Colleges receive recycled equipment
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OCTOBER 19, 2000

The US Department of Commerce tackled the digital divide and the environment in one swoop on Wednesday, donating almost $5.4 million dollars worth of recycled computers to minority-serving colleges and universities throughout the country.

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta made the donation in Seattle, Washington, on Wednesday. Mineta is currently on a week-long tour of the country, promoting greater access to technology, particularly for minority groups.

As confirmed by the latest government report on the digital divide, minority groups often have lower rates of computer ownership and use of the Internet than the rest of the country. African-Americans and Hispanics have the two lowest rates, according to the report "Falling Through the Net: Toward Digital Inclusion," which was released by the Commerce Department on Monday.

But Native Americans aren't included in the report. Due to statistical problems, the Department couldn't come up with reliable data on technology use in Indian Country.

Nevertheless, Indian Country is a significant component of Mineta's digital inclusion itinerary. Of the 82 educational institutions receiving equipment, 24 of them are tribal colleges.

Along with the other institutions, each tribal college will receive 15 computer workstations, including printers and other equipment. The equipment comes from the Census Bureau, an agency of the Commerce Department, who used the equipment as part of the Census 2000.

Now that 520 temporary census offices have closed, the computers and equipment will now find a new home on college campuses throughout the country. Mineta said students on these campuses have a real need for the equipment.

Another technocrat made his own technological prophecies in Seattle on Wednesday. Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, spoke at a conference addressing the digital divide on a worldwide scale.

At the Creating Digital Dividends conference, the richest man in the world said health care and literacy were more important than putting computers in the hands of the disadvantaged throughout the globe.

Mineta continues his digital inclusion tour by making a stop in New Mexico on Friday. There, he will meet with tribal leaders at the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe,, receive a demo from the National Indian Technology Institute, also located in Santa Fe, and tour Cochiti Pueblo.

Relevant Links:
American Indian Higher Education Consortium -
The American Indian College Fund -
The National Indian Technology Institute -
Creating Digital Dividends -

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Tribal Colleges (Indian U.)

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