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If you need a reminder that the world is full of hopeful dreamers, look no further than Angad Singh Padda.
Padda is a recent graduate of the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. After being chosen to represent his class as undergraduate student speaker, Padda took it upon himself to interview 70 classmates about what mattered to them the most.
The apparently unscripted speech that resulted from these interviews comes straight from Padda’s heart. He laid out a bright, beautiful vision of a world where smart and dedicated people work hard to solve the planet’s biggest problems.
Speaking to an audience full of soon-to-be business majors, Padda encouraged his classmates not to use their education just make a profit, but to go out into the world to do good.
“We want to use our education to go beyond ourselves, to make the world a better place, we want to unify this world,” Padda said.
The Sikh student is a native of Chandigarh, Punjab. He said he came to America hoping to learn how to solve his home state’s drug epidemic. He said he had lost two of his best friends to drug abuse. But once he arrived in America, Padda started learning about the problems that his classmates were concerned about ― things like war, poverty, climate change and hate crimes.
Padda spoke of a village in India called Shani Shingnapur. The residents of this village refuse to construct permanent doors to their houses, believing in the goodness of their God and of their neighbors. Although some are skeptical of the claim, villagers report that Shani Shingnapur has a low rate of crime and thefts.
Padda’s hope is that his classmates will one day help create a world just like Shani Shingnapur.
“What if all of us can use our education to create a world just like that village? You know what that world would look like?” Padda asked. “There would be no walls or borders, none. There would be no Muslim ban, nobody would call the other person bad hombres. That is the world we have to create.”
Padda knows unifying the world is a lofty dream. But that doesn’t stop this young man from believing.
“They say that dreams are not the ones you have when you go to bed. Hell no. Dreams are the ones that don’t let you go to bed,” he said.
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U.S. Department Of Education Increases Fines For Violating Jeanne Clery Act Campus Safety Law To $54,789
The U.S. Department of Education increased fines for violations of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act to $54,789 on April 20, 2017, which is more than double the original amount of $25,000. While the Clery Act is perhaps best known for requiring institutions of higher education to report crime statistics, it also contains requirements addressing sexual violence and emergency management among other things. The law, originally enacted in 1990 as an amendment to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, is named in memory of student Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered at Lehigh University on April 5, 1986.
The Inflation Adjustment Act, also enacted in 1990, requires periodic adjustments of federal civil monetary penalties (CMPs), or fines. As noted by ED in the Federal Register notice about the increase, the Act “provides for the regular evaluation of CMPs to ensure that they continue to maintain their deterrent value.” Clery Act fines were originally $25,000 and were previously adjusted for inflation to $27,500; $35,000; and $53,907. The current $54,789 fine applies to any violation occurring after Nov. 2, 2015 and assessed after April 20, 2017.
The largest Clery Act fine imposed to date was $2,397,000 in 2016 against Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) after extensive violations were uncovered in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Penn State announced on November 25, 2016 that they would not contest the fine. The second largest imposed fine was $350,000 against Eastern Michigan University in 2008.
In addition to requiring colleges and universities to disclose campus crime statistics, the Clery Act also requires policies to address sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, and to handle emergency situations such as active shooters. The sexual violence provisions were first added in a 1992 amendment and expanded by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act in 2013, and the emergency management requirements were added in 2008 after mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University.
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Every year after her first day of school, Mackenzie Scruggs sat down with her dad, Kevin, and answered a handful of questions. Now, those bonding moments have been turned into a sweet video.
Kevin, a life coach and pastor in the Seattle area, shared a video on his YouTube channel titled “’Twelve Grades of ‘First Day’ Interviews - Happy Graduation Sweetheart.” The video, created by Kevin’s coworker and videographer T.J. McConahay, shows footage of Mackenzie at every age from first grade to her senior year of high school. Kevin remains behind the camera as he asks his daughter questions about her age, her teachers’ names and “a fun thing” that happened to her that day. The final video, which has 1.3 million views as of Tuesday, is a nostalgic time-lapse of Mackenzie’s life.
