Minorities more likely to be disciplined in school, says MU professor

2 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago Wednesday, September 20 2017 Sep 20, 2017 Wednesday, September 20, 2017 2:42:00 PM CDT September 20, 2017 in News
By: Daniel Litwin, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA – Colleges and universities are probably discriminating against minority students in their enforcement of Title IX policies and other disciplinary processes, says one MU professor.

MU associate law professor Ben Trachtenberg is releasing a new article early next year in the Nevada Law Journal that he hopes brings to light a data issue with higher education.

“It’s been discovered and observed for years and years and years that black students are disproportionately likely to be suspended or expelled from public schools,” Trachtenberg said.

Unfortunately, this data doesn’t exist at the University of Missouri.

“I realized that we don’t have any numbers like that at the University of Missouri, and that’s not because Mizzou is unusual.” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg found higher education across the country doesn’t compile disciplinary data based on race or ethnicity at all, and he said there are several factors at play.

“I think for a lot of universities it simply didn’t occur to anyone to keep [the data]. At some other universities, folks might be afraid of being embarrassed, because no one wants to collect data that shows they’re treating people differently on the basis of race,” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg also said there might be a fear of litigation if universities start collecting that information.

“If they happen to keep data that shows racial disparities, someone might then complain,” Trachtenberg said.

Trachtenberg says in his article there are massive racial disparities in student discipline at K-12 schools and in the justice system, citing research collected in Columbia that says black students are expelled and suspended three times more than white students in public schools.

“In my mind, it would be a miracle if colleges and universities were the one place where implicit biases and other factors didn’t lead to racially disparate impact,” Trachtenberg said.

Adia Woodson, president of MU's NAACP chapter, agrees with Trachtenberg's concerns.

"I think it would be nice to just know who is getting in trouble for what or what people are getting in trouble for and seeing the number of people that do so," Woodson said. "Numbers don't lie...actually knowing is much better than assuming. I think the data definitely needs to be made public."

Woodson blames media portrayal of black people as "criminals, thugs and gangsters" as part of the problem, and that with these kinds of issues, it usually comes down to subconscious implicit biases.

"It's not intentional, it's a product of how we were raised," Woodson said. "It ultimately kind of leaves in people's minds, 'oh, well, maybe he is a bad person,' and not always seeing the better side of someone because you've always seen the bad side of this race of people."

Most universities already compile demographic data for their students, and Trachtenberg said it wouldn’t be difficult for universities to record similar information for students who receive disciplinary action.

“That doesn’t mean that people’s individual discipline cases are going to be exposed to the public. We can respect student privacy while still releasing aggregate data like they do in the public schools,” Trachtenberg said.

He also said it goes beyond just Title IX; it affects all disciplinary processes.

"If a student gets suspended for academic dishonesty or getting drunk and vomiting on the chancellor's lawn, we might as well track the demographics of that so we can see what are the patterns,” Trachtenberg said. 

When he realized the data didn't exist for higher education, he decided to do more research on his own.

Trachtenberg hopes to make his conclusions known to the federal government. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is planning to open a period of public comment on Title IX reform, and Trachtenberg said he will send in his findings to hopefully incite some change.

Woodson is thankful that people are promoting this kind of discourse.

"Whenever it comes to anything that has to do with race, people are always afraid to talk about it, but there's no fixing the problem without talking about it," Woodson said. "It's important that we're having these conversations."

Trachtenberg’s article will be published in the Nevada Law Journal by March 2018.

More News

Grid
List
ORONOGO (AP) — Homeowners living near a gun range in southwest Missouri are concerned about stray bullets that have been... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:32:30 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - When someone goes to the doctor for a checkup, they might expect the regular look at their eyes,... More >>
1 hour ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 3:15:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's attorney general is weighing whether to appoint a special investigator to check into use of... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 2:45:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - One MU Nursing School program has reduced the number of nursing home patients from hospitalization by nearly 50... More >>
2 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 2:24:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- The Missouri Attorney General's office is forming an advisory board to develop the first statewide program in Missouri that... More >>
4 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 12:22:00 PM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - The city plans to begin repairing base failures in the Thornbrook Subdivision beginning Dec. 11 at 8 a.m.... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 11:34:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri state representative has filed more legislation which would redefine "marriage" as a "contract of domestic... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 11:22:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Monday is the final day to donate to Columbia Parks and Recreation’s Almeta Crayton Memorial Toy Drive. ... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 10:58:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens says he wants his five new appointees to the state veterans... More >>
6 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 10:50:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - UPDATE: 1:44 P.M. A police officer confirmed white paint footprints are related to Monday's investigation. The police officer... More >>
9 hours ago Monday, December 11 2017 Dec 11, 2017 Monday, December 11, 2017 7:34:00 AM CST December 11, 2017 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Nearly four years ago to the day, local business owner Linda Bonebrake was diagnosed with severe sepsis at... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 6:47:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Bird lovers got an up close look at birds typically seen in their backyards Sunday. It... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 5:36:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Museums around Columbia hosted docent led tours Sunday, spreading awareness about their exhibits and art collections. Docents are... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:59:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - 2017 will mark the 140th Christmas the historic Maplewood House has seen from its home in south Columbia.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:54:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MU Police Department, MU Greek Life, local businesses and residents made Operation Steal Back Christmas a huge success.... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:31:00 PM CST December 10, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — After more than 20 years of providing resources and activities for home schooling, a southwest Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:38:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jordan Geist, a role player known most for his scrappy style, scored 28 points Saturday night... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Alyssa Schell joined the University of Missouri Police Department as a dispatcher in February, excited to be living out... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:28:00 AM CST December 10, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 50°
5pm 49°
6pm 46°
7pm 45°
8pm 43°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 5
5:30p
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt
6:00p
KOMU 8 News @ 6
5:00p
American Dad!
5:30p
American Dad!
6:00p
Family Guy

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
Better Late Than Never
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Valor
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld