Racism at Oakland University?

  1. In Dean Catherine Vincent's pediatric pathophysiology course, all of her white middle-class students did exceptionally well but a Mexican-American student in her class failed miserably. What was the reason for the minority student's failure? Could it be mere coincidence? It would not be the first time in history that a teacher handed out grades according to his/her racist beliefs. "Studies have reported faculty bias toward minority students in grading papers, judging clinical performance, and assessing written examinations" (Villarruel, Canales, & Torres, 2001). "Nurse educators need to acknowledge that, with a few exceptions, racism is endemic in our programs" (Barbee & Gibson, 2001).

    What can be done when the faculty at Oakland University sides with Dean Vincent? Isn't it convenient that her exams are graded by hand affording her the opportunity to grade exams in any manner she pleases including racist ones?

    Whites make up 86% of the registered nurse population. Despite the dramatic increase of Hispanics in the U.S., there has been no significant increase in the number of Hispanic nurses. I wonder what's keeping Hispanics out of nursing?

    http://www.manuelsweb.com/vincent.htm
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  2. 114 Comments

  3. by   2ndCareerRN
    I will not get into a discussusion of racism and nursing here.

    But, it seems your problem may be directed towards one person, in one program.

    Although the number of licensed registered nurses in the United States increased by more than 5% between 1996 and 2000, this growth rate was much smaller than in previous years, holding little hope of any quick fix for the nation's worsening nursing shortage. The good news, however, is that the number of racial and ethnic minority nurses showed a small but significant increase during the same period, and the number of men in nursing crept upward as well.
    It seems that in the last 4 years the percentage of non-hispanic white nurses has decreased, while all other minorities, except American Indian and Alaska Native, has seen an increase. I would think this overall growth would be somewhat difficult to obtain if in fact
    racism is endemic in our programs
    .

    For more on this and the figures that show the trends go here:

    http://www.minoritynurse.com/vitalsigns/jul01-1.html and to see the survey from which this information was obtained go to this site: http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/healthworkforce/rnsurvey/rnss1.htm and read away. Makes for some very interesting reading, shows where nursing was 4 years ago and the direction it is taking.

    I am just happy to the number of men in nursing increasing rapidly, it will only make things better for all, IMO.

    bob
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I don't think we want to get into a debate here on racism in nursing. I do know in many places, there are incentives to draw "minority" students into nursing.......I say, if one is sincere and wants to make a difference, one should GO FOR IT...skin color or gender and sexual preference will make NO difference to me when one is caring for my loved ones.....but SINCERITY and COMPETENCE will make all the difference. That only makes sense.
  5. by   manuelvillanueva
    My statistics are from:

    Health Resources and Services Administration, 2001. This was not a sample but the actual population.
  6. by   2ndCareerRN
    Your statistic of nursing being 86% white is right on. It came from the same source that my figures come from.

    I am not doubting the accuracy of your numbers, just pointing out that the numbers of most minorities in nursing has increased over the last four years.


    I wonder what's keeping Hispanics out of nursing?
    What do you think?

    bob
  7. by   fedupnurse
    Couldn't agree more SmilingBlueEyes! I won't comment unless I know all the fact of the particular case, but all I look for is a compassionate knowledgable preferrably, experienced practitioner to care for me and my family and friends. I couldn't care less about their gender, race, religion.
  8. by   fergus51
    In our program, the only identifying info on exams was student numbers, and it's pretty hard for a teacher to memorize the numbers of the minorities and purposely weed them out (they are all 9 digit numbers). Has any independant instructor looked at the exams? If a hispanic student failed miserably, it could be because he/she had the wrong answers couldn't it? Wrong is wrong no matter the skin colour. I don't like to charge racism until there is some sort of examination into it. If we throw that word around without care, it will come to mean nothing.
  9. by   shay
    Originally posted by fergus51
    If a hispanic student failed miserably, it could be because he/she had the wrong answers couldn't it? Wrong is wrong no matter the skin colour. I don't like to charge racism until there is some sort of examination into it. If we throw that word around without care, it will come to mean nothing.
    I'm with Fergus on this one.
  10. by   live4today
    Perhaps that particular student should have her exam rechecked by an anonymous instructor who doesn't know the student or instructor grading her. That way, if the exam receives the same grade, it's fair to except that she didn't do well on it. If the exam receives a grade way off from the failing grade, then something is wrong in the way the first instructor graded the exam. We shouldn't blame everything on racism when something goes wrong for us. There are many tough hurdles in life to crossover, but determination, honesty, focus, strongwill, faith, motivation, hard work, and good character are the tools to get to where one desires in this life...
  11. by   SKM-NURSIEPOOH
    originally posted by cheerfuldoer
    perhaps that particular student should have her exam rechecked by an anonymous instructor who doesn't know the student or instructor grading her. that way, if the exam receives the same grade, it's fair to except that she didn't do well on it. if the exam receives a grade way off from the failing grade, then something is wrong in the way the first instructor graded the exam. we shouldn't blame everything on racism when something goes wrong for us. there are many tough hurdles in life to crossover, but determination, honesty, focus, strongwill, faith, motivation, hard work, and good character are the tools to get to where one desires in this life...
  12. by   manuelvillanueva
    Of course the Mexican-American student is myself. I did recommend that my exams be independently reviewed. I was told by the committee they would not dare grade another professor's tests. I also asked Dean Vincent what the other student's grades were (no names just the scores) which she refused. According to Dean Vincent and students in my class, everyone did remarkably well.

    I want you to know how difficult it is to prove you are being discriminated against. But I could definitely sense her hatred. I am a graduate student who graduated cum laude in my undergraduate. I have never failed a class in my college career. The material in Dean Vincent's peds pathophys was too easy to fail. Her exams were straight memorization.
    Last edit by manuelvillanueva on May 31, '02
  13. by   fergus51
    I would suggest talking to a lawyer if you feel discriminated against and getting the test re-examined. I can't imagine a university refusing that to avoid a law suit. Was the test multiple choice or long answer? Long answer involves more of the teacher's opinions, but multiple choice is pretty black and white so I doubt you could make a case for that being about race. That's the only way this can be resolved and taken to the level of fact from the level of gossip.
  14. by   manuelvillanueva
    The exams were essay exams. I intend on posting my exams on my website so everyone can judge for themselves.

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