Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Research Symposium session #2

I attended the Research Symposium session number 2 at Livingston Student Center  LSC 201A. The first speaker was Peter Barnas , who did research on " It's Alright, I'm still Young: Addiction and Identity in Emerging Adulthood". He talked about the social patter of thinking these days, and also focused on addiction and drug abuse as a way of compensating for the stress. Moreover, he further talked about Primary and Secondary socialization, Primary being what we learn from our home/family and secondary being what we learn from outside ( a product of social interaction). He talked that nowadays people tend to marry at age of 25 to 27 which is 5 years in advance to what was the trend before because they don't take it serious. He also mentioned that people specially youngsters nowadays take drugs such as Xanax as relaxers. Peter was followed by Kendra Avinger, who did a superb job when talking about " U.S- Mexico Border Region's Community Outreach Program:Prevention of Neglected Infections of Poverty in Southern Texas by Means of Education". Kendra talked about the tropical diseases such as malaria and dengue which are present in U.S but are not well-known and not easily diagnosed by U.S doctors. She mentioned that doctors in U.S should be trained to diagnose and treat tropical diseases . She also proposed another solution, which was to have programs in Middle school to educate children and the school staff about the spread of these tropical diseases such as dengue fever. The last was Eno Totoh, who talked about "HFCS: How Fructose Controls Society". Totoh talked about the high prevalence of fructose corn syrup in our processed foods. She said the high fructose corn syrup is not good for health and can cause certain diseases such as Diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases. So, she mentioned that the consumers should be conscious about buying products containing high fructose sugar, because it also contains mercury which is another harmful substance.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Literature Review # 5

"Racial Diversity and Friendship Groups in College: What the Research Tells Us"

by, Anthony Lising Antonio, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Stanford University

This article is written by Professor Anthony Antonio, he is an PhD and an Associate Professor at Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research. He has done research on the influence and impact of diversity among college student. In this article the author applies the method of survey, in which he surveys a diverse student body, firstly in their freshman year, and secondly in their third year of college.This study is about racial diversity of friendship groups at multicultural colleges. He uses the terms "homogeneity and heterogeneity of friendship groups". Homogeneity means that students socialize within their racial group, and heterogeneity means that students socialize outside their race or class.He conducts this study to test the legitimacy of the term " Balkanization" which refers to racial segregation of students. His study proved that although Balkanization is present at college, but it does not dominate the campus environment. Moreover, he states " . . . at the level of student friendship groups, racial and ethnic balkanization is not a dominant, overall campus characteristic. Among a particular group of students, African Americans, same-race friendships may be much more common". So, this means that balkanization is mostly seen in certain racial groups. Further on he states "Regardless of the racial and ethnic diversity of a student's best friends, students on this multicultural campus still "see" segregation". This means that although 46% of students socialize across their race they still see student segregation at the college campus. He also states that his interviews revealed : "Perceptions of the campus racial climate, therefore, are important to consider to the extent that negative perceptions may discourage socialization across race, the formation of diverse friendships, and the developmental benefits gained from those friendships". This means that we should work to change students perceptions about other races or class so to remove all interaction barriers in a multi-cultural college campus.This study is important for my research paper because it tests the validity of the arguments made by the people who talk about the challenges of diversity. His survey proves that students perceptions about diversity greatly differ from their experience of diversity. He highlights this discrepancy which if solved can remove barriers of inter-racial friendships in a multicultural campus and provide students with an opportunity that already exists in their campus (to socialize across their race).  

Antonio, Anthony. "Racial Diversity and Friendship Groups in College: What the Research Tells Us." Diversity Digest. n. page. Print. 

Counter argument Research Blog #9

Counter Argument: 

The argument in my research paper on topic " The iceberg of racial diversity policies/environment at college campus and the challenges/consequences that come along with it", is that universities and colleges these days are just focusing on increasing the diversity of their colleges instead of finding ways to meet challenges that come along with diversity policies such as, affirmative action. This has discoursed the real goal of diversity and affirmative action from academic point of view to racial-balancing. There are two sides to this topic, one side thinks that racial diverse policies have no consequences and that they are greatly just and beneficial to all; whereas , the other side thinks that although the real goal or motto of diversity at college campuses is not wrong, but it's benefits can be achieved by monitored and regulated environment, which come along with it's consequences/ challenges, for which something should be done.I totally disagree with the view that racial diverse policies/environment have no challenges or consequences, because if it had been true than we wouldn't have had cases like "Fischer Vs. University of Texas". Elizabeth Aries in her book " Race and Class Matters at an Elite College", has talked about several solutions to the challenges met by students studying in a racial/class diverse college. In my interview with Professor Tillery, he said that " who ever talks about the challenges and consequences of racism or thinks Fischer deserved admission at University of Texas, is just looking for their own benefit", so all the sources that I have read so far, do talk about the impact of racial and class diversity at colleges. Another counter argument is that why do we even emphasize on race?, and by these racial diverse policies prove to them that they are different from others deteriorating the feeling of oneness/unity.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Blog #8

This is a picture that I choose to use in my final paper . It shows exactly how we react in a racially diverse campus. It also supports the idea of racial segregated student groups in colleges. In colleges groups such as Pakistani student association, Jewish Student association, Indian student association are also markers which reinforce the racial/religious and ethnic differences among college students. I have never seen a Muslim student joining Jewish group or vice versa. The former example is one example of a diverse college environment in which students tend to gather with those who are similar to them. Although this does not mean that students don't interact across their race or ethnic group . So the cartoon above shows and reinforces this view point. My paper will provide an insight to the extent to which this hypothesis is true.

