The Weekly WrapThe Weekly Wrap

The Weekly Wrap: Is University Divestment Becoming a Reality?

Also: New York City’s mayor is ignoring an expert panel on school desegregation.

University Union at Sacramento State

(Photo via Sacramento State University / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Now, onto the briefs…

Sacramento State University Changes Investment Policies in Response to Encampment

Sacramento State University has updated its socially responsible investing guidelines so that it no longer invests with companies that profit from genocide, ethnic cleansing or human rights violations, according to KCRA. The decision is a response to an encampment formed on the campus protesting the university’s investment in companies that profit from Israel’s genocide against Palestinians. (The university also said it did not have any such investments, but directs the finance committee to ensure this is the case.) KCRA couldn’t confirm if the university is planning to divest from all companies that do business with Israel, which a consensus of experts on genocide believe is engaging in genocide. Meanwhile, Mike Lee, president of Sonoma State University, has been placed on administrative leave for “insubordination” after he agreed to meet protestors’ demands, according to Politico.

Mayor Eric Adams Ignored Recommendations For School Desegregation

A report from NYU Metro Center shared with City & State found that Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Education Chancellor David Banks showed “a clear lack of central leadership and intention” when it came to desegregating New York City’s public schools. The report found that recommendations from an advisory group created during the previous mayoral administration have almost entirely been ignored by the Adams administration. (It was co-authored by some leaders of that advisory group.) The panel recommended a moratorium on new gifted and talented programs and the end of academic tracking of elementary school students. It also recommended funding district-level high school admissions planning.

The Adams administration ignored those recommendations and, in some cases, did the opposite, reinstating screening measures in middle schools that had ended the practice and failing to add funding for admissions planning. An Adams administration spokesperson told City & State that parents want more gifted and talented programs in their neighborhoods and said segregation was a housing issue that is beyond the education department’s purview. In 2022, a UCLA report found that NYC’s public schools were the most segregated in the nation for Black students.

NYC’s Racial Equity Commission Releases Goals

New York City’s Commission on Racial Equity, which was approved by ballot referendum in November 2022, released 16 “community equity priorities” on Monday including free tuition at most City University of New York schools and creating trauma-informed mental health options that “lessens reliance” on police. The priorities also include closing the gap between the city’s population and government positions by race, gender and disability, removing racial bias in “computer-based instructions,” (the commission’s term for algorithmic bias), providing funds for families facing eviction, and increasing the ability of communities harmed by racism to buy public and private land. The commission is seeking input for a full equity plan that will be released in November, according to Gothamist. The commission has announced 11 of the 14 “commissioners” who will serve on its panel, with the final three to be appointed by Mayor Adams in the coming months.

Bay Area, Chicago Weigh Separate Plans to Streamline Transit Agencies

Governing reports that Chicago is considering a proposal to combine some of its transit agencies, as is the Bay Area. The Bay Area has 27 different transit agencies across its nine counties and over 100 municipalities, whereas Chicago has three across the city. Proposals in both states are unlikely to be approved this year; the Illinois bill will receive hearings this summer and elected officials referred to it as a “conversation starter.” In California, elected officials introduced the Connect Bay Area Act, which requires a study of consolidating the area’s transit agencies. An advocacy group called Seamless Bay Area pushing for the California bill said it would make transportation “more frequent, fast” and coordinated. The bill also authorizes new revenue sources from payroll or sales taxes which could bring an additional $1 billion to $2 billion annually, according to Seamless Bay Area. Many transit agencies across the country are still strapped for cash as the shift to remote work has decreased ridership.

Push For Medicaid to Fund Doulas and Midwives

Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative Gwen Moore introduced legislation last week that would allow Medicaid to cover midwives and doulas, the 19th reports. The “Mamas First Act” seeks to address a deficit of OB-GYNs and a high rate of pregnancy-related deaths, especially among Black women. According to a 2022 report, almost 7 million women live in areas with little or no maternity care. The Department of Health and Human Services reports that the country will lose 3,360 OB-GYNs between 2019 and 2030 and will gain 3,120 certified nurse midwives during the same time.


Curated by Deonna Anderson

MORE NEWS

  • Most of the 68 SUNY Purchase students who were arrested amid campus encampments will not be prosecuted. They will instead be enrolled in an alternative to incarceration program called “Fresh Start” designed to keep first-time offenders out of the criminal justice system. LOHUD

  • A North Carolina city wants to raze Black properties, at the cost of generational wealth. The decision now sits with the state’s Supreme Court. Capital B

  • Restorative justice program funding could be cut by more than half, with funding set to expire. City officials previously bolstered the programs with federal pandemic relief money. ChalkBeat New York

EVENTS

  • June 6 at 1 p.m. Eastern: The Maven Collaborative is hosting a conversation about how it has embraced joy in its Black woman-centered economic justice work, “even as the racial equity promises of 2020 crumble before us.” Learn more and register here.

  • The Next City team is planning events throughout the rest of 2024. Be on the lookout for them on our event page here!

This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: transit agencieshealthcareeducationsegregationhigher educationmaternal healthinvestment

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