After allegations of racism on campus led to demonstrations at the University of Missouri and Yale, protests have erupted on college campuses across the country, from Occidental College in California to Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Among the common demands made by the student activists is that their schools try harder to hire more diverse and representative faculties.
Just how well do the professors at America's top colleges reflect the country's race and gender breakdowns? Each year, universities are required to report diversity data to the National Center for Education Statistics, a branch of the Department of Education. Unsurprisingly, the numbers show that the teaching staff at America's universities are much whiterand much more male than the general population, with Hispanics and African Americans especially underrepresented. At some schools, like Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, and Princeton, there are more foreign teachers than Hispanic and black teachers combined. The Ivy League's gender stats are particularly damning; men make up 68 percent and 70 percent of the teaching staff at Harvard and Princeton, respectively.
Here are the race and gender breakdowns of instructional staff at selected universities from the 2013-2014 school year, the most recent data available. A racial breakdown of the entire US population can be found at the bottom of the chart.
A few notes about the data: These charts include the 20 four-year universities with the biggest instructional staffs and the eight Ivy League universities. They also include the University of Missouri. The "other" category includes individuals who are Native American, Pacific Islander, multiracial, or declined to report their race. The US population stats come from the Census, which doesn't separate "foreign" from other races.
In cases where there is more than one campus in a university system, the data shows the diversity of faculty on the main campus. (The campus names that have been shortened are the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, the University of Florida, the University of Texas-Austin, the University of Colorado-Denver, the University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus, the University of Washington-Seattle Campus, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Rutgers University-New Brunswick.)
Want to find a university that's not on the chart? Hang tight! We're working on making available the diversity data from more than 3,000 colleges and universities.
For years, Congress has blocked funding for research into the impacts of guns on public health. On Wednesday morning, twenty Senate Democrats demanded a necessary first step to upset that status quo, by asking the Government Accountability Office to audit what health programs exist to make guns safer.
"With more than 300 million guns in American homes, we write to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a study to assess the efficacy of public health and safety programs designed to impact gun safety, including the storage and security of guns in households throughout our country," they wrote in a letter to Gene Dorado, Comptroller General of the United States.
The senators note that other federal public health campaigns, such as those to reduce drunk driving and smoking, have been hugely effective. But for nearly 20 years, Congress has pushed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to steer clear of firearms violence research. "I'm sorry, but a gun is not a disease," said former House Speaker John Boehner this summer, after the House Appropriations Committee voted to block funding on gun research to the CDC.
"Prevention of gun deaths and injuries should be an essential component of the federal government's commitment to public heath and safety along with other efforts such as background checks on gun purchases and closing other gun loopholes," the senators wrote.
A Mother Jonesinvestigation, inspired by the lack of research on the matter, found that gun violence costs Americans a whopping $229 billion each year. In 2013, Mother Jones found that at least 194 children were shot to death in the year following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A Washington Postinvestigation earlier this year found that Americans are getting shot by toddlers on a weekly basis.
The senators' request was lauded by gun control advocacy groups. "The American people have had enough of gun violence and this is an important step," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Read the full letter below:
Watch part of our investigation into the costs of gun violence here:
This post has been updated to include more gun crime statistics.
Since 2010, Coca-Cola has spent roughly $120 million on health research, and partnerships with professional organizations, and fitness programs.
Last week, the University of Colorado announced that it would return a $1 million gift from Coca-Cola—news that came after a New York Timesarticle in August revealed that the soda company funded a group of scientists called the Global Energy Balance Network that downplayed the relationship between soda and obesity, emphasizing instead the importance of exercise.
"While the network continues to advocate for good health through a balance of healthy eating habits and exercise, the funding source has distracted attention from its worthwhile goal," read a university statement.
The news got us wondering: What other colleges and universities have received funding from Coca-Cola—and haven't given it back? Here's a list of the top academic recipients, all of whom have taken more than $1.5 million from Coke since 2010. (At the bottom, you'll find a more complete list; note that the numbers in both charts include money used for research, exercise programs, nutrition-related events, travel grants, and more at the academic institutions and foundations affiliated with them.)
The information in the charts comes from this list of Coca-Cola's funding recipients, which the company released in the wake of the New York Times investigation. It includes universities, professional organizations, and community groups; together, they received a total of about $120 million in research and partnership funding since 2010. Since the investigation, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which had taken $3 million and $1.7 million from Coke respectively, announced they would end their relationships with the company.
So do Coca-Cola's donations influence university research? The scientists at the Global Energy Balance Network have consistently maintained that their findings are unbiased. "They're not running the show," James Hill, the president of the group, told the New York Times. "We're running the show."
Yet research on the outcomes of scientific studies has consistently found that industry-funded studies are far more likely to show favorable outcomes for the funder. A 2007 study in the American Journal of Public Health analyzed studies on the relationship between sugary beverage consumption and obesity, and found that industry-funded studies were far more likely to find little or no relationship between the two. "The people who take the money from industries don't believe they're biased," says Kelly Brownell, a co-author of the study and the dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. But "the research on that is pretty clear."
"Independent scientists may have biases of their own, but their overarching research goal is to improve public health," wrote Marion Nestle, a public health professor at New York University, in a recent Guardianopinion piece. "In contrast, the goal of soda companies is to use research as a marketing tool."
A "Salute to Service" at an Atlanta Falcons game in 2013.
