face that America presents to the world. And all too often that face has been male, that face has been White. And that gives a certain perception of America, but it also means that we lose the tremendous treasure and talent of people who have language skills, who come from communities in which their own perspective on the world actually is a talent that they have. Specifically, because many of those communities—whether they’ve immigrated or come to America by different means—are also from groups who’ve been marginalized, who’ve been oppressed, who have a certain frame and a lens with which to engage with other nations in the world, either in terms of partnership, either in terms of deterrence. And so we lose out in many ways because we haven’t done a great job in that—in that matter. FASKIANOS: I’m going to take a written question from Morton Holbrook, who’s at Kentucky Wesleyan College. His question is: How should the United States respond to international criticism to the U.S.’s racial discrimination? And how will that affect the relationship between the U.S. and the international community? PLUMMER: Well, the United States, I think, has—(laughs)—no choice but to acknowledge this. Historically this has been a problem that when pressed on this issue in the past the response was always, well, you know, we know this is a problem and we’re working on it. And the most egregious examples of racism are the responsibility of people who are either at the margins of society or who represent some sort of relic past that is rapidly disappearing, right? That was the message about the South, right? OK, the South is, you know, rapidly developing and so soon these vestiges of violent racism will be over. Well, again, the reason why that doesn’t work anymore—(laughs)—is because we’re always projecting this future, right, that—you know, it’s always being projected further and further into the future. And we’re never there yet. And it seems to me, again, that this is a problem of institutions. This is a problem of the embeddedness of racism in American life, and a refusal on the part of so many Americans to acknowledge that racism is real, and that it exists. And you know, I think we see many examples of this. I’m thinking of one instance where a George Floyd commemorative mural was painted on a sidewalk and some folks came along with some paint and painted over it, because they said it wasn’t a racism corner, you know, while engaged in a racist act. So, you know, there really needs to be, I think, on a very fundamental level, some education—(laughs)—you know, in this country on the issue of race and racism. The question is, you know, who is—who will be leaders, right? Who will undertake this kind of mission? ADKINS: One thing I would say, quickly, on that, Irina, just an anecdote as well that also relates to really in some ways the last question about who our representatives are and what perspective they bring. Several years ago, I was on a trip—a congressional delegation to Egypt. And I was with several members of the CBC. And we met with President Sisi. And they were giving him a fairly rough go of it over his treatment of protesters who were protesting at that time in Tahrir Square, many of whom had been killed, maimed, abused, jailed. And he listened to them kind of haranguing him. And at the end of that speech that they were giving to him he said basically: I understand your points. And I hear your perspective. But he said, can I ask you a question? They said, sure, Mr. President. We welcome you to ask questions. And he said, what about Ferguson? And the day that he said that Ferguson was on fire with surplus military equipment in the streets of America, with, you know, tear gas and armed military-appearing soldiers in the streets of America who were seen, at least optically, to be doing the same thing, right? Not as many people were killed, certainly, but the point is you have this same problem. However, if that had been a different delegation, he might have scored a point in their verbal jousting. But President Sisi had the misfortune of saying this to two-dozen 70-plus-year-old Black people. And no one in America would know better than they what that is like. And so what they ended up replying to him by saying, exactly. No one knows this better than we do. And this is exactly why we’re telling you that you shouldn’t do it. Not because our country doesn’t have that history, but because we do have that history and it has damaged us, and it will damage you. Which takes on a completely different tone in our foreign relations than if it was simply a lecture, and that we were placing ourselves above the nations of the world rather than among them. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go to Ashantee Smith. Q: Hello. Can you guys hear me? ADKINS: We can. FASKIANOS: Yes. Q: OK, perfect. Hi. My name is Ashantee Smith. I am a grad student at Winston-Salem State University. In regards to some of the responses that you guys gave earlier, it gave me a question. And I wanted to know how you guys were putting the correlation between racism and immigration. PLUMMER: Well, yeah. The United States has a history of racialized responses to immigrants, including historically to White immigrants. Back in the day the Irish, for example, were considered to be, you know, something less than White. We know, however, that society—American society has since, you know, incorporated Europeans into the category of Whiteness, and not done so for immigrants from Latin America, Asia, and Africa, who remain racialized, who are perceived as being, in some respects by some people, unassimilable. We also have a phenomenon of the racialization of Muslims, the creation of outcast groups that are subjected to, you know, extremes of surveillance or exclusion or discrimination. So immigration is very much embedded in this, is a question of an original vision of the United States, you know, and you can see this in the writings of many of the founding fathers, as essentially a White country in which others, you know, are in varying degrees of second-class citizens or not citizens at all. So this is, I think, an example of something that we have inherited historically that continues to, you know, be an issue for us in the present. Yeah. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson. Q: Hello. I am just so thrilled to see the two panelists here. I want—I actually raised my hand when you were talking about the labor rights issue. And I’m at Tufts University. And I’m currently working on an intellectual biography about Ralph Bunche. And I actually ran over here from the U.N. archives where I was actually reading about these issues. (Laughs.) And I wanted to just say that the discussion we’re having now, it’s sort of disjointed because we’re dealing with lots of erasures, things that are overlooked, and they are not enough Carol Andersons and Brenda Gayle Plummer professors out there putting these things in press. But even more importantly, they are not sufficiently in our curriculum. So people who study international relations and people who do international relations don’t know most of these things. So my quick point I just wanted to say was during World War II when Ralph Bunche was working for the OSS military intelligence, his archives are full of it, he went and he was interviewing our allies at their missions and embassies in the U.S.—the French, the British—asking them: What are your labor relations policies in your colonial territories? And this was considered important military information for the United States, as we were going to be—as Africa was an important field of operation. When you get to actually setting up the U.N., I was struck in a way I hadn’t, because I hadn’t read archives this way. (Laughs.) But I’m looking at conversations between Bunche and Hammarskjöld, and they’re restructuring the organization of the United States—of the United Nations. And there are two big issues that are determining their response to the restructuring—the Cold War as well as decolonization. And I actually think that those two issues remain—they’re structuring that conversation we’re having right now. And they—we say the Cold War is over, but I love this phrase, of the racialization of the current enemies or people we think of as enemies. So I actually do think that this is a really good program we’re having where we’re trying to have the conversation. But the dis-junctures, and the silences, and the difficulties of responding I think speak volumes. The last thing I will say, very quickly, that incident about the discussion with President Sisi that Mr. Adkins—that needs to be canned. That needs to be somehow made available as an example that can be replicated and expanded and broadened for people to use in teaching. ADKINS: Well, I always listen when my teacher is talking to me, Dr. Robinson. Thank you for sharing that. And I’m working on it, I promise you. (Laughter.) FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to—we have lots of questions and raised hands, and we’re not going to get to all of you. So I apologize right now. (Laughs.) We’ll do the best we can. Jill Humphries. Q: Hello. My name is Jill Humphries. And I’m an adjunct assistant professor in the Africa Studies Program at the University of Toledo, and have been doing Africa-based work, I’m proud to say, for about thirty-three years, starting at the age twenty-two, and have used Dr. Plummer’s work in my dissertation. And hello, fellow ICAPer (sp). So my question is this: There’s an assumption that I believe we’re operating in. And that is race and racism is somehow aberrant to the founding of this country, right? So we know that Saidiya Hartman and Frank Wilderson, the Afropessimist, make the argument that it is clearly key that it is fundamental to the development of our institutions. And so my question is this: You know, the—in the domestic scene the sort of abolitions clearly state that unless we fundamentally transform our norms and values, which impact, of course, our