Accessibility links

Breaking News

Student Union

Caste System Seen as Diversity Issue on US Campuses

Sonja Thomas, associate professor and department chair of women's, gender and sexuality studies at Colby College, October 13, 2021, that is banning discrimination based on caste, a system of inherited social class, becoming one of the nation's earliest colleges to do so.
Sonja Thomas, associate professor and department chair of women's, gender and sexuality studies at Colby College, October 13, 2021, that is banning discrimination based on caste, a system of inherited social class, becoming one of the nation's earliest colleges to do so.

Colby College is banning discrimination based on caste, a system of inherited social class, becoming one of the nation's earliest colleges to do so.

The private liberal arts college revised its nondiscrimination policy to add caste to its list of protections for the campus community.

The efforts were led by a professor who took an interest in caste discrimination across the country and realized the college needed to recognize it as a form of discrimination, the Bangor Daily News reported.

"You have to first name what it is to say: This exists, we name it, we stand against it," said Sonja Thomas, associate professor and department chair of women's, gender and sexuality studies at Colby.

While caste is often associated with South Asia, such class-based systems come into play across religions, cultures and countries, and even in technology industries and academia, Thomas said.

Of the more than 1 million international students in the U.S., half are from China or India, according to the Institute of International Education in New York.

Colby doesn't have a large student population from South Asia, but it's increasing the diversity of its student population, so "it's important that we take a step back, reflect on on the polices that we call upon to promote inclusivity and safeguard members of the community," said Tayo Clyburn, dean of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Colby College's updated policy, announced this week, follows one at Brandeis University in Massachusetts, which declared in late 2019 that it would prohibit caste discrimination on its campus.

See all News Updates of the Day

Hong Kong can help link students in US, China 

FILE - A visitor sets up his camera in the Victoria Peak area to photograph Hong Kong's skyline, Sept. 1, 2019.
FILE - A visitor sets up his camera in the Victoria Peak area to photograph Hong Kong's skyline, Sept. 1, 2019.

Pandemics, climate change and other global challenges require nations and scientists to work together, and student exchanges are a great way to foster that cooperation.

Writing in The South China Morning Post, Brian Y.S. Wong explains that Hong Kong has a crucial role to play in connecting students in the United States and China. (May 2024)

Learn about religious accommodations in US colleges  

FILE - St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., March 16, 2022.
FILE - St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel on the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn., March 16, 2022.

From prayer services to housing options and vegetarian meal selections, colleges in the United States offer ways to accommodate students of various faiths.

In U.S. News & World Report,Anayat Durrani explains how you can learn about religious accommodations at colleges and universities. (April 2024)

US community colleges create unique bachelor’s degrees

US community colleges create unique bachelor’s degrees
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:15 0:00

In the United States, community colleges traditionally give two-year associate’s degrees and certificates. That is changing as more of these colleges develop bachelor’s degree programs. The higher degree from these schools is making college more accessible and affordable nationally and internationally. Robin Guess reports. Camera: Roy Kim.

Purdue U student from Nicaragua loves soccer and her studies

FILE - The Purdue University Marching Band plays with facemasks in place before the start of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, May 30, 2021.
FILE - The Purdue University Marching Band plays with facemasks in place before the start of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, May 30, 2021.

A student from Nicaragua blends academics and athletics to excel at Purdue University in the U.S. state of Indiana.

Andrea Martinez talks about her passion for soccer and her studies here. (April 2024)

Writer offers packing tips for international students

FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.
FILE - The UCLA campus on April 25, 2019.

Deciding what to bring to college can be daunting.

A student from Singapore writes about her must-haves as an international student in the U.S.

Read it here. (April 2024)

Load more

XS
SM
MD
LG