As Texas Bans DEI Offices at Public Colleges, Rice University’s Inclusion Efforts March On

Diversity, equity and inclusion efforts have become a lightning rod for debate in American higher education. At Rice University—a private university in Houston, Texas—officials admit impact is hard to measure, but they also see progress from their work.

(Ms. Classroom wants to hear from educators and students being impacted by legislation attacking public education, higher education, gender, race and sexuality studies, activism and social justice in education, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs. Submit pitches and/or op-eds and reflections to Ms. contributing editor Aviva Dove-Viebahn at adove-viebahn@msmagazine.com.)

Why Sororities Should Admit Nonbinary Members 

Fa Guzmán, a nonbinary student, was thrilled to join a sorority in August 2022. Thus, they were shocked in April 2023, when the national sorority organization decided to interpret their policies differently: Fa was banned, kicked out of the sorority with no opportunity to appeal, due to being nonbinary. 

Gender nonconforming, nonbinary and transgender children, teens and adults have been increasingly subjected to restrictive legislation and policies that deny their gender, their bodily autonomy and their agency. On college campuses, sororities could offer close friendships and a deeper sense of belonging on campus—if it weren’t for national policies that often restrict membership based on sex assigned at birth.

Teach Students Asian American History and Advocacy: ‘Our Movements Are Stronger When We Stand Together’

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) are creating a movement to implement accurate and culturally representative curricula in public schools. The majority of Ohioans want this education—and we see this desire echoed nationally: In Illinois, we saw the historic passage of the TEAACH Act in 2021. Similar legislation was passed in New Jersey and Connecticut in 2022, showing a need and desire for inclusive curricula across the country. These education bills encompass a wide array of identities and histories.

We understand that our histories and our futures are tied to one another. This is the core of the AAPI curriculum movement.

As the New York Adult Survivors Act Nears Expiration, Survivors of Dr. Robert Hadden Are Left in the Dark

The New York Adult Survivors Act (ASA) expires on Nov. 23, 2023—yet the tens of thousands of patients of Dr. Robert Hadden have not been notified of his history of sexually assaulting women in his gynecology practice. Unless Columbia University urgently notifies these patients, survivors may miss the window to file civil suits.

To Fight the ‘War on Woke,’ We Need Poetry and Poets

I’m a former professor at the New College of Florida—I resigned the end of July.

On July 19, 2023, Robert Allen published an opinion piece in the Sarasota Herald Tribune criticizing the lack of ideological balance in the New College faculty and listing myself, faculty chair Amy Reid and gender studies professor Nick Clarkson as “pedagogical aberrations” that exemplified his point.

Shortly thereafter, I resigned—which would have happened regardless of Allen’s piece. However, Allen’s piece has invited me to speak up and, after much deliberation and careful wordsmithing, I’ve decided I want to share my story.

I Was Low-Income and Undocumented, But I Dreamed of College. Now I’m ACLU’s Deputy National Political Director.

With recent judicial blows to affirmative action and DACA, and attacks on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, many underrepresented students are left wondering: Now what?

Do they belong in higher education? Will they have the opportunity to go to college? Will they have a successful career? Will they ever make it? Growing up Latina, low-income and undocumented, Maribel Hernández Rivera had the same questions. Now, she is the ACLU’s deputy national policy director and is searching for ways to support and mentor the next generation.

New College of Florida Eliminates Gender Studies Program, Leaving Students in the Crossfire

Professor Viki Peer was hired in the fall of 2022 to teach a course for the New College of Florida’s gender studies program. Instead, what unfolded before her and the student body was a complete conservative takedown of the institution by the Board of Trustees.

“The spirit of critical thinking, compassion and creative resistance is still alive at New College among the faculty, students and staff who remain.”

‘Banned! Voices from the Classroom’: The Path to an Elite Education, in the Absence of Affirmative Action

With a recent Supreme Court ruling gutting affirmative action, parents and students find themselves navigating a landscape where the rules have shifted with little notice.

A high-schooler about to apply for college, and his mom, join their voices: “Both of us feel whiplashed by the constant yo-yo between our identities and contributions. It is in these sudden changes that we stand together, searching for understanding. In our shared experiences of marginalization, two generations can transcend difference, because we both know what it means to be made invisible, and we each feel the well-intentioned pressure to get it right the first time because of insider information and academic achievements.”