The union that represents the faculty argued that the layoff notices in February “appeared to target members of minority groups, including women of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.”
As universities respond to calls for reform, staff in diversity and inclusion offices can be a powerful connection between institutions that are often siloed and slow-moving and the students demanding changes in campus culture.
Across the country, students have pressed for change. As their leadership roles put them in contact with university administrators, they also bear the burden of trying to reform the very institutions they feel have failed to hear them for years.
At the city's universities, the response of students and instructors is both community-oriented and deeply personal.
The university works to tackle health disparities, exacerbated by COVID-19, by providing screenings and other services to people where they live.
“I was told at an early age that education was the key. It was the ticket," one said. "But no one informed me how to do that so that I was not paralyzed.”
The percentage of high school graduates who went to college immediately after high school fell by more than a fifth last fall. Colleges are adapting how they recruit.
One big issue colleges will have to tackle this spring is a growing need for mental health resources.
Colleges are readjusting schedules, expanding COVID-19 testing, and asking for student input on the fall.
In Pittsburgh, they are hoping for change under a new administration. But the turmoil has made them question whether they want to stay.