PENN STATE ANNOUNCES $1 MILLION INVESTMENT IN ANTI-RACISM RESEARCH

Penn State University recently announced $1 million in anti-racism research grants to four student researchers, according to The College Fix.

The Big Ten school announced the grants during an October 13 news release.

The Fix reported that the grants are coming from the university’s Prevention Research Center. Other research interests the campus think tank has tackled are pregnancy outcomes, drunk driving, and Alzheimer’s.

The center allegedly “seeks to address long-standing health inequities through research and implementation of effective programs,” according to Greg Fosco—an associate director of the Research Center.

“With these awards, we are investing in a promising group of scholars and addressing systemic racism in a variety of environments,” Fosco said. “We are excited to see the impact these projects will have,” the associate director of the center noted.

One of the projects will study a parental education program that is “aimed at decreasing systemic racism by promoting antiracist behavior, attitudes, norms and beliefs among parents.”

“After the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent racial unrest, I really wanted to find a way to give back to my community,” Keiana Mayfield, a doctoral student conducting the research, explained in the news release, according to The Fix.

Mayfield did not respond to The Fix on questions pertaining to how much funding she would receive on her project or why she referred to George Floyd’s death as a murder while the court case is still open. The Fix stated: “Last Thursday, a judge dropped one murder charge against Derek Chauvin, one of the four officers involved in the death of Floyd, but one murder charge is still pending against Chauvin.”

The Fix also noted:

Sara Brennen, the center’s spokesperson, did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment in the past week seeking information on the allocation of the funding, what proposals were not funded and an explanation of Mayfield’s use of the word “murder.”

None of the three other researchers could be reached for comment. The Fix emailed graduate student researcher Paulina Rodis twice but did not receive a response.

Rodis’s project will “examine tweets to specifically describe what types of aggression” black and Asian women face according to the news release.

Two of the other researchers, Sarah Zipf and Andrea Layton, could not be reached for comment on the finer details of the research they are conducting. The research center said that Zipf will study “color-evasiveness in online education” to learn how to best “reduce racism experienced by online students.”

Layton’s research is said to focus on institutional racism and mental health, according to the news release.

The anti-racism grants follow a number of other schools who have announced funding for anti-racism projects or centers, often with few details explaining the specifics of their intent.

The Fix reported:

Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania announced a plan in September for a new “Anti-Racism Institute” but did not have any information yet on a budget or metrics.

The University of Michigan announced $260,000 in grants in October for antiracism research, but only one researcher provided information on the amount she received and what she hoped to accomplish.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars flowed to Boston University Professor Ibram Kendi for the antiracism institute he started at American University, but it has yielded few results, according to an investigation by the Washington Free Beacon.

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