Stephanie Stewart, an honors student at Borough of Manhattan Community College, was pregnant and due to deliver before the end of spring semester last year. Her professor said she wouldn’t be able to make up tests or assignments missed due to medical appointments or labor and delivery. A dean advised her to drop the class.
Stewart was taking a women’s studies class, notes Slate. After her son was born, she discovered that Title IX requires schools to let pregnant students reschedule exams. With the help of the National Women’s Law Center, she sued the City University of New York system for pregnancy discrimination and won. CUNY agreed to reinstate her scholarship, reimburse her for the make-up class and adopt a policy on the rights of pregnant students and parents.
Stewart will graduate this spring and enroll in New York University in the fall.
A blogger called The Feminist Breeder has spread awareness of pregnancy discrimination, says Lara Kaufmann, NWLC’s senior counsel and director of education policy for at-risk students.
About 15 percent of CUNY students are parents and 58.4 are women. Nationwide, women who have children after enrolling in community college are much less likely to graduate than female students who don’t become pregnant.
Grants to low-income students had little lasting impact on their performance, concludes a MDRC study at Borough of Manhattan Community College and Hostos Community College, both in New York City.
Based on their enrollment and completion levels, study participants received grants of up to $1,300 for each of two semesters, and some received a similar-sized grant for a third (summer) semester. In each term, a student received $200 for registering for six or more credits, another $450 if still enrolled by the middle of the term, and $650 for achieving a grade of C or better (or the equivalent in developmental courses) in at least six credits.
Students who received the performance-based grants were likelier to enroll for that term, compared to the control group. But a year after students received grants, the average recipient hadn’t earned more credits or registered for more semesters.
“This suggests that while the program was effective when students were eligible for scholarships, the effects on enrollment and credits earned dissipated after the program ended,” the authors write. (The relatively small number of grant recipients at Hostos, a much smaller institution where the students are older and the program was housed in a student services division of the college, did accumulate more credits than their peers did, the authors note.)
While “bare bones” grants may not work, other forms of aid show promise at other colleges, said Reshma Patel, project and data manager for the Performance-Based Scholarship Demonstration Project. Studies are testing the effect of offering advising and tutoring services and larger scholarships. ”We have had consistent findings across the sites, in terms of improvements in credit accumulation,” she said.
Across the nation, community colleges have scheduled 9/11 ceremonies, reports Community College Times.
Ten years ago, Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC), located across the street from World Trade Center 7, lost seven students and a graduate who’d become a firefighter. The college’s 14-story Fiterman Hall, damaged by falling debris, served as an emergency command center after the attack. The building couldn’t be repaired and was torn down. A giant U.S. flag was draped over the new building this week.
(Today) members of the BMCC community are taking part in a human chain, with thousands of people grasping hands throughout lower Manhattan as a symbol of unity and remembrance.
In comments on a 9/11 community blog, BMCC faculty, staff and students remember 9/11. One student lost her father, another an older brother, someone else an aunt. Others remember friends who were killed.