“People are watching in three minutes what I’ve had the privilege to watch in 13 years,” Kevin said.
Kevin told HuffPost he interviewed Mackenzie after her first day of every school year, including kindergarten. That first footage wasn’t added to the video, however, because the format kept it from being copied over correctly. Kevin, who described himself as “a proud father of two girls,” said he got the idea for the video while thinking about how fast his daughters were going to grow up.
“I’m sentimental,” he told HuffPost. “I’m looking at my little girl and thinking she’s going to grow up really fast and this is going to be a cool thing for me to do.”
Mackenzie, who graduated last week and will soon head to college, saw the video for the first time at a film festival held at the church her family attends. She sat behind her father, who said he could hear her “gasp” as she watched the memories on the screen.
“She’s been beautiful through every single stage of her life,” he told HuffPost. “I love her. I’m so grateful I get to be her dad. She’s a pretty amazing young woman.”
In two years, Kevin will have a similar video to share; he has been asking his other daughter the same questions after her first days of school, too. He encouraged other parents to find ways to cherish their time with their kids and be able to look back on all their memories together.
“While you have them, enjoy them and love them and live in those moments because it’s pretty awesome being a parent,” he said. “It’s a gift, it really is.”
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Four influential Democratic senators ― Dick Durbin (IL), Patti Murray (WA), Sherrod Brown (OH), and Elizabeth Warren (MA) ― have written to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to warn that her department cannot, without engaging in an extensive process, delay or cancel an Obama administration rule providing debt relief for defrauded students. The senators assert that stalling on the new borrower defense rule “would be a monumental dereliction of the duty you have to protect students and taxpayers.”
In the letter, sent on Thursday and provided this morning to Republic Report, the four senators point to indications that the department is considering a delay of the rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 1. The rule would create standards and procedures to implement a long-standing law cancelling the federal loans of students who are defrauded by their schools. The rule also requires financial shaky colleges to post letters of credit to ensure money will be available to student victims in the event of a collapse, and it bars colleges receiving federal dollars from denying students the right to take them to court for injuries.
The day after the senators sent their letter, 31 military and veterans organizations wrote to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate education committees opposing any delay of the borrower defense rule. In the letter, groups including AMVETs, Vietnam Veterans of America, the Iraq Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Student Veterans of America, write, “Please urge Secretary DeVos to implement the regulation immediately and start processing veterans’ applications. Any delay is an affront to defrauded servicemembers, veterans, survivors, and military families.” And earlier last week, 19 state attorneys general wrote to DeVos asking her department to move ahead with existing applications for student debt relief, a process that the Trump administration appears to have put on the hold.
In their letter, the four senators note that at a June 6 hearing in federal court in Washington, addressing a lawsuit by for-profit colleges seeking to block the borrower defense rule, a U.S. Department of Justice lawyer representing DeVos said the Education Department is “studying its options with regard to the effective date” for the new rule. In addition, Politico has reported what many in the higher education world have been hearing: that the Trump administration “has been eyeing further delays ... as it considers opening new negotiated-rulemaking sessions to rewrite” the borrower defense rule as well as another Obama rule, called gainful employment, aimed at penalizing career training programs that consistently leave students with overwhelming debt.
The senators warn that blocking the borrower defense rule “would harm thousands of students, many with crushing levels of student loan debt and few meaningful job prospects.”
They also warn that delaying or cancelling the rule would violate the law. As the senators note, the federal Higher Education Act (HEA) and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) provide that major Department of Education rules be developed through a process called negotiated rulemaking, where the department assembles representatives of key stakeholder groups to discuss issues and provisions before the department issues its rule. The borrower defense rule was developed after such a process. The senators contend, accurately, that the HEA and APA “prohibit the Department from unilaterally amending or delaying a final rule except through a new negotiated rulemaking or in very narrow circumstances,” where the department, as the relevant statute reads “for good cause finds ... that notice and public procedure thereon are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.” As the senators argue, “implementing the borrower defense rule without delay is practicable, necessary, and very clearly in the public interest.”