institutions, then we will continue to have the exact outcomes that are expected. The killing of George Floyd and the continuing, I think, need to kill Black bodies is essential to this country. And so my question is, in the context of foreign relations, international relations, are we also looking at the way in which, number one, it is not aberrant that racism is a constituent element in the development of our foreign policy and our institutions? And that unless we fundamentally first state it, acknowledge it, and then perhaps explore the way in which we dismantle, right—dismantle those norms and values that then impact these institutions, that we’re going to continue to have the same outcomes, right? So for example, when Samantha Powers visited Ethiopia, if you’ve been following that whole narrative, there was a major backlash by the Ethiopian diaspora—major. My colleagues and friends, like, I’ve had intense conversations, right, around that. Same thing about the belief about Susan, former—Susan Rice’s role, right, in continuing to influence our foreign policy, particularly towards the Horn of Africa. So my question is: What does that look like, both theoretically, conceptually? But more importantly for me, because I’m a practitioner on the ground, what does that look like in practice? And that’s where I think Professor Adkins, working for USAID, could really kind of talk about. Thank you. ADKINS: Thank you. Yeah, you know, I think it goes back to Dr. Robinson’s question a moment ago. And that is the first the acknowledgement and the calling out and the putting into relief and contrast the context in which we’re operating, especially when we think about not even USAID specifically, but the industry of development—aid and development assistance kind of writ large. Because essentially what we have is a historical continuum that starts with the colonial masters and the colonial subjects. And then that because what is called, or framed, as the first world and the third world, right? And then that becomes the developing world and the developed world. Then that becomes the global north and the global south. All of which suggests that one is above, and one is below. That one is a kind of earthly heaven, the other kind of earthly hell. That one possessed the knowledge and enlightenment to lead people into civilization, and the other needs redemption, needs to be saved, needs to be taught the way to govern themselves, right? That this kind of Western notion of remaking yourself in the world, that your language, that your system of government, that your way of thinking and religious and belief and economics should be the predominant one in the world. And so I think, to me, what you’re saying suggests the ways in which we should question that. And this is where you start to hear conversations about decolonizing aid, about questioning how we presume to be leaders in the world in various aspects, of which we may not actually be producing sound results ourselves. And thinking again about this notion of placing ourselves among nations rather than above nations in the ways in which we relate and engage. And I think that it’s one of the reasons that we continue to have challenges in the realm of development assistance, in the realm of our diplomacy and foreign policy. Because, again, there is a pushback against that kind of thinking, which is rooted in a deep history that contains much violence and many types of economic and diplomatic pressures to create and sustain the set of power relations which keeps one group of people in one condition and one in another. And so it’s a huge question. And how to bring that kind of lofty thinking down to the granular level I think is something that we will have to continue to work on every day. I certainly don’t have the answer, but I’m certainly answering—asking, I should say—the questions. PLUMMER: I think I might also think about how is in charge. And this is—you know, it goes back to something we talked about before, when U.S. foreign policy is no longer exclusively rooted in the State Department? So in terms of, you know, who represents the United States abroad and in what ways, and how is that representation perceived, we’re really looking at, you know, a lot of different actors. And we’re also looking at, you know, changes in the way that the U.S. government itself is perceiving its role, both at home and abroad. And one of the questions was previously asked about the system of incarceration speaks to that, because we have to ask ourselves what are—what are—what are the proper roles and responsibilities and burdens of the state, the government and, you know, what is leased out—(laughs)—in some ways, for profit to private concerns? So I think that, you know, some of this is about, you know, a sense of mission that I don’t see out there, that I think will in some respects have to be restored and reinvented. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Erez Manela. Q: Thank you very much for this really terrific and important panel. My name is Erez Manela. I teach the history of U.S. foreign relations at Harvard. And my question actually—I don’t know if Irina planned this—but it follows on directly from the previous question. Because I kept on wondering during this panel what—I mean, the focus that we’ve had here, the topic that’s been defined, is the way in which domestic race relations, domestic racism, have shaped U.S. foreign policy. But of course, U.S. foreign policy has been shaped—as the previous questioner noted—has been shaped directly by racism and perceptions of racial hierarchy for—well, since the very beginning. And Professor Adkins spoke very eloquently about it. And of course, Professor Plummer has written eloquently about that, including in her books on Haiti and international relations. But I guess I’m wondering if you could speak more about the specifics about the history that needs to be recognized in that realm, and then—and this is maybe self-interested—whether you have any recommendations, in the way that you recommended Carol Anderson’s really terrific book—for reading that we can read ourselves or give our students to read, that would really drive that point home, the influence of racism, race perceptions, race hierarchies themselves on—directly on the conduct of U.S. foreign relations historically. PLUMMER: Well, Professor Manela, I appreciate your own work on Wilson. And you know, that in some respects—that would be a book that I’d recommend. (Laughs.) Might also think about Mary Dudziak’s work on Cold War civil rights, and her law review article, Desegregation as a Cold War Imperative, which, you know, directly addresses these questions. Again, what I would like to see is some work that will—perhaps not necessarily a historical perspective—but will address this whole question of the sort of growing, I don’t know what you’d call it, multiplicity or multivariant character of American policymaking, you know, as we—as we go forward, you know, past the Cold War era. There’s an interesting item by a man named Andrew Friedman, who wrote a book called Covert Capital. I think the subtitle is something like Landscapes of Power, in which we discussed the rise of Northern Virginia as what he sees as the true capital of, you know, parts of the U.S. government, in being a center for the military and for intelligence community. And their shaping of that environment at home, as well as their influence in shaping U.S. policy abroad. So, you know, there’s a lot of room for work on these—on these issues. ADKINS: And I would also just follow up—and thank you for the question—and add another book that I just finished. Daniel Immerwahr, from Northwestern University, How to Hide an Empire, which deals in many ways with U.S. foreign policy and the way in which it is explicitly racialized and ways in which that goes understudied in our—in our policy circles, and certainly in the world of education. FASKIANOS: I’m going to try to squeeze in one last question. And I apologize again for not getting to everybody’s question. We’ll go to Garvey Goulbourne as our final question. Q: Yes. Hi. Can you hear me? FASKIANOS: We can. Q: Yeah. My name’s Garvey Goulbourne. I’m a student at the University of Virginia, actually studying abroad this semester in Rabat, Morocco. And my question to you both is: What mechanisms do we have to orient the narratives that our foreign policy leaders are brought up with? Thinking particularly of American exceptionalism and how we kind of place ourselves on a pedestal, whether they be foreign affairs schools or various institutions at different levels of American education, what tools do we have to address the foundations of American perspectives of themselves and our nation in relation to the rest of the world, particularly the global south? FASKIANOS: Who wants to go first? An easy question, of course, to close with. PLUMMER: Go ahead, Mr. Adkins. ADKINS: Sure, sure. Thank you for your question, Garvey. And congratulations on the move out to Morocco. Great to see you there. I think the first thing I would say, of course, is our tools, as far as I am concerned, relate certainly to education. And it’s one of the reasons that I am in the classroom. But I know what that fight is like, because even education is taken over by these notions of White supremacy, by these notions of singular historical narratives. And this is why there’s been such a push against the 1619 Project of the New York Times, why there is this kind of silly season around the misunderstood origins and contexts of critical race theory. There is this battle over who gets to tell the story of what America is, because it is more than—but it is more than one thing, obviously, to a multiplicity of people. And so I am kind of remiss—or, not remiss. There’s no way for me to elucidate for you now a series of tools that will resolve these problems, because these are challenges that people have been wrestling with before our mothers’ mothers were born. And so we only are continuing that fight