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Each CAU student to receive free laptop at start of Fall semester

David Pendered

By David Pendered

Each of the 4,000 students expected to enroll next month at Clark Atlanta University is to receive a laptop computer beginning in the Fall semester. CAU purchased the computers at a substantial discount from Dell Technologies, a longtime partner of the university.

George T. French

CAU will provide computers to both undergraduate and graduate students. Other schools typically provide only to undergraduate students.

The computers will enable all CAU students, both undergraduates and graduates, to function fully with their academic responsibilities amid the social distancing that has become a way of life during COVID-19, according to a statement from CAU President George T. French Jr.:

  • “Many of our students are Pell eligible scholars and, in many cases, do not have the financial support needed to purchase laptops. These Dell Latitude 3400 laptops will help ensure our scholars are able to facilitate coursework both in-class and online as well as increase virtual interaction with their instructors, peers and parents.”

Danny Best, Dell’s director of Global Diversity & Inclusion, portrayed the computers as part of Dell’s efforts to remove roadblocks that could stop some college students from completing a college education.

Dell’s inclusionary programs predate the current social reform efforts that aim to promote diversity in corporate America and elsewhere. In addition, Dell has adopted a formal policy, 2030 Social Impact Plan, which covers four areas: Advancing Sustainability; Cultivating Inclusion; Transforming Lives; and Upholding Ethics and Data Privacy.

Clark Atlanta University has purchased laptops that will be provided to each student when Fall semester begins in August. Credit: CAU

CAU’s statement observed that the school’s relation with Dell is part of Dell’s broader commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions. Dell has supported CAU’s academic and career development missions through an array of scholarship opportunities, mentoring programs, internships and careers after graduation.

Best observed in the statement:

  • “Our work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other Minority Serving Institutions is key to Dell Technologies’ efforts to ensure a diverse pipeline of talent is coming in through our doors.
  • “We are excited to continue working with Clark Atlanta University, not only to ensure all of its students have access to technology inside and out of the classroom, but also on our ongoing efforts to help prepare students with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in the technology industry.”

Dell is among the companies that have adopted a formal policy leadership metrics involving environment, social and governance issues. Known by various names, including socially conscious investing, ESG is an effort to align a company’s social values with goals for financial returns. ESG issues can arise in decisions involving firms that make products such as firearms, treat workers improperly, pollute the environment, or haven’t sought to support the grooming of a diverse workforce.

Dell’s 2030 Social Impact Plan for 2030 provides specific objectives under the topic Cultivating Inclusion. The objectives include:

  • “By 2030, 50% of our global workforce and 40% of our global people leaders will be women;
  • “By 2030, 25% of our U.S. workforce and 15% of our U.S. people leaders will be black/African American and Hispanic/Latino minorities;
  • “Each year through 2030, 50% of the people empowered by our social and education initiatives will be girls, women or underrepresented groups;
  • “By 2030, 95% of our employees will participate in annual foundational learning on key topics such as unconscious bias, harassment, microaggression and privilege.”

Dell provided a status report on its efforts in the 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Report.

 

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David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.

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