So, the senators tell DeVos, you may have the power to rewrite the borrower rule, but only after going through the same kind of process that the Obama administration used to create the rule. And while you go through that process, you do not have the power to delay the current rule.
The four senators suggest that special interest pressure on, or collusion with, the Trump administration is the force that has put the borrower rule in jeopardy: “it appears that aggressive lobbying by the for-profit college industry ― the very institutions that created the need for this rule by drawing down billions in taxpayer dollars and defrauding tens of thousands of their own students ― may be successfully influencing policies that harm students and borrowers. Appointees with deep ties to this sector, including Mr. Robert Eitel, are reportedly advocating for this dangerous and short-sighted agenda from within the administration itself, raising serious ethical questions. The previous employers of these appointees have a direct interest in delaying the implementation of this rule, particularly the provisions that hold institutions financially accountable to protect taxpayers and the U.S. Treasury.”
The for-profit college industry did indeed lobby relentlessly in an unsuccessful effort to block the borrower defense rule, and they continue to fight to overturn the rule.
The GOP Congress, financially in the pocket of this wealthy industry for more than a decade, could cancel both Obama rules through legislative action, but years of revelations about industry abuses have rendered the industry toxic, and perhaps lawmakers fear that voters will notice if they make a public assault on measures that protect veterans, service members, single moms and others harmed by predatory schools. Some in the industry apparently hope that delaying and then cancelling the rules through the administrative process will allow the pesky measures to be swatted away quietly behind the scenes. These four senators are now saying: Not so fast.
This article also appears on Republic Report.
Public education today faces an existential crisis. Over the past two decades, the movement to transfer public money to private organizations has expanded rapidly. The George W. Bush administration first wrote into federal law the proposal that privately managed charter schools were a remedy for low-scoring public schools, even though no such evidence existed. The Obama administration provided hundreds of millions each year to charter schools, under the control of private boards. Now, the Trump administration, under the leadership of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, wants to expand privatization to include vouchers, virtual schools, cyberschools, homeschooling, and every other possible alternative to public education. DeVos has said that public education is a “dead end,” and that “government sucks.”
DeVos’s agenda finds a ready audience in the majority of states now controlled by Republican governors and legislatures. Most states already have some form of voucher program that allow students to use public money to enroll in private and religious schools, even when their own state constitution prohibits it. The Republicans have skirted their own constitutions by asserting that the public money goes to the family, not the private or religious school. The longstanding tradition of separating church and state in K-12 education is crumbling. And Betsy DeVos can testify with a straight face that she will enforce federal law to “schools that receive federal funding,” because voucher schools allegedly do not receive the money, just the family that chooses religious schools.
Advocates of the privatization movement like DeVos claim that nonpublic schools will “save poor children from failing public schools,” but independent researchers have recently concurred that vouchers actually have had a negative effect on students in the District of Columbia, Indiana, Louisiana, and Ohio. Charters, at best, have a mixed record, and many are known for excluding children with disabilities and English language learners and for pushing out students who are troublesome.
This is a time when honest, nonpartisan reporting is needed to inform the American public.
But this month the Public Broadcasting System is broadcasting a “documentary” that tells a one-sided story, the story that Betsy DeVos herself would tell, based on the work of free-market advocate Andrew Coulson. Author of “Market Education,” Coulson narrates “School, Inc.,” a three-hour program, which airs this month nationwide in three weekly broadcasts on PBS.