from where we sit. And certainly, in the classrooms that I am in, whether they are in prisons or on campuses, we are always digging into the origin of these themes. And the main frame through which I teach is not just for students to understand this history for their health, but for them to understand this history as a lens through which to view the current world and all of the events and challenges that we find ourselves facing, to see if we can come up with new ways to address them. PLUMMER: Well, one of the things that Mr. Goulbourne could do, since he is in Morocco, is to make use of his own insights in his conversations with Moroccans. So, you know, there is still a role, you know, for individual actors to play some part in attempting to make some changes. FASKIANOS: Well, with that we unfortunately have to close this conversation. It was very rich. Thank you, Travis Adkins and Brenda Gayle Plummer or sharing your insights and analysis with us. We really appreciate it. To all of you, for your questions and comments. Again, I’m sorry we couldn’t get to all of you. You can follow Travis Adkins @travisladkins, and that’s on Twitter. And our next Academic Webinar will be on Wednesday September 29, at 1:00 p.m. (ET) with Thomas Graham, who is a fellow at CFR. And we’ll talk about Putin’s Russia. So in the meantime, I encourage you to follow us at @CFR_Academic, visit,, and for new research and analysis on global issues. So thank you all again and we look forward to continuing the conversation. ADKINS: Take care, everyone. Thank you. (END)
  • Education
    Higher Education Webinar: Pandemic-Related Inequities in Higher Education
    Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice, and Clyde Wilson Pickett, vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh, discuss pandemic-related inequities in higher education.   FASKIANOS: Welcome to CFR’s Higher Education Webinar. I’m Irina Faskianos, vice president of the National Program and Outreach here at the Council on Foreign Relations. And we welcome you and are happy to have you with us today. Our meeting is on the record and the video and transcript will be available on our website, As always, CFR takes no institutional positions on matters of policy. So we’re delighted to have Sara Goldrick-Rab and Clyde Wilson Pickett with us today to talk about pandemic-related inequities in higher education. We’ve shared their bios with you, so I’ll just give a few highlights. Dr. Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University and founding director of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia. She’s also the chief strategy office for emergency aid at Edquity, a student financial success and emergency aid company, and founder of Believe in Students, a nonprofit focused on distributing emergency aid. She’s known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education and for her work on making public higher education free. Dr. Pickett is vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion at the University of Pittsburgh. In his role, he provides leadership for university-wide comprehensive diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy. Previously Dr. Pickett served as chief diversity officer for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And prior to that, he held positions with several other colleges and universities, including the Community College of Allegheny County, Ohio Northern University, Morehead State University, and the University of Kentucky. So thank you both for joining us today. You know, we really want to have a—dig into this conversation, the primary ways the pandemic has contributed to inequities in higher education that were already there, but we’ve seen the gap widen. So, Dr. Goldrick-Rab, it would be great if you could begin by talking about the financial challenges, including non-tuition related challenges, related expenses that you’ve seen pre-pandemic and now with the pandemic. And then we’ll go to Dr. Pickett. GOLDRICK-RAB: Great. Yes. Well, thank you so much for having me. And it’s great to be here virtually with you all today. It’s a real honor. And I’m delighted to be here with Clyde and looking forward to this conversation. This topic of what students go through in order to pay for college is something that I spent about twenty years studying. And a lot of what we have learned over that time is that the challenges are a lot more complicated and a lot more substantial than simple numbers, like the net price of college or the amount of financial aid, would have you believe. So even prior to the pandemic, we saw that students were, for example, having trouble because what the college said it would cost to go there is inclusive of living expenses. And what a college estimates for living expenses is often off. So for example, right, if a student is living at home with their family, the assumption might be that the family is not charging rent. But a lot of students were, in fact, paying rent while living with their families. So one key thing that was challenging was information and, you know, just a good sense of what one had to budget for. A second really big challenge is that the financial aid system was really set up to support a fraction of college students, not to support the majority. And as result, there’s a lot of paperwork required. There’s a lot of hoops to jump through in order to be able to get and keep financial aid. And, frankly, there’s only a limited amount of money. And so the financial aid, even before the pandemic, was leaving students way short, especially when it came to grants. And that’s one of the main reasons that we saw the big increase in loans. The other thing is that the financial aid system is heavily bureaucratic. It moves very slowly. And so when a student has an unexpected expense or a shortfall—you know, a car breaks down—it is very hard to get that money quickly using standard financial aid. Another big challenge, it has to do with what happened to people’s families, right? So the status of American families over the last twenty years, and the extent to which they can’t actually make ends meet, the extent to which they can’t survive an unexpected expense themselves, means that a lot of college students come from settings where there isn’t anybody there to actually be able to help them in that way. They can provide love, and they can provide support, and they can talk to them and be supportive of, you know, what they’re doing. But the idea that every student coming to college has two parents with good incomes who are able to step up and help, that’s been an outdated assumption for a very long time. And of course, that also maps onto significant changes in the racial composition of higher education, into the gender composition, right, the class composition of higher education, and so on. Another big issue has to do with working. And working during college is actually the backbone of financial aid packages. Students are mostly assumed that they’re going to need to work, and they do need to work. And 70 percent of students were working before the pandemic, and the vast majority of students were trying to find work but couldn’t find it. So that was really hard in a labor market where the minimum wage didn’t, you know, pay particularly well and where, let’s be honest, employers really want flexibility and they’re not particularly impressed with students’ needs to attend class, for example, at given times of the day. So that, on top of state disinvestment for higher education, which has led a lot of institutions to shift the burden for paying for college onto students, was what thinks looked like before the pandemic. And then the pandemic struck. And we already had gaps in the system. We already had big financial holes for many, many students. And it did a lot of things. It made it harder for institutions that needed to offer students a lot more financial aid or a lot more emergency aid but didn’t have the support available, that don’t have big endowments. When the federal government stepped up, that was good. But somebody actually has to give out the money. And there wasn’t a lot of money to provide for that additional staffing and infrastructure to actually get money to students quickly. That’s a lot of work. So one of the results is that we find that an average time it takes to get a student emergency aid is about fourteen days. Which is way out of line when you consider that what happens to people in an emergency is they need money fast. Another thing that happened, of course, is that jobs for students have become a lot harder to find, although it’s also been complicated by the fact that employers report they can’t find people to work there. But the kinds of jobs that students are comfortable being in—meaning they feel safe, that work with their work schedules, and that pay a decent wage—are still really hard for many of them to find. Another challenge, of course, is that many of these students have family responsibilities. So more than one in four students in the United States has a child of their own. So the things that have happened to our workforce as schools closed and parents had to take care of kids happened to our students too. And to the extent that families became sick or, you know, there was a need for caretaking, students had to do that as well. So in all of the ways that affect regular people in American life—in terms of their financial instability, the volatility, the unexpected expenses—things were hard before and things are even harder now. FASKIANOS: Thank you very much. Dr. Pickett, I’d like to go over to you now to talk about the challenges that you’ve seen, obviously with the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and strategies that you could offer as we look ahead. PICKETT: Absolutely. Well, certainly I want to take the opportunity to extend my thanks for allowing me to be with you, and to be with our colleagues, and of course to share time with Sara. It’s an honor and a privilege. Certainly, one of the things that we need to prioritize is that the current crisis has magnified inequities that have been with us for a long time. And as Sara notes, a number of these things have been present. And so as we think about the impact of this pandemic, they’ve exposed future, or I should say, current and more pronounced vulnerabilities that already existed. And they impact our populations beyond what we realize. So we put specific attention, as we should, on our students. But to be mindful that these vulnerabilities and specifically the impact of inequity impacts our colleagues. Certainly, that’s true for our staff of different designations, particularly those who are economically fragile and who are on the frontlines, as well as our colleagues who are faculty. And to think about how we can’t allow this crisis to be an excuse for how we prioritize equity and how we move a strategic agenda forward. So I wanted to be intentional about leading with that. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm our commitment and our responsibility to addressing inequities broadly speaking across the institutions that make up higher education. In terms of prioritizing specific areas, I think that inequity has been most pronounced in terms of the areas of student support, more specifically thinking about holistic student support and how we’re advancing and thinking collectively about the academic support as well as the broader considerations for how we support our students, the academic priorities of institutions and how we position them front and center. As we think about the responsibility to provide support for faculty who have to pivot to online exchange and instruction, how do we provide intentional support to meet the needs of different learners and to prioritize that beyond just a compliance lens, and to think about how accessibility and digital accessibility had to be front in consideration—a front and center consideration, I should say—for the work that we do. A part of this work, as we think about broad inequities, also is about the work in terms of thinking about the human capital of our institutions. I mentioned just briefly the disproportionate impact that we’ve—for frontline staff and individuals of different designation who are advancing work, but also to think about what it means in terms of being the caretaker of a loved one or significant other or child who has a health challenge or has been impacted by the pandemic. And more specifically to think about the childcare considerations that are placed on our colleagues and, as Sara pointed out, certainly our students as well. This broad conversation that I think is important for us to think about in terms of the broad DEI agenda and the long-term ramifications are for us to think about funding considerations as well as the academic priorities for the future. We’ve seen a number of conversations manifest around the country about learning loss and the impact long term in terms of access of higher education, and to mindful of what that means for vulnerable and populations that have been traditionally underrepresented, underserved, and locked out of higher education. So we need to be mindful of that specific impact. It is a necessity that we prioritize inclusion in terms of how we move this work forward. We know loud and clear that the pandemic has further illuminated issues of discrimination, bias, and xenophobia. We’ve seen that with the uptick in anti-Asian violence around the country, more pronounced incidents of growth in White supremacist groups around the country. And to think about how institutions can take a more proactive approach in creating inclusive spaces on campuses and online, as instruction has pivoted in different ways, and for us to prioritize that. Campuses must be intentional about thinking about the holistic needs our students, the basic needs our students, and to prioritize mental health support and technology, as all of those areas have been escalated for consideration. Certainly, to be mindful of balancing safety as a front and center consideration for how we prioritize inclusion is part of our work. And to think about how we prioritize funding allocation for different opportunities to impact populations has to be a consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. So I offer those considerations as we begin our discussion and, of course, look forward to delving into more of them, as well as the questions that might come from our colleagues. FASKIANOS: Fantastic. Thank you very much. Let’s go to all of you now for your questions. You can either raise your hand or you can type your question in the Q&A box and I’ll read it. If you do so there, though, please state your institutional affiliation so that we know where you are, gives us the context for the conversation. So I’m going to first go to a good colleague, Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. Over to you. Q: OK. Yeah. Good afternoon. I’m Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome. And I’m a professor of political science at Brooklyn College. One of the concerns that I have is the mental health effects on students, and actually all of us—(laughs)—but really on the students, especially students who do not—who are not traditional students. You know, and so they don’t have as many resources available to them. So I was wondering what your insights are on this issue and what could be done institutionally and collectively to address this issue. PICKETT: I’ll weigh in just quickly here, and Sara, of course, look forward to your comments as well. As a queued up at the beginning, I think this is a front and center consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda. Loud and clear we’ve heard directly from students that mental health is an area of priority. Before we were in the pandemic the request for additional support and for campuses all around the country was a front and center consideration, how we put particular attention and, more importantly, how we resourced mental health support was an area of rising consideration. And for colleagues who work directly in student affairs and student support, we know that this has always been there. But as we continue to navigate this pandemic, it continues to be an even greater area of consideration as we think about the impact, particularly on communities that have been most impacted, and particularly thinking about Black and brown communities, and other economically fragile communities, in terms of the need for additional mental health support, and in areas and certain situations where those communities don’t necessarily always connect with mental health support. So that’s another consideration. I think campuses that are most proactive, and higher education institutions that are most proactive are putting in specific resources to continue to build out support for mental health support. And for institutions that are less well-prepared for that, I think having alliances with broader institutions and to think about how we can leverage collective support is the answer for how we get at this. I want to be clear. I think we have a responsibility certainly to meet the needs of our students. But I don’t want us to miss the opportunity in terms of what we’re hearing loud and clear from our colleagues who are faculty and staff at institutions. Burnout is something in terms of climate surveys and assessments that our colleagues are communicating with us loud and clear. And so we have to be mindful that we have to take care of the individuals that take care of our students. So that’s another part or a level of this that I think we have to keep at a front consideration. So absolutely I appreciate the question and note that we have to put additional resources and think about strategic collaboration across institution types to move this work forward, but to also think about what that means for our staff and faulty in support as well. GOLDRICK-RAB: I agree. I would say that we have to keep in mind that many institutions don’t have any dollars to spare, and that clearly this is going to require federal support. And I think that even as we’re sitting here right now there is discussion of a package. You know, the reconciliation is going on. And one piece of that package is $9 billion for student supports. And I think the question about the prioritization of those funds and where institutions plan to spend those funds, if they are to come—if they were to become reality, is a critical part of the conversation. You know, the mental health needs of students across the United States were greatest at the nation’s community colleges before the pandemic. And those are the places that had the least level of supports in place. And it wasn’t from lack of recognition of the problem; it was from lack of money. And so we have to acknowledge that we already had profound inequities, we already had mental health crises. The Healthy Minds Study has been documenting these things for years. And, yes, the current situation’s making it worse. I do want to point out, though, that there are two dimensions to this current situation. One is the pandemic and the effects of the social isolation. The second is the effect of this virus. The Hope Center recently released, to my knowledge, the only study out there on the effect of the virus on college students. And our analyses across about a hundred thousand students across the nation show that it seems that having been infected with this virus is associated with increased anxiety, depression, and food insecurity. And I’m concerned, frankly, that a number of our institutions are not doing anything to allow students to disclose if they have been affected, so that we could direct more support to them. Now, I understand we can’t require it—and, you know, there’s a big distinction. But these students are at real risk of potentially long COVID effects, and so are staff and faculty. And I think that it is not only urgent that we adjust these challenges, but that we also do the triage that, unfortunately, we have to