Blog #7 Case

My topic for research paper is " The iceberg of racial diversity policies/environment at a college campus : benefits that come along with undercover deleterious consequences".

 The example or the chief case in my paper is Fisher Vs. University of Texas case. This is an ideal case, which is directly related to my research topic. It talks about the value and authenticity of consequences associated with racial diversity policy of affirmative action in US colleges and universities . This case is under it's final review process in the US Supreme court. It involves undergraduate student Abigail Fisher, who sued  University of Texas in 2008 because she was rejected admission to the University. She asks the court to declare the admissions policy inconsistent or to over rule it. There are two arguments regarding this case; one, that Fisher would have not been able to get admission because of her low academic performance at school even if the university didn't have any affirmative action policy. The other side argues that due to the affirmative action policy in Universities other people are suffering and there will be more people like Fisher who get rejected because of universities affirmative action policy. My paper will help to answer which side is more authentic and even if the affirmative action policy has benefits to the minority groups they also come along with consequences, and this case is one of the consequences of racial diverse policies in USA. Moreover, my research paper will magnify this issue and then give answers whether it is legitimate of overlook the consequences of the racial diversity policies at college campuses because of its benefits. The article that I am using for this case is by Susannah Pollvogt and it's details are given in my blog post #4.
                                                   Sources Sited

This is a you tube link on a discussion panel held by George Washington University.

Pollvogt, Susannah. Casting Shadows: Fisher V. University of Texas at Austin and the Misplaced fear of " Too Much" Diversity. Diss. University of Maryland School of Law, 2013. Web. <>.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I interviewed  Professor Alvin B. Tillery-CV (Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Vice Chair). He is a PhD from Harvard University, 2001 and BA., Morehouse College, 1993. I choose to interview him because his specialty is in American Politics, and he has done research in Identity Politics, History of American Political Thought and American Political Development. I had a telephone interview with Professor Tillery, his thoughts gave me the answer to my counter argument, that the benefits of a diverse college campus over weigh the consequences that come along with it. Moreover, he said that the people who are against campus policies of affirmative action, such as those in case of Fisher Vs. University of Texas case keep their stake/side for their own benefit. Furthermore, he explained that had it been an equal and balanced society then there would have been no talk about identity or race. His point of view suggests that affirmative action gives equal representation right to the minorities. Professor Tillery States: " In a country that is increasingly diverse, university education at top level is important for training of top leadership class, it can only make sense when those students reflect their ethnic, racial and religious diversity. Thats what elite universities are". He also states, "  Affirmative policies don't just help racial minorities they also help people across borders, e.g if you go to Berkeley, had it been a fully race neutral environment you would be in a class full of Asians".
Professor Tillery also states that the Fisher case makes no sense, because even if the university did not have an affirmative action policy Fisher still would not have been able to make it to the University of Texas because her SAT scores were low.

Tillery, Alvin : "Telephone Interview" 03/25/2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Literature Review Blog #4

Casting Shadows: Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and the Misplaced Fear of "Too Much" Diversity

This article is written by Susannah W. Pollvogt, she is an adjunct Professor and Bar exam consultant at University of Denver, Sturm College of Law. She was a staff attorney at Vermont Supreme court. In this article she talks about the current case of Fisher versus University of Texas. In this case the undergraduate student Abigail Fisher in 2008, asks that the court either declare the admission policy of university inconsistent with or entirely overrule the affirmative action policy. The term affirmative action in this context means considering race as an important factor in college admissions.The supreme court still has to give the final verdict on this case. Susannah talks about the relationship between remedial and educational excellence justifications for race-conscious admission decisions/policies. Remedial excellence means to help improve the historical racism, universities implement affirmative action; whereas, educational excellence justification means that universities implement affirmative action for the educational e=benefit of the students. Furthermore, Susannah also talks about the anxiety of the justices in the 5 th circuit about the excessive racial diversity. She quotes Justice Powell, who was the decision maker during Bakke case involving University of Michigan Law school. He states, ". . .Thus, in arguing that its universities must be accorded the right to select those students who will contribute the most to the “robust exchange of ideas,” petitioner invokes a countervailing constitutional interest, that of the First Amendment. In this light, petitioner must be viewed as seeking to achieve a goal that is of paramount importance in the fulfillment of its mission" (page 5).  So, by this Justice Powell justified the state interest in the law of affirmative action. Moreover he also states, " Academic freedom, though not a specifically enumerated constitutional right, long has been viewed as a special concern of the First Amendment. The freedom of a university to make its own judgments as to education includes the selection of its student body" (page 5 ). This quote also allows makes it legitimate for the universities to use affirmative action policy. Susannah also states, " Under an educational excellence justification ,by contrast, we would assume that schools are free to continuously reassess their diversity needs and refine their admissions policies to achieve optimal student-body compositions. And schools should be permitted to include consideration of race in this analysis , so long as race still "matters" as a part of identity" ( page 11). The author supports the justification for affirmative action policies at colleges on basis of educational excellence. She thinks that the court should decide on a decision that is for all times to come, for our pluralistic society, which would foster vibrant intellectual environment. This article relates to my topic because it talks about a case which is one of the challenges faced by a diverse student environment/policies at college campuses. This helps me to explore my research question to a greater extent, because while mentioning the Fisher case, it also talks about the importance of affirmative action policy in maintaining academic excellence in colleges. So it gives me another "so what" question, which is ; Does the benefits of racial diversity at college campuses overshadow/overrule it's side effects?

Pollvogt, Susannah. Casting Shadows: Fisher V. University of Texas at Austin and the Misplaced fear of " Too Much" Diversity. Diss. University of Maryland School of Law, 2013. Web. <>.