Uninformed viewers who see this slickly produced program will learn about the glories of unregulated schooling, for-profit schools, teachers selling their lessons to students on the Internet. They will learn about the “success” of the free market in schooling in Chile, Sweden, and New Orleans. They will hear about the miraculous charter schools across America, and how public school officials selfishly refuse to encourage the transfer of public funds to private institutions. They will see a glowing portrait of South Korea, where students compete to get the highest possible scores on a college entry test that will define the rest of their lives and where families gladly pay for after-school tutoring programs and online lessons to boost test scores. They will hear that the free market is more innovative than public schools.
What they will not see or hear is the other side of the story. They will not hear scholars discuss the high levels of social segregation in Chile, nor will they learn that the students protesting the free-market schools in the streets are not all “Communists,” as Coulson suggests. They will not hear from scholars who blame Sweden’s choice system for the collapse of its international test scores. They will not see any reference to Finland, which far outperforms any other European nation on international tests yet has neither vouchers nor charter schools. They may not notice the absence of any students in wheelchairs or any other evidence of students with disabilities in the highly regarded KIPP charter schools. They will not learn that the acclaimed American Indian Model Charter Schools in Oakland does not enroll any American Indians, but has a student body that is 60 percent Asian American in a city where that group is 12.8 percent of the student population. Nor will they see any evidence of greater innovation in voucher schools or charter schools than in properly funded public schools.
Coulson has a nifty way of dismissing the fact that the free market system of schooling was imposed by the dictator Augusto Pinochet. He says that Hitler liked the Hollywood movie “It Happened One Night” (with Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable); should we stop showing or watching the movie? Is that a fair comparison? Pinochet was directly responsible for the free market system of schooling, including for-profit private schools. Hitler neither produced nor directed “It Happened One Night.” Thus does Coulson refer to criticisms (like Sweden’s collapsing scores on international tests) and dismisses them as irrelevant.
I watched the documentary twice, preparing to be interviewed by Channel 13, and was repelled by the partisan nature of the presentation. I googled the funders and discovered that the lead funder is the Rose Mary and Jack Anderson Foundation, a very conservative foundation that is a major contributor to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, which advocates for vouchers. The Anderson Foundation is allied with Donors Trust, whose donors make contributions that cannot be traced to them. Mother Jones referred to this foundation as part of “the dark-money ATM of the conservative movement.” Other contributors to Donors Trust include the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity and the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.
The second major funder is the Prometheus Foundation. Its public filings with the IRS show that its largest grant ($2.5 million) went to the Ayn Rand Institute. The third listed funder of “School Inc.” is the Steve and Lana Hardy Foundation, which contributes to free-market libertarian think tanks.
In other words, this program is paid propaganda. It does not search for the truth. It does not present opposing points of view. It is an advertisement for the demolition of public education and for an unregulated free market in education. PBS might have aired a program that debates these issues, but “School Inc.” does not.
It is puzzling that PBS would accept millions of dollars for this lavish and one-sided production from a group of foundations with a singular devotion to the privatization of public services. The decision to air this series is even stranger when you stop to consider that these kinds of anti-government political foundations are likely to advocate for the elimination of public funding for PBS. After all, in a free market of television, where there are so many choices available, why should the federal government pay for a television channel?
Colorado-Boulder chancellor suspended for failing to report alleged domestic violence by assistant coach
The University of Colorado Board of Regents announced Monday that Philip P. DiStefano, chancellor of the Boulder campus, would be suspended without pay for 10 days for his failure to report to authorities an allegation of domestic violence made against an assistant football coach.
The university released a report that faulted the chancellor for failing to report the allegations to the relevant office at the university, and also to outside law enforcement.
The university also announced that Rick George, the athletics director, and Mike MacIntyre, the head football coach, had each been ordered to pay $100,000 to a domestic violence organization for their failure to report the allegations, which were of repeated severe physical and verbal abuse. The allegations were first made to MacIntyre, who shared them with DiStefano and George.