do because we have limited resources, and perhaps focus them on the populations that have been infected at the highest rates. Which, of course, include Black and brown and indigenous students, and also include student parents, and also include student athletes at very, very high rates. And I think that we’d better attend to it, or we’re going to see a lot of ongoing problems. FASKIANOS: Thank you. Sara, I would like to get the link for that survey, and we can circulate it to the group. And any other resources that both of you would like us to share we will follow up with an email. So I’m going to go next to Lucy Dunderdale Cate. And please unmute yourself. Q: Hi. My name is Lucy Dunderdale Cate. I’m with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I wanted to get your thoughts on just how for leadership, you know, for chancellors, for presidents, how should they be communicating to students that are dealing with these issues? And particularly thinking about it—you know, students, but faculty and staff as well, and particularly being sensitive to that kind of toxic positivity that so often is easy for leaders to do. At the same time, wanting to still be encouraging and to be, you know, we can do this together feeling, but not being toxically positive. Would just love to get your thoughts on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: So my team is very taken with the research on empathy and care. And I think that a lot of folks often think that that is, you know, kind of glossing over, or maybe just too touchy-feely. But it’s a very effective approach. And what it really means is starting by understanding your students as humans before you think about them as students. Just like we want our doctors to think about as humans before they think about us as patients. It changes the conversation. And what that means is that if you have important information to share with the students that you start with an open acknowledgement that this is a really tough time, right? That we don’t gloss over that or skip past that. That we do give them many, many, many openings to be able to speak to somebody—whether that’s a peer-to-peer, right, whether that’s speak to a professional, whatever that is. And that we continue to not just—it’s important, frankly, that we don’t just cheerlead and push people, I think as you might be alluding to, towards, you know, just keep going, just stay in, everything is fine, but openly acknowledge that everybody right now is really slogging through it and that coping is incredibly difficult. And I think that the one other piece is that, in my view, this starts with leadership. This really is not effective and cannot happen if the president doesn’t embrace it, because it really trickles down from there, frankly. And it has to be in multiple places. So this should be reflected in a statement that’s on every syllabus, right? It should show up on the management system, it should show up in correspondence. You know, anything that the institution can do to remind students that they get it. Cutting red tape right now, right? Removing more bureaucracy, relieving and getting out of any kinds of requirements that are not necessary—all of those things are human-centered things. PICKETT: I appreciate everything that Sara offered. And I double down on that in terms of thinking about the senior administrative approach to this. Certainly, there exists consultative means to engage students, and I think we utilize those. Having had the opportunity to work on different kinds of campuses, I do think it’s mindful for us to be attentive of the populations that don’t easily have ready access to senior administration. Having had the opportunity to serve at a community college, quite often we know that there is a more guided path to get directly to student input and feedback. But I think it’s critical to use the necessary means to get directly to students. I think the intentionality that Sara points out in terms of having empathetic messages communicated in different mediums is critical. Whether we’re using social media, whether we’re doing that on our syllabi, whether we’re doing that specifically as it relates to the messages that we put out to the campus community, I think there has to be consistency in the chorus that speaks to the empathy of the now and how we’re working to navigate this together. The toxic positivity that you referenced I think is prevalent at a number of institutions. And for us to be mindful of what that means—one of the ways that we were able to execute that here at the University of Pittsburgh was a townhall series that we put in place for all stakeholders called This is Not Normal, to just identify collectively as a community that what we’re experiencing is absolutely abnormal, and to talk about what that experience was, and to think about collectively how we could move as a community to respond to the needs and to have ongoing triage and collective concern and outreach by all constituents. And I think to do that, and to be attentive to those populations that are most removed from senior administration, is something that we have to do. So utilizing our colleagues at all levels, specifically looking at peer mentoring models that offer opportunity to have communication with students, and to think about starting those messages during the orientation process is a front and center consideration to move that agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I’m going to go next to Pearl Robinson. Q: So, Pearl Robinson. I do African politics, international relations, African studies at Tufts University. This being the Council on Foreign Relations, I want to bring up the issue of study abroad. And certainly, last year Tufts both undergraduate and graduate study abroad international relations is very important. The university decided it had to bring home students from all of our study abroad programs except Oxford, which was deemed safe. And we were told how everybody was living with families. And of course, at the end of—they had to eventually bring those people home again. So now we’re talking about our study abroad programs. Will we have one in Ghana? I had counseled two students who are going to be studying Africa at either at SOAS or LSE. Maybe we have to shut down Africa because it’s too dangerous. I actually want to know, are there are universities that are thinking about the implications of creating—or, not having study abroad opportunities for students in non-European places, and ways in which you might be able to do things? Like, I participated in a couple of very exciting webinars with African universities where there’s some kind of interaction. So I just want to know, has anybody been thinking about that? And does the Council maybe have that on its agenda? Have you been doing it secretly and I didn’t know about it? FASKIANOS: We can look at it for a future topic, Pearl. Do either of you want to? GOLDRICK-RAB: I don’t have any expertise in this space, except to say that I spoke to folks at AIEA yesterday and, you know, they’re very concerned about students’ health and wellbeing. PICKETT: And the same on my end. I wouldn’t have anything in terms of expertise to offer but would say from an administrative standpoint it’s intentional for us to be mindful of the different opportunities that we engage with, and to use an equity lens with regard to how we’re monitoring those experiences. I know loud and clear as we think about race and ethnicity being a front and consideration as part of this pandemic and our response to be mindful of the ramifications and the impact on different communities. So leadership should put that front and center in consideration, but in terms of specific things that I’ve seen directly, nothing that I could offer. But I do—should I find information I’ll definitely pass it along to Irina. FASKIANOS: And just to follow on a bit, granted from a different angle, what about the pandemic-related inequities facing international studies? What is the—you know, on your campus, the international studies, and have they been able to come this year? And maybe that would be an opportunity to create some international experiences on campus. PICKETT: Absolutely. I think different institutions obviously are in different places with regard to that. We’ve had a number of students who have been able to return to campus. But to mindful that there has been a significant impact, particularly as they think about housing and what the experience is like in the community. And as we think about, particularly depending on where individuals come from, how they self-identify, and the rising tide of what I would classify as racism and xenophobia potentially impacting those students is a consideration that we have to put front and center. