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Office of the Vice President for Research

First round of Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund recipients announced

The Office of the Vice President for Research is proud to join the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in congratulating the first round of recipients of funding from the Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund. This unique fund, launched earlier this year as issues of racial justice came to the forefront in American political life, supports research that centers on race, racial justice and racial equity through ASPIRE Program funds. By empowering our world-class faculty, the University of South Carolina aims to promote real and lasting racial justice in our local community, our state and our nation. 

“We are so proud to announce the first round of grants from the Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund,” said Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti. “By supporting these projects, which seek to better understand how race functions in our educational, criminal justice and legal systems, our goal is to foster the creation of a better future for all. I have no doubt that these outstanding researchers have the expertise and experience necessary to translate their racial justice projects into real-world recommendations to address the racial inequities that continue to trouble our society.”

Julian Williams, the university’s Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, remarked, “The Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund, and the five outstanding projects it will make possible, represent a concrete step toward a more inclusive and equitable world. They also mark an important step in solidifying our university’s system-wide commitment to fostering and celebrating new and deepening connections among the diverse people who come together to form the UofSC community at every vibrant level.”

The Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund will support one more round of 2020 research projects, to be announced later this fall. The offices of the Vice President for Research and the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are delighted to congratulate all 2020 Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund recipients.


2020 Racial Justice and Equity Research Fund Projects: Round One

Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-PIs Project Title Project Abstract Keywords
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PI: Black, Derek, School of Law The Racial Heritage of Current School Funding Practices  School districts serving the highest percentages of students of color receive $1,800 less per pupil than those serving the fewest students of color. (Education Trust, Funding Gaps: An Analysis of School Funding Equity Across the U.S. and Within Each State 3 (2018).) Those funding gaps are a substantial factor in racial achievement gaps between students. (Bruce D. Baker, Albert Shanker Institute, Does Money Matter in Education? (2d ed. 2016).) This project seeks to demonstrate that rather than neutral or inevitable, the funding gaps are the result of constitutional changes implemented by segregationists during the 1890s and 1900s and, thus, are subject to legal attack.  tag 1, tag2
PI: Freeman, Amie, University Libraries

Andrea L'Hommedieu, University Libraries
- Stacy Winchester, University Libraries
Kimberly Simmons, Anthropology
- Graham Duncan, South Caroliniana Library
Voices of South Carolina: Black Lives Matter  In response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, shortly after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, widespread demonstrations were organized to protest police brutality against people of color and deep-rooted systemic racism in America. South Carolinians spoke out against violence and injustice. This project will collect, archive and spotlight SC experiences in the weeks following George Floyd's death. Additionally, the project will explore factors that led to the most recent events and the impact of the protests. Ultimately, a website will highlight protester stories in a digital environment available to activists, historians, media and the public.   
PI: Isom Scott, Deena, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences

Co-PI: Tia Anderson, Tia, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences
Removing the Cloak of Whiteness: Status, Entitlement, Privilege and Crime in White America  This project applies a critical whiteness studies lens to criminology. Drawing on recent theoretical and empirical investigations, I propose a theoretical model that outlines unique pathways to criminal behavior as well as privileged protections from criminal justice system entanglement for White Americans. This model is empirically assessed utilizing several secondary and primary data sources, including recent nationally representative surveys and a targeted survey of White Americans. With the rapid rise in hate crimes committed by Whites, this research has the potential to provide insight into current social and political tensions and the relationships between race, gender, discrimination, injustice and violence.   
PI: Jenkins-Henry, Toby, Department of Instruction and Teacher Education, College of Education Racial Violence in Education: Mobile Exhibition Research Project  The Museum of Education proposes to mobilize the exhibit, Exploring Racial Violence in Education, and establish travelling residencies at three local middle schools. Data will be collected through interactive exercises embedded within the exhibit (mobile ipad kiosks, smartphone activities using QR codes, written responses on graffiti boards). These activities will examine student and teacher perceptions of how racism functions in schools. This project can offer local and national insight on racism and help educational leaders: (1) locate and confirm its presence (2) understand its personal impact; and (3) develop interventions and policies to eradicate racism and heal racial trauma.   
PI: Martinez, David, Department of Educational Leadership and Policies, College of Education Responding to Inequity: Informing Innovative School Finance Praxis in the Nuevo LatinX Sur During COVID-19 The SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic highlights the historical inequities within public schooling. In South Carolina, a Nuevo LatinX Sur destination, these challenges are exacerbated in districts serving higher proportions of LatinX students. To align effective solutions, policymakers must seek nuanced insight from experts to ameliorate inequity, namely educational leaders aware of local challenges. Through this qualitative study we begin a new conversation in South Carolina concerning the care of students, as we seek to develop a specific and actionable set of policy recommendations for a broader social impact in education grounded in educational leadership insight.  



5 October 2020

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