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Yale president promises more emphasis on ‘social identity’ studies after protests

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Responding to boisterous student protests, the head of Yale University vowed on Tuesday to build a more inclusive school, in part by expanding financial aid to low-income students and creating a center for the study of race, ethnicity and “social identity.”

Peter Salovey, the university’s president, outlined the moves in a letter to the Yale community that comes after a string of demonstrations that first began over a faculty member’s email over Halloween costumes.

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It also follows the resignation earlier this week of the University of Missouri’s president amid student complaints that the school did not take allegations of racial abuse on campus seriously.

Small-scale protests and walkouts in sympathy with the Missouri students have also taken place at universities across the United States this week.

The protests build on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which was involved in massive and sometimes violent demonstrations in cities including Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore over police killings of black men.

Salovey said in his letter that the university would double the budgets for four campus cultural centers, provide multicultural training for all staff in the mental health and counseling department at YaleHealth, and appoint a deputy dean for diversity.

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He also proposed hiring four extra faculty members who would provide “cutting-edge scholarship on the histories, lives, and cultures of unrepresented and under-represented communities,” and to add teaching staff and courses starting in the spring of 2016 to address race, ethnicity and related topics.

Salovey did not mention a student demand to remove two faculty members whose emails about Halloween costumes outraged the Yale community.

“I have heard the expressions of those who do not feel fully included at Yale, many of whom have described experiences of isolation, and even of hostility, during their time here,” he said in the letter.

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“It is clear that we need to make significant changes so that all members of our community truly feel welcome and can participate equally in the activities of the university.”

Salovey also promised to name two new residential colleges after women and minority group members.

(Reporting by Richard Weizel in Connecticut; Editing by Dan Whitcomb)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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23 days into train blockade protest, Kentucky coal miners demand stolen wages with support of progressives nationwide

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As of Wednesday, coal miners in Cumberland, Kentucky are now 23 days into a train blockade that they say will go on until their former company pays them.

The miners suddenly lost their jobs in the middle of a shift on July 1 when their company, Blackjewel, announced it had gone bankrupt. The company wrote two weeks' worth of bad checks for a total of 1,700 coal miners, including 350 people in Harlan County, Kentucky. The company owes a total of $5 million to its former employees—about $3,000 per person.

"It's no different from robbing a bank," miner Jeffrey Willig told the New York Times this week.

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro denounced as ‘sick’ and ‘pathetic’ for blaming Amazon forest fires on NGOs

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The Amazon rain forest—the lungs of the world—have been on fire for several weeks, and Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro suggested Wednesday, without evidence, that the fires were started by non-governmental organizations.

"Maybe—I am not affirming it—these [NGO people] are carrying out some criminal actions to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil," Bolsonaro said in a video posted on his Facebook account, The Associated Press reported. "This is the war we are facing.”

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Pentagon axes troubled $1 billion contract for ‘Redesigned Kill Vehicle’ missile defense system

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The Pentagon announced Wednesday that it is terminating a troubled billion-dollar program to develop a ballistic missile interceptor, citing design problems.

The Defense Department said it would seek bids for a new version of the weapons system called the Redesigned Kill Vehicle, or RKV. The program was being led by Boeing.

"Ending the program was the responsible thing to do," said Michael Griffin, undersecretary of defense for research and engineering.

"Development programs sometimes encounter problems. After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we're going down wouldn't be fruitful, so we're not going down that path anymore," Griffin added.

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