Faye Crosby awarded UC Merced's Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance

Faye Crosby. Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

Faye J. Crosby, a social psychologist and expert on affirmative action, is the recipient of this year's Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance. The University of California, Merced, will bestow the prize to Crosby during her public lecture on Nov. 20.

"Faye Crosby's pioneering work in sex and race discrimination is timeless and remains very socially relevant," said Sherrie Spendlove, founder of the prize. "She is especially deserving of the Spendlove Prize for her part in helping to transform American society so that it is more welcoming of diversity and genuine power sharing. She has been a vocal advocate for the path to inclusion and power sharing rather than the old, outdated dominance method of leadership."

A UC Santa Cruz professor since 1997, Crosby investigates the foundation of people's reactions to affirmative action. Her most recent books include Affirmative Action Is Dead: Long Live Affirmative Action and Sex Discrimination in the Workplace.

Crosby's research has focused on individual attitudes in the context of social change. She discovered the phenomenon known as "the denial of personal disadvantage," which explains how people often see themselves as exempt from the injustices that affect groups with which they identify.

Crosby has also fulfilled leadership roles in many institutions and is the founder of Nag's Heart, an organization that supports women and men who work for gender equity. She was a professor at Rhode Island College, Smith College, The Kellogg School of Management, and Yale.

Crosby was nominated for the Spendlove Prize by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI), also known as Division 9 of the American Psychological Association, a nonprofit organization of psychologists and social scientists.

"It is thrilling to receive an award from one of the UC campuses and especially from UC Merced, the newest campus where the pioneering spirit seems to be married to a dedication to excellence in research," Crosby said. "I have spent my life working for social justice, and I believe that diplomacy and tolerance are essential parts of social justice."

A Merced native, Spendlove established the award in honor of her parents, Clifford and Alice Spendlove, to recognize individuals who exemplify the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in local and global society.

"Given the closeness of my own family, an award given by a daughter in the name of her beloved parents resonates deeply with me," Crosby said. "By honoring the values of prior generations, we give inspiration to future generations."

Recipients of the award present a lecture to the campus and local community. Crosby's talk will be held at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 20, in Room 355 of the Kolligian Library. A question-and-answer session will be included.

Her lecture will center on the theme of connection.

"Whenever we mistakenly imagine that we are acting alone, we are open to negative feelings and can become paralyzed in our actions," Crosby said. "In all worthy actions, there are structures and supports both seen and unseen. Recognition of the inter-connections of events and of people liberates the spirit and allows us to build a better future."

The Spendlove Prize selection committee is chaired by the dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts and is made up of a representative from the Spendlove family or designee; an undergraduate student; a graduate student; a faculty member; and representatives from the UC Merced community.

"Faye is a role model and inspiration for students, faculty and the larger community," said Hans Björnsson, UC Merced's interim dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. "As this year's Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance recipient, we are honoring her scholarship and her activism."

The first award, given at campus opening in 2005, went to Dr. Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Merced native who is now a law professor and the founding executive director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University. In 2007, the prize was awarded to John Y. Tateishi, an activist for civil rights who led the successful redress campaign for Japanese-Americans in the aftermath of their WWII internment. Childhelp founders Sara O'Meara and Yvonne Fedderson received the prize in 2008 for their lifelong commitment to helping children in need. O'Meara and Fedderson have devoted 50 years of their lives to the prevention and treatment of child abuse in the U.S. and globally.