Posts Tagged ‘Syracuse University’

Study: Minorities Still Locked Out of Most Institutions

May 5, 2011 Comments off

   Taking command: President Obama talks with members of the national security team in the White House situtation room following the conclusion of the mission

by Dr. Boyce Watkins,, Scholarship in Action 

I took a look at an ABC News picture of President Barack Obama sitting in a Situation Room with lead advisers watching the assassination of Obama bin Laden.  Everyone had a tense look on their face, as 10 years of hard work suddenly came down to the wire.  I couldn’t help but notice, as I scanned all the faces across the room, that there were only two women present (Hillary Clinton and another woman in the back), and one bi-racial black man (President Obama).  Every other person in the room was a white male. 

What startles me the most is that millions of other Americans can look at this picture and see absolutely nothing wrong with it.  The “white guy’s club” has always been the status quo in leadership positions.

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Your Black News: Syracuse Students Voice Their Thoughts on Dr. Boyce’s Tenure Battle

December 16, 2009 1 comment

Reported in the SU Student Voice.


The Rev. Jesse Jackson and former Rep. Cynthia McKinney have now thrust themselves into the debate over Boyce Watkins’ tenure appeal, The Student Voice has learned.

Three days after the Rev. Al Sharpton sent Syracuse University Chancellor Nancy Cantor a letter in support of Whitman professor Boyce Watkins’ pending tenure appeal case, Jackson told Watkins that he wanted to get involved. Watkins sent SV writer Naresh Vissa a text message early this morning saying Jackson wants to speak with Cantor as soon as possible.

Watkins and Cantor are scheduled to meet today to discuss Watkins’ future at the university after he was denied tenure, first reported in The Student Voice.

And McKinney, the Green Party presidential candidate in 2008, wrote what Watkins called “the most astonishing letter in support of my tenure case” to SU administration yesterday. Prominent African-American syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux has also voiced her support for Watkins.


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CNN’s Anderson Cooper Blog Weighs in on the Heather Ellis Case

November 19, 2009 2 comments

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Heather Ellis is facing 15-years in prison for allegedly cutting line at a Wal-Mart store in Missouri.

Heather Ellis is facing 15-years in prison for allegedly cutting line at a Wal-Mart store in Missouri.

Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World  
Special to AC360°

Heather Ellis is in trouble. The 24-year old preacher’s daughter has spent most of her life doing the right things: Going to college, getting ready for medical school and staying out of trouble. What Heather didn’t realize is that even when you do the right things, your margin of error as a person of color in America is virtually non-existent.

When I wrote my book, “What if George Bush were a Black Man?” the key point was that America’s justice system has a difficult time understanding that punishments must match the magnitude of the crime that has allegedly been committed. The actions that a “frat boy” can get away with 20 times during college can send an African American to prison for the next 20-years. America is a country that has, without question, consistently over-charged, over-searched, over-incarcerated and over-sentenced African Americans for the past 400 years of its existence.

Given its ugly past, the criminal justice system has very little credibility, and even police reports are subject to being questioned – especially in a town like Kennett, MO. My father’s a cop, so I know how all this works. Even when black men were lynched 100 years ago, there were always “witnesses” and police reports to say that he was a bad person. Fortunately, lynching does not occur anymore (although a black boy – Walter Currie Jr. – was burned alive by his white classmate in the same area as Heather), but the noose has been replaced with the long prison sentence as the most typical and most devastating form of punishment. As a result, black men and women are filling up America’s penitentiaries at an alarming rate, and it is destroying the core of the black family.

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Your Black Brothers: Dr. Boyce Watkins: Lessons Jim Brown Has Taught Me

December 19, 2008 Leave a comment

jim-brown1Why I love The Great Jim Brown

By: Dr. Boyce Watkins

Founder –

I got a phone call today. I get a lot of calls from “observers” (translation: supporters and haterologists), and I appreciate every single one of them. However, being as busy as I am, I usually don’t have time to call anyone back. I call my mama back and if my daughter would call me, she would be at the top of my list. I also call my grandmother. That’s enough to fill the free time at airports or on the way to the office. […]

On this day, I had some free time. I was driving to the office and I had a message from a woman named Karen. Karen’s family is full of Syracuse alumni. Honestly, most calls and emails I get from Syracuse alumni are not all that favorable. […]

But Karen was worth the investment because she was super duper cool. It also turned out that Karen is the daughter of the greatest alumnus in Syracuse University history, the great Jim Brown.

Jim was not amazing for what he did on the field. Yes, he had super human strength and was such an outstanding athlete that they changed the rules to find ways to stop him. But that doesn’t impress me, for black men have always possessed amazing athletic ability. […]

What impressed the HELL out of me was Jim Brown’s COURAGE. That is what left his mark on the university, and that is what will leave his mark on the world […]

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Your Black Sports: The Express Path to Racial Equality

September 12, 2008 Leave a comment

The Express Path to Racial Equality

By Dr. Boyce Watkins

“The Express” is a new film featuring the great Ernie Davis, one of the most amazing college athletes in American History and the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. He was also a football player for Syracuse University, the campus on which I teach.

I watched the trailer for the film with pride, feeling good about this man and what he accomplished. I saw all the ads, the banners around campus, the website pictures and other excitement as the city prepared for the film’s premiere. I then had a couple of thoughts.

First, I thought about the residual impact of historical racism. Most of the time, when liberal universities talk about racism, the context is one in which racism is something that happened “back then”, and “we are all better now”. The conversation is one of (relatively justifiable) celebration for just how far our nation has come in the fight for social justice.

What is most ironic about this analysis is that it forgets one important fact: the past is not something that existed once and then disappeared. The past is all around us. The present and past CANNOT be disconnected because the present is created by the past, and the past consistently manifests itself in the social infrastructure of our institutions. For example, in the days of Ernie Davis (not that long ago), African Americans were rarely allowed onto my campus (along with many others) and were certainly not allowed to be part of the decision-making bodies of these campuses. This led to a skewed inter-generational transfer of power that reflects itself in the vast degree of (in Georgetown University scholar Christopher Metzler’s words) “academic imperialism” that we see today. If you take a tour of most campuses, you see that there are few Black faces on the faculty, almost none of them tenured…

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