The outside report issued by the university's Board of Regents characterized the university officials' failure to report as a question of mistakes. "Bad intent" is not required to find the officials failed in their responsibilities, the report said, and it did not charge that bad intent was at play in the situation. Rather, the report suggests that the men were not aware of or focused on their responsibilities to the woman who reported the violence to the football coach.
Others have suggested a motivation, denied by the university, that its failure to act enabled the assistant coach to participate in a bowl game. After the allegations became public, after the bowl game, the assistant coach, Joe Tumpkin, was suspended and resigned. Tumpkin was subsequently charged with five felony assaults.
Many details of the case were first reported in a February article by Sports Illustrated, which attracted considerable attention to the situation.
DiStefano and the two athletic officials each issued statements Monday accepting the punishments and responsibility for what they failed to do.
In his statement, DiStefano said that he proposed his punishment, and that he realized his errors of judgment. "In recent years I have … insisted that every member of the university community commit to our effort to end sexual misconduct and violence. As hard as it is to say, I did not live up to these standards, and I regret it. I am committed to making CU Boulder a campus where women, and everyone, feel valued, respected and safe."
He said he asked the university to donate the salary he will not receive for 10 days to a group that fights domestic violence.
In the investigative report, DiStefano is quoted as telling investigators that "I kick myself every day" over failing to take action immediately.
While the suspension of a chancellor is unusual, the lawyer for the woman whose allegations were not reported said that Colorado deserves no praise for what it announced Monday.
Peter Ginsberg, a New York lawyer who is representing the woman, said the outside investigation was well done. But he questioned the sanctions.
"Punishments are more severe for recruiting violations," Ginsberg told The Daily Camera. "The idea that the athletic director and head coach responsible have punishments that pale in comparison to routine infractions is simply hard to comprehend. We are just so deeply disappointed in how CU has reacted to this serious breach of loyalty to my client and the community."
While $100,000 is a lot of money for most academics, the football coach at Colorado has a salary (not counting bonus eligibility) of more than $2 million.Editorial Tags: College administrationDiversity MattersImage Caption: Philip P. DiStefanoIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 4Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Email Teaser: Failure to Report
The idea of a product that, at a glance, can point scholars to the exact point in a book that is relevant to their research may sound like science fiction, but that’s how the scholarly database JSTOR is pitching a recently released research tool.
The tool, called Topicgraph, is part of a JSTOR project to take the digital scholarly monograph from a PDF to something more useful for researchers. The organization on Monday published the final version of a white paper outlining 13 ideas on how to do so, ranging from the convenient -- such as giving readers more navigational tools within digital books -- to the complicated, like removing restrictions on how readers use and reuse books.
“Books just have not made the same digital transition in the way that journals have,” Laura Brown, managing director of JSTOR, said in an interview. “We’ve been on a mission to see if we can help unlock that value.”
JSTOR Labs’ Ideas for Rethinking the Digital Monograph
- Allow different kinds of readers to navigate in different ways
- Give readers better tools to assess the content of online scholarly books quickly and efficiently
- Let readers navigate more quickly to the portion of a book they are interested in
- Provide better functionality for situating a book within the larger scholarly conversation
- Let readers flip between sections of a digital monograph as easily as they can in a print book
- Let readers work simultaneously with both a print and digital edition
- Simplify using digital books simultaneously with other scholarly resources, including primary texts, reference works, journal articles and other books
- Let books travel easily from device to device
- Offer features that allow readers to interact with and mark up digital books
- Let readers work with books in collaborative environments
- Create opportunities for serendipitous discovery
- Make scholarly book files open and flexible
JSTOR has over the past few years shown -- and responded to -- a growing interest in scholarly monographs. The database in 2013 launched the Books at JSTOR program and has in less than five years added tens of thousands of titles and more than 1,000 library customers.
The database's own metrics show JSTOR's users are eager book readers, Brown said. Yet few would argue that long PDF files make for ideal digital reading. As more and more researchers use general search engines and library websites as a starting point for research, making digital books more easily discoverable could help showcase the monograph -- still seen as the gold standard of scholarly work by many -- to a new generation of scholars, she said.