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would say that, you know, again, we had big problems before the pandemic with folks not being able to really afford to be here the way they had hoped to be able to really afford to be here. We had students—international students at food pantries well before the pandemic. You know, certainly the number who can’t be here at all right now is one issue, but I also want to note that one good thing is that the federal government’s Higher Education Relief Funds, the HEERF III dollars in particular, which came out this year, which provided emergency aid to students, does not require students to be United States citizens in order to get those funds. It doesn’t even require them to fill out a FAFSA either. So institutions, all of them that receive Title IV, have a substantial amount of emergency aid dollars right now which they could choose to leverage to support international students. Furthermore, their institutional allocations of those same dollars can also be used for those purposes. And so in this case, again, everyone is a human. And we do not have to choose to treat people differently based on that status as an international student. I don’t know how widespread that understanding is. It’s very clear, frankly, in the federal FAQs. But that’s stuff the lawyers read. And I’m concerned that people who advocate for these students might not be aware of this. Or maybe they’re not being heard in terms of where the dollars are going to be put. PICKETT: I’d double down on what Sara offers in terms of us thinking about the institutional ethos for support for those students and that student population. How we prioritize that agenda and how we amplify the voices of advocates, particularly for our international students, is a front and center consideration that was present, again, before—you’re noticing a trend here—was present before the pandemic. But nonetheless, one that we have to continue to prioritize as a consideration. And as those dollars are available, institutions being willing to make the appropriate allocations and supplement them where necessary to continue to support different students populations, including our international students. FASKIANOS: Thank you. While we wait for a few more questions to queue up, how about the digital inequity? I know, Sara, you said before we got started that you were teaching all online. So the digital inequity has been a big concern, and we’ve really seen that, as well as, you know, people not wanting to turn on their cameras because, you know, they are sharing spaces, and might not want to show their homes, and all of that. So can you talk a little bit about how—what you’re thinking on that. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I mean, it’s a huge issue. So, I mean, the first thing is, again, I keep saying before the pandemic. But, you know, I spent twelve years living in Wisconsin. We had tons of college students all over the state who did not have broadband access, OK? So, you know, and it was a time when, frankly, the state was cutting—well, it’s continued to cut state support—but it was cutting back the ability of in-person campuses to even be there and telling people to go online. And there really wasn’t real ability to do that. So this, again, is a longstanding problem. We have the same challenge here in Pennsylvania, especially in rural communities. I am teaching online right now. And I want to say that, you know, part of the reason is because there’s a whole population of students that want online instruction. These are people who would have to commute quite a long ways to get to school. These are people who have children and are juggling that. These are people who have health challenges and/or other disabilities, right? So there is an appetite for online instruction. One of the biggest challenges, of course, is not only do they have the technology for online instruction, but also who has access to teachers who are comfortable, and well-trained, and good at online instruction? And unfortunately, because we have not made those investments—and, frankly, I think we should view those as infrastructure investments—we did not resource the people who need to do the teaching so they can be prepared. Then we have some of the most vulnerable students getting taught by teachers with the least time and ability to able to kind of pivot like this. We do also have a workforce, frankly, of a lot of folks in wealthier parts of higher education where professors don’t think of themselves as teachers. They think of themselves as researchers, and so on. And so getting them to invest the time to learn to teach online is also a challenge. That said, it can be done well. And, frankly, a student doesn’t need to turn on their camera to be engaged in a course. And to me, the fact that we keep having that conversation—which is, you know, far from just your question, everybody’s asking that question—tells me that we have people who are not taught about how to do engagement with students who can’t turn on their cameras. I open up multiple channels for students to be able to interact with me while I’m teaching. They message, OK? They can hit on Slack. I run multiple things. But it requires that I know how to do that and that I am suited to that task. So the last part is this: I mean, here in Philadelphia it’s hard to believe, you know, that people would really have trouble getting on the internet. But they really do because they can’t afford their internet bills. And so I have multiple students right now who are telling me that they’re accessing everything using their phone, not on their laptops. Their phone is their laptop essentially. And they don’t have wireless, so they have very spotty service. So they didn’t even know that our university offers hotspots now. And so one big part is informational, connecting them to that. PICKETT: I think it’s critical, appended to the comments that Sara makes, to be attentive of different populations. Certainly, it’s pronounced—it was pronounced at the beginning of the pandemic that there were a number of issues with access to broadband internet in different communities. Obviously having spent time in the state of Minnesota and thinking about the native and indigenous population and the opportunities where there was limited broadband access there, as well as hardware limitations, those are considerations that I think a number of communities have pronounced as areas of consideration. And that’s true, I think, for different areas. Certainly, that’s true in western Pennsylvania. And as Sara points out, we have a number of students of different backgrounds and of varying means economically that choose to access their courses via cellphone. So to think about the different kinds of instruction and how we’re supporting our colleagues to observe equitable practices in a virtual environment, and to think about how we have to systematize that and appropriately educate our colleagues deliver that kind of instruction is a consideration. I think the other areas of consideration, particularly as we’re thinking about digital accessibility or the conversations about general academic support in different models of delivery—so whether we’re thinking about asynchronous delivery of instruction or the different modalities of learning, to be mindful that different student populations respond to different ways and different things. And to put that as part of our consideration for the academic agenda is a consideration that I think we need to be mindful of. FASKIANOS: And just, if we could hearken back to your experience at the Community College of Allegheny, Clyde, just to talk about the disparities at community college. I know, Sara, you touched upon it, about the mental health crisis that existed before the pandemic and is, you know, they couldn’t address it because of lack of resources. But it would be interesting to hear your perspective, Clyde, from what you’ve experienced. PICKETT: Absolutely. Having had the opportunity to work directly at the Community College of Allegheny County, as well as the State System of Higher Education in Minnesota, and to serve thirty-seven community and technical colleges, it’s critical for us to put an equity lens in terms of thinking about the access to hardware and to digital resources for all of our student populations. We know that those inequities existed before that. But in a more pronounced way when we pivoted and made the jump to remote instruction, for a number of institutions and individuals there was the need to provide access to hardware as well as to digital networks for students. And those gaps existed before and exist now. I think as we think about availability of resources, that is an area of consideration. The other thing as we think about this is modality of learning, and how different populations respond to different kinds of learning. And so that’s another consideration as we think about the strategic equity agenda and how we work proactively to meet the needs of different learners to make available appropriate support, whether it’s online models for tutoring or expanded academic support for advisors—a consideration particularly at our community and technical colleges that I think is a necessity. The other consideration, and Sara talked about this in terms of the equity lens and experience, to equip our educators with utilizing appropriate training and education to not bias how they engage with learners depending on how they interface with the use of technology. To shut one’s camera off should not at all impact how an individual engages with what’s expected of them in the classroom and certain situations. So to be mindful and to communicate equitable approaches to that exchange I think is a consideration. FASKIANOS: Are there any places that you would suggest for people who would want to sort of dig in on how to better do that? I think, Sara, you mentioned Digital Pedagogy Lab as a resource. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would really highly recommend Digital Pedagogy Lab. That’s my absolute favorite resource out there. And they do institutes, and they do trainings, and so on. And I really do recommend taking a look. FASKIANOS: Great. In the work that you’ve been doing, Sara, you know, we’ve seen a lot of reports about the impact of the pandemic on women, and how many women have left the workforce because the childcare issues, and whatnot. So have you done any studies on women leaving college? And you said—I believe you said one in four have a child. So how does that fall out? GOLDRICK-RAB: Well, so I will tell you, the interesting thing about higher ed is that even though women have a substantial number of challenges, they are less likely than men to drop out. And that’s been true for a long time. There are many books written about why men are less likely to attend college, why they’re more likely to drop out of college, and so on and so forth. Even though, frankly, you know, a woman—like, the disproportionate number, for example, of people with children in higher education are single moms. There are single dads, for the record. There are married dads. All of the different things are there as well. I would not say that we have done studies, therefore, of them dropping out during this time. But we have done studies of their basic needs and their basic need security during this time. And what I can tell you is that students with children are more likely to not have their basic needs met, to have struggles with food, and housing, and so on and so forth. We don’t see really pronounced gender differences, except that I would say that gender nonconforming students, actually, are much more likely to face these challenges and to find that they’re really struggling financially. Some of the reason for that, we suspect, has to do with the way that financial aid is allocated. Those students are less likely to be able to access parental resources that make it look like the family has money, even though the student is not getting any of that support. But parenting while in college is already really difficult. And it’s especially hard in the pandemic. Students report not being able to concentrate, right? They report juggling all kinds of additional challenges. And I will say, the schools reopening right now is far from an easy thing. So you know, in many districts across the country, including here in Philadelphia, the schools are intermittently open. We have had, you know, a given class where there’s a COVID infection, and then suddenly the class is shut down. The school’s open, but the student can’t go because their class is closed for the week—they’re quarantining. This is wreaking havoc for students. I have more students than ever who are saying they don’t know what one week is going to be like to the next. And, frankly, the same thing is true for us parents who are staff and faculty. I am ready at the drop of a hat right now to run down and pick my kids up, because we—you know, we had—we’ve had COVID infections, we had a flood thanks to a hurricane and a tornado. I mean, there’s—you know, so—(laughs)—it is—it is a remarkable time to try to keep anything education going right now. FASKIANOS: Thank you. I want to just ask people, we’re coming to the end of our time. So if you have other questions—I have a whole list of questions. So I can—I can keep going on. (Laughs.) But I don’t want to filibuster here, so please raise your hands. Clyde, can you talk a little bit more about as you think about DEI leadership, how DEI leaders can encourage their institutions to think more strategically about how they take care of Black and brown population, and deal with these pandemic-related inequities? PICKETT: Absolutely. I think part of this is for us to think intentionally about how we monitor, check in, and think about the engagement of those populations on our campuses. Loud and clear as we manage and examine enrollment trends at the institutions, I think we need to be mindful of what the presence of our population is for Black and brown communities as part of our institutions, and to be attentive of that. We’re reminded that in the midst of this pandemic was the continued push for racial equity and racial equity in this country. And so a number of institutions, at the same time dealing with the challenge associated with the pandemic, also made renewed commitments to attract and retain more diverse populations across the academy. We saw a number of institutions that made commitments to attract more faculty of color, to be attentive of what it means to support scholars of color, particularly those who are Black and brown. And so thinking about what that means in terms of DEI strategy work is to be mindful of the different populations, and to assess those experiences as they have come to our institution. So we’re having a lot of conversations across the academy to think about not only the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the pandemic of racism and how it continues to impact our colleagues across the institution, more specifically our students. And so as we think about this DEI strategy, to be mindful of how we examine the experiences of our students and to think about the examination of sense of belonging as they come to our institutions, as well as how they’re assessing the experiences for holistic support. So giving the opportunity for our colleagues who are DEI strategists to have access to the data in terms of thinking about those student experiences, and how we can influence and shape policy as a consideration for the work that we do. One of the things that I will point to as a consideration, that we’ve had some success in a previous role from a systems standpoint, was to use an equity-based lens approach to reviewing all of our policies, when I was at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. And that resource and tool is available online. And we did that to provide real time opportunity for us to think about the policy implications for different populations. And there were a number of things that we unearthed as part of that experience, whether it was a disproportionate impact on Black and brown communities with our financial (holes ?), or to think about other considerations, those are kinds of—the kinds of tools that we can utilize to further move an agenda forward. So I would say that those are things that we have to use as a resource to move our agenda forward. FASKIANOS: Have you seen there to be a decline in enrollment as well? PICKETT: Obviously it depends on the institution type. So we know that community and technical colleges have suffered enrollment challenges as part of the pandemic. The University of Pittsburgh, we’re at record enrollment for Black and brown communities here at the university. So I think the institution type, the resources associated with the institution, also obviously impact how and the ways institutions are able to move agenda. So to be mindful of that is a consideration that I think we have to examine. As we think about federal support for higher education—and I know Sara referenced this earlier—that’s a consideration. As we think about the institutions who are the haves versus those been most fragile. It requires us to think about how we make specific allocation federally to influence and support those institutions. FASKIANOS: Great. Thank you. So if you were advising the Biden administration, the secretary of education, what would be the top two things that you would suggest the Biden administration to do in hiring? GOLDRICK-RAB: I am advising the Biden administration secretary of education. (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: There you go. GOLDRICK-RAB: So do you want to know what we’re advising them? (Laughs.) FASKIANOS: I do, actually. (Laughs.) GOLDRICK-RAB: I will say, for anybody who’s interested, actually I testified before Congress yesterday in front of the U.S. House of Representatives around some of the work that they need to be doing. And I really urge folks in higher ed to take a look because the conversation was about hunger and food insecurity, and the committee was the Committee on Rules. And I worry a lot that our higher ed folks are not watching that committee or the committees outside of the education committees. But I believe that Jim McGovern is actually going to play a leading role in what’s going to happen for our students and their basic needs in that space. So it’s at And you can see the hearing from yesterday. I think one of the most exciting things that is about to happen is that a man named James Kvaal is finally going to take his seat and get to do his job as undersecretary of education. You know, our secretary of education is a K-12 expert. And I’ve been really glad to see him bring on some great folks like Eloy Oakley Ortiz from the California Community Colleges as an advisor. But James Kvaal is a higher ed expert. And the undersecretary of education’s role is absolutely critical. And one of the things that he is intending to do, and that we need him to do, is to put somebody in charge of making sure that we change rules and regulations and administrative minutia to help secure students’ basic needs now. So this is the time to make sure that our students get access to SNAP, right? To make sure that we connect them to the child tax credit. There are so many things that are available to students beyond standard financial aid. And right now, the Department of Ed doesn’t tell them about any of those things. So that is absolutely imperative. And I also will say that with regard to the reconciliation bill and what the House is doing right now in terms of markup, free community college is in there and it needs to be. And it needs to happen. And it needs to pass. And the time is now. And I think that we will never regret that move. I believe that just as we expanded access to K-12 education starting with elementary school and then moving through high school, we should absolutely go for free community college. It will not be the last thing that we do, but I think it’s essential. You know, I don’t know how much folks remember the last recession, but I was doing a lot of research during that time. And I’ll tell you that all the growth in the enrollment, all the returning growth to higher ed came, right, from students going to community colleges, and came from largely part-time folks. And so we’re going to see people returning because they need higher education. And we need to make sure that those institutions are able to help them succeed. A lot of people think going to community college is not the best move. You know, they don’t have the best outcomes. And I have one really clear answer for you: You get what you pay for. If you give them the resources and you give the students the resources so that they go to institutions and they actually can focus on learning and not worrying about if they have to eat, they will graduate and they will do well. PICKETT: I, of course, double down on that support for thinking about how we make community college accessible to all. Obviously, a long-standing advocate for community and technical colleges. It’s something that is a priority for me. And we know statistically the largest populations of Black and brown students who ultimately complete a four-year degree