If you've been to a pro sports game recently, you've almost certainly seen tributes to the military, from unraveling giant American flags showing to photos and videos of servicemen and women on the Jumbotron. A new senate report by Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, released yesterday, finds that many of these seemingly voluntary displays were in fact paid for by the Department of Defense. Between 2012 and 2015, the Pentagon paid sports teams $53 million for marketing and advertising, including at least $6.8 million for what the report dubs "paid patriotism."
The senators obtained 122 Pentagon contracts with sports leagues and teams for what they described as "marketing gimmicks." Among the top recipients of military money were NASCAR ($1.6 million over four years), the Atlanta Falcons ($879,000), the New England Patriots ($700,000), and the Buffallo Bills ($650,000).
Last year, the Pentagon spent millions on advertising with sports teams as it was simultaneously requesting funding from Congress to cover a $100 million budget shortfall to pay its troops, according to the report.
Here are a few team-specific promotional deals that stuck out in the 150-page report:
Charlotte Hornets: "One parachute drop-in" by an Air Force member at each of three home games
Dallas Mavericks: Letting the Texas Army National Guard "bring out their mechanical bull and/or rock wall for fans to enjoy"
Minnesota Wild: A color guard ceremony and letting a National Guard soldier "rappel from the catwalk to deliver the game puck"
Indianapolis Colts: "For use of a luxury suite, autographed items, pregame field visits and cheerleader appearances."
Milwaukee Brewers: $49,000 to recognize the Wisconsin Army National Guard during performances of "God Bless America" at each Sunday home game
Atlanta Falcons: Recognition of the Army National Guard "birthday," the opportunity for a National Guard soldier to perform the national anthem, and the opportunity for soldiers to "hold a large American flag on the field during a military appreciation game."
Green Bay Packers: A "party deck" for 200 National Guard soldiers and their families
Minnesota Lynx: A military night featuring a "soldier rappelling from the arena catwalk while another soldier performed the national anthem"
NASCAR: A ride-along with Richard Petty and appearances with Petty and Aric Almirola.
Iron Dog: VIP passes to the Alaskan snowmobile race
Alamo City Comic Con: Admissionfor 20 soldiers and their family members. (We know, comic book conventions aren't sporting events, but this is too weird not to include.)
The issue of paid patriotism first emerged this spring, when Sen. Flake questioned the military tributes at New York Jets games. Since then, the Pentagon has banned paying for these salutes to the troops, and the NFL has called on its teams to stop accepting payments for them.
According to a Pentagon memo included in the report, the department maintains that the advertising helped with recruiting, especially since youth "have grown less positive about the associations they make with military service." Senators Flake and McCain counter that "If the most compelling message about military service we can deliver to prospective recruits and influencers is the promise of game tickets, gifts, and player appearances, we need to rethink our approach to how we are inspiring qualified men and women to military service."
Fisherman from across the West coast are flocking to California, where the start of crabbing season is just days away. Or not: Health officials are warning that rock and Dungeness crabs along the state coast are contaminated by high levels of domoic acid, a known neurotoxin. State authorities are expected to decide this week whether or not to delay the opening of the Dungeness season—which yields one of the biggest harvests in the nation—and temporarily halt the harvest of rock crabs, which is permitted all year. In the meantime, here's what you need to know:
How do I know whether that crab on I ordered last week was contaminated? Commercial seafood is regularly tested, so while there may be less Dungeness crab, you don't have to freak out too much about consuming neurotoxins with the crab you ate at a restaurant or bought at a store. West Coasters should avoid eating recreationally caught shellfish (more details here). If domoic acid is ingested, it can cause vomiting, seizures, and in extreme situations, death. There haven't been any reported hospitalizations or deaths from domoic acid poisoning since the late 1980's, when three deaths and multiple hospitalizations spurred increased regulation.
Besides Dungeness crabs, are any other marine creatures are affected? Yes, lots. according to a NOAA report released Tuesday, domoic acid is showing up at potentially lethal levels among a record number of animals, including dolphins, whales, sea lions, and seabirds, and causing seizures among the latter two. Washington closed some areas to crabbing and clam digging earlier this year, Oregon has indefinitely postponed the start of its razor clam season, and California health officials have warned against eating recreationally caught shellfish in some regions.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
What's this going to do the West Coast's robust crabbing industry? California, Oregon, and Washington are the top producers of Dungeness crab in the United States; in California alone, commercial crabbing boats brought in 17 million pounds of the crab in 2014, worth nearly $60 million. Some fishermen make half of their income from the California Dungeness crab harvest, and the bloom is particularly ill-timed since Dungeness crabs are in highest demand between Thanksgiving and New Years. "These are incredibly important fisheries to our coastal economies and fresh crab is highly anticipated and widely enjoyed this time of year," said the state Fish and Wildlife regional manager Craig Shuman. "But public health and safety is our top priority."
Where is the domoic acid coming from? The acid is coming from a toxic phytoplankton, or algae, species that thrives in warm waters and makes its way into the food web as it's consumed by anchovies, sardines, and shellfish. This year, thanks to a combination of El Niño and a large stretch of warm water off the west coast dubbed "the blob," the algae has bloomed at record-setting levels, forming a ribbon up to 40 miles wide snaking up the West coast.
Is climate change causing this problem? Scientists are reluctant to attribute any one event solely to climate change, but warmer waters are certainly playing a role—and ocean temperatures are expected to continue warming with climate change. "The toxins are commonly present in the food web but this year, with this unprecedented bloom, they're likely having a bigger impact than ever before," said Kathi Lefebvre, a biologist at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. "Our concern is that there does appear to be a link between warm water and bigger blooms, so what does this tell us about future years with warmer conditions?"