Walters Center Programs Banner

Programs

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Visiting Scholars/Visiting Researchers

The Visiting Scholars Program will bring established and junior scholars from other universities to Howard University or will facilitate the assignment of Howard University professors to the Center to conduct research related to the mission of the Ronald Walters Center. Visiting Researchers will be graduate-level students who want to spend time at the Center to work on their dissertations or on research related to the mission of the Center. The researchers can be Howard University students or they can be enrolled at another accredited university. The length of the visits ranges from one semester to an academic year.

Visiting Fellows

Visiting Fellows will be former elected or appointed officials who would like to share their expertise with the Center through research or publications or by managing a leadership program. Fellows will be expected to prepare a research product or manage a leadership program during their tenure, which can range from a summer to school year. Visiting fellows will also be expected to offer guest lectures and participate in Center-sponsored activities.

Public Policy Sessions

These periodic sessions with students, community, government and nonprofit leaders are designed for engagement in issues affecting the black community such as health equity, quality education, and job creation. These sessions are in line with Dr. Walters’ role of bringing together African Americans of different ideologies and institutional affiliations to develop common agendas and strategies around serious programs devoted to bettering the spiritual and material conditions of African peoples.

Grants

Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Under a grant, awarded by the Southern University System Foundation, the Walters Center held a conference on black male achievement and the school-to-prison pipeline on May 12, 2016.  The focus of the day was on creating a policy and legislative agenda to address the school-to-prison pipeline.  The convening was one effort to bring truth to the national conversation around black male academic achievement and stopping the prison pipeline.  The 40 invitees included Black male achievement scholars and other academicians, as well as program specialists.  Legislators from states currently engaged in legislative activity on these topics were also invited to share strategies for passing timely and focused legislation.  A report of the proceedings was published by the Center.

The grant also provided funding for a review of state legislation designed to address issues related to the school-to-prison pipeline.  The literature showed a pattern of increasing suspensions and expulsions after the adoption of less discretionary policies and legislation by school districts and state legislations beginning in 1970s.  Media reports, however, had shown that mass incarceration and its negative impact on state budgets could be persuading legislators to rethink zero tolerance legislation and other legislation that could increase the population of correctional facilities.  During the study period (2008-2015), it was found that slowing down and reducing mass incarceration was emerging as an initiative that crossed political party lines.

 

Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Forum, May 12, 2016

Southern University System Foundation CEO Alfred Harrell, Honore Center student Louis Blackmon III, Walters Center Director Dr. Elsie Scott and Honore Center Director Warren Bell at the Stopping the School-to-Prison Pipeline Forum, May 12, 2016 

 

 

Engaging College Students in 21st Century Law Enforcement

In a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, Community Oriented Policing Services office (COPS), the Walters Center is working to advance the implementation of community policing by engaging college students in issues related to racial diversity and community mistrust of law enforcement. The Center has conducted focus groups on four college campuses—Howard University, Dillard University (New Orleans), Chicago State University and Merritt College (Oakland, CA). The focus groups were designed to garner opinions from African American college students regarding recruiting and selecting police officers who will effectively serve diverse communities. The project is designed to support the implementation of recommendations from President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

Graduate Assistant Naya Young and Director Scott with Dr. Gary Clark, focus group coordinator, Dillard University

Graduate Assistant Naya Young and Director Scott with Dr. Gary Clark, focus group coordinator, Dillard University

On October 5, 2016, the Walters Center, in partnership with the COPS Office, hosted an important one-day forum on Youth and Police: Finding Common Ground. Students from Howard University and the University of the District of Columbia spent most of the day engaged in dialogue with law enforcement officials on diversity in law enforcement and engaging black college students in improving law enforcement agencies. During the afternoon, Attorney General Loretta Lynch convened a mini-town hall session with the attendees and other Howard University students.

Participants suggested that the police recruitment process should be reviewed to look at ways it can be more welcoming to black candidates. It was also suggested that there should be more recruiters who can relate to black applicants. When asked what young adults want from law enforcement, the student participants agreed that they want respect, transparency, and accountability from officers. However, they felt that police officers instill a sense of fear when they interact with members of the black community. They also wanted more empathy from officers when a black person is killed by a police officer.

Finding Common Ground participants with Attorney General Lynch and President Wayne A.I. Frederick

Finding Common Ground participants with Attorney General Lynch and President Wayne A.I. Frederick

Civic Engagement

Dr. Scott participated in a workshop on black voters sponsored by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation in July. The workshop was held in Philadelphia to attract delegates attending the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Dr. Scott and two graduate assistants attended the meeting of the Black Caucus of the DNC.

 

Dr. Scott with Graduate Assistants, Joe Grant & Naya Young

Dr. Scott with Graduate Assistants, Joe Grant & Naya Young

The Walters Center assisted the Howard University Graduate Political Science Association (HUGPSA) with their Voter Protection Project (VP2) during the general election of 2016.  HUGPSA organized students to participate in poll watching and the administration of exit polls in Cleveland, Ohio and Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolina.  Dr. Scott, and Drs. Lorenzo Morris and Alvin Thornton of the Department of Political Science served as advisors to the group helping to connect them with resources and providing training for the group of undergraduate and graduate students who participated.  Two Fellows from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) also participated in VP2.

 

On November 8, 2016, The Walters Center, in conjunction with the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), hosted the Ronald Walters Command Center (RWCC) on the campus of Howard University.  The RWCC tracked voter suppression issues and problems at the polls and monitored Black voter turnout and voting patterns with the assistance of on-the-ground teams. Special attention was given to African American candidates and ballot initiatives resonating with the African American community.

 

Election Day Command Center

Ronald Walters Election Day Command Center, November 8, 2016