start at community and technical colleges. So that has to be a priority. And I think in terms of funding and making that a priority, it is a consideration absolutely that we have to keep front and center. The other thing that I would offer is for us to think continually about how we support intentional holistic support. Whether it’s mental health support, how we address housing insecurity and food insecurity for consideration for our college students has to be a consideration as well, and to be mindful of what that means long-term. It’s an investment in our future of the country. And so I think we have to be mindful that while there is an investment now, long-term it will yield considerable benefits for us as a nation, and for us to not only provide access, but holistic support during that process ultimately will put us in a much better place and lead us down a greater path holistically in terms of where we want to be in the future for this country. FASKIANOS: Thank you. And I’m going to go now to Elsa Dias, who has her hand raised. Q: Yes. I am. Thank you. I am a—I am faculty at a community college in Colorado—at Pikes Peak Community College. And I’m—so to support some of what is being said currently here. But I don’t think that students are getting what they’re paying for at community colleges. I think that they’re getting much more than what they are getting at community colleges. So that statement is sort of—I don’t know that I appreciate the statement, because I think that students at community colleges we are working with consistently cut budgets, more so than four schools. And we have much more difficulty in raising tuition. It’s not the same thing as in—as in four-year schools. We deal with populations that are in higher need than four-year schools. And we have to meet very different criteria than four-year schools. Our standards in terms of meeting what the students need and what—we are heavily legislated upon, right? So there is these state legislations that sort of affect us very differently than they do four-year schools. So I do believe that students are getting much more than what they are given, and what they get at community colleges. And some of the things that we see today, during this pandemic at community colleges, are I think the stigma to go to community colleges is certainly—continues to be around. And we continue to not participate in many of the voices that we should be included in at the table. But I also think that it’s important to realize that our administrators are faced with much higher challenges than administrators at four-year schools, and so in the faculty. And the lack of investment in faculty at four-year schools does not even come close to the lack of investments that we suffer at community colleges. We have to do a lot more with a lot less. Thank you. GOLDRICK-RAB: So if I may respond, I think maybe, Elsa, I wasn’t entirely heard for what I was saying. What I was saying was that you are doing a tremendous amount with very little. And the point is when you say what you get what you pay for, right, is if we want to have 100 percent graduation rates at community colleges, the way we do at Harvard, then we should be resourcing the schools, including the faculty, the student support services, et cetera. What we do in higher education is that we give the schools that educate the most vulnerable the least amount of money on a per-student basis. So for example, if you take a look—I served on the national taskforce around the adequate funding for the nation’s community colleges. That was all about showing that if you were going to fund community college adequately to actually address the needs of students, and to do so where they would much—have much higher rates of graduation and success in the completion of their programs, you would be spending approximately four to five to six times what you’re currently spending. I outline all of this in a very extensive—I have about a fifty-page report called “The Challenges and Opportunities Facing Community Colleges,” which came out in 2010, which actually delineates the underspending on community college faculty, on community college staff, and so on and so forth. I think, given the severe economic disparities between these institutions, their students, and the four-year colleges, it’s a miracle that in many ways we get anything, right? That students are able to graduate, because we spend so very, very little. So as a quick last example, in the state of New Jersey taxpayer support goes to Princeton University at fifty times the rate of taxpayer support going to New Jersey Community Colleges. Fifty times. So we should expect, right, that if we increased the support to students at those community colleges there is a strong relationship between the inputs of the finances and the outputs that they produce. I think it’s worthy of a greater investment. So I think we’re actually agreeing. FASKIANOS: Clyde, anything you would like to add? PICKETT: Well, just that loud and clear I hear the comments and what Elsa brings in. I appreciate the clarity from Sara there. Having had the opportunity to be an administrator at a community college and a developmental studies adjunct faculty member at a community college, I know loud and clear that we’re working proactively to meet the needs of our learners in a way that supports them where they are. And we do transformational work. To be clear, that that transformational work should be embraced, welcomed, and supported by four-year institutions. So those of us who are working and serving on the four-year institution side of the house to actually normalize and champion access to community and technical colleges, and to do so in such a way that embraces and makes smooth pipelines and opportunities for our learners who transfer—who complete their education, and to make sure there are appropriate matriculation agreements for programs of study for our students who ultimately complete their four-year education at institutions like the University of Pittsburgh, but start at community and technical colleges. FASKIANOS: Thank you. We are almost out of time, so I wanted to give you each a few minutes to just touch upon anything we didn’t touch upon or cover or leave us with some final thoughts. So, Sara, why don’t we start with you and then we’ll go to Clyde. GOLDRICK-RAB: Clyde was about to go. Please go, Clyde. FASKIANOS: Clyde was about to go. All right, Clyde. PICKETT: No, I appreciate the opportunity. Once again, thank you for allowing me to spend time with you, allowing me to be with you in community. And this is just an opportunity for us to reaffirm where we are in terms of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. And more specifically, to acknowledge that the areas of vulnerability that we’ve identified, the inequity, have been longstanding with regard to the academy. It’s an opportunity for us to flip the mirror and have a very long pause, intentional look at how we can make remedy, how we can make change, and how we can affirm and, for some of us, reaffirm our commitment and responsibility to address the inequity that has been present, but has been further exacerbated as part of this pandemic. So now is the time for us to close equity gaps. Now is the time for us to take action. And I look forward to standing with colleagues all around the country to do so. GOLDRICK-RAB: Yeah. I would just say that, you know, the challenges are really big right now, but there’s also a lot of room for structural change. And I think we need to speak up for it and advocate for it, and not just lament it, right? You know, each of us in this country has a representative, or a couple of them, or a bunch of them, right? And they need to hear about what’s happening to higher education. It’s really, really important. One aspect of the hearing yesterday that was absolutely fascinating occurred when there was an exchange between Representative Cole, who came from Oklahoma, and the panel. And what he said was—he sat back in his chair. And he said: I’ve got to tell you, I’ve learned something today. I did not know that college students could go hungry. I did not know that this was happening. He said, we have to do something about this. Folks, tell them about what’s going on, because they do not know—many of them do not know. I’m not saying that they’ll all act, but many, many of our public leaders are very, very distanced from the realities that we’re facing, whether we’re staff, whether we’re administrators, whether we’re faculty. They are not getting it. And I think that it is so important that we communicate as much as we can because they have some big work to do right now, and some big opportunities to create change. FASKIANOS: Thank you, both. This was a really great conversation. We appreciate your insights in sharing your experience with us. And we will put together all the resources that were mentioned here and send them out to all of you to read and digest. You can follow both of our speakers on Twitter, @saragoldrickrab and @cwpick. So please go there. Again, I want to thank Dr. Goldrick-Rab and Dr. Pickett for being with us today. Next week we have a dedicated webinar series for students. And so our first one will be next week of the semester on September 15, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Eastern time, and it’s a great opportunity for students to actually ask their questions. This series is devoted to administrators and professors, but that one is for the students. And we hope you will share with your students and with your colleagues too on campus. So our next Education Webinar for the higher ed community will be on Thursday, October 21, at 12:00 p.m. Eastern time with Brian Mateo to talk about civic engagement in higher education. So I hope you’ll join us next week and in October of the next one. So with that I encourage you to follow @CFR_Academic on Twitter. Visit and for more information and resources on international affairs. And again, thank you both. We really appreciate it. (END)