"We are just at the beginning of that journey," Brown said about JSTOR's work with scholarly monographs. "The usage of books on the JSTOR platform is just exploding."
Alex Humphreys, director of JSTOR Labs, said the results from the Books at JSTOR program suggest the database has tapped into an appetite among researchers to access scholarly monographs digitally. But the work to digitize scholarly monographs has come at a symbolic cost. Breaking up books into chapters has made longer manuscripts more accessible to readers, who tend to only read five to 10 pages of a digital title before determining whether it is relevant to their research, but it has to some extent “journalized” books, he said.
“The value of a long-form piece of scholarship, a continuous argument, a real exploration of a single topic -- some of that gets lost when it’s split up into chapters,” Humphreys said. “We were hoping to find new tools and ways that would bring that value back.”
JSTOR Labs is working on building those tools, Humphreys said. The group can perhaps best be described as a Skunk Works within the scholarly database, which in turn is part of the higher education nonprofit Ithaka. The group works on projects that could bring new functionality to the database and also help scholars in general.
While the group can’t dramatically transform the monograph publishing market on its own, it is focusing on tools it can build to benefit researchers. Examples include works in progress with names such as the “Book-as-Portal-to-Other-Scholarship,” the “Scholarly Reader,” the “Scholarly Influence Graph,” the “Topic Explorer” and the “Way-Better Table of Contents.”
Working with faculty members and graduate students at Columbia University, JSTOR Labs chose to focus first on the “Topic Explorer” idea. Topicgraph, the completed prototype, uses text analysis to find key terms in a manuscript and group them into relevant topics. The tool then displays the top 15 to 25 topics and a graph showing the frequency at which they appear throughout the book next to the manuscript itself. Clicking at a point on the graph navigates to the corresponding page of the manuscript, where the relevant terms are highlighted.
The prototype features about 60 titles from a handful of university presses to show how the tool works, and JSTOR Labs is inviting testers to submit their own manuscripts to be “topicgraphed.” At 52 pages, JSTOR Labs’ own white paper is shorter than the manuscripts that the tool is designed to work with, but feeding the paper to the tool still identifies “digital publications” as the No. 1 topic.
Should researchers respond positively to Topicgraph, the tool could become a standard part of how JSTOR displays scholarly books and journals, Humphreys said. A different JSTOR Labs tool called the Text Analyzer, which scans the contents of a document and recommends similar titles, launched in beta form in March (to praise from Inside Higher Ed blogger Barbara Fister).
As JSTOR Labs continues to refine Topicgraph, it will also build new prototypes, Humphreys said. He added that he is particularly interested in working on tools that turn digital monographs into portals to other research and help researchers with citation and reference mining.
For other projects -- for example, building a dedicated book reader for scholarly works -- JSTOR Labs hopes to partner with other groups involved in scholarly communication, Brown said.
“The reimagined monograph -- whatever that ultimately means -- will not be built in a single step, or by a single organization,” the white paper reads. “Libraries, publishers, scholars, scholarly societies and others will all have a role to play -- in promoting standards, in convening thinkers, in carrying out technology development and so on -- and in doing so, they will be drawing on the wonderful history of collaboration in the scholarly communications community.”Books and PublishingPublishing IndustryEditorial Tags: PublishingImage Source: JSTOR LabsIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Southern Methodist University punished a student for tacking up fliers saying, “Why white women should date black men,” her response to racist materials that had been posted around campus urging white women not to date black men.
The institution deemed her fliers prejudiced, too, and indeed, they did contain potentially offensive statements that the student says were satirical. The incident raises questions about when and how a college should take stands on forms of expression.
Emily Walker, who will enter her senior year at SMU in the fall, was given a deferred suspension -- meaning she committed an offense so great that it would constitute a suspension, but officials chose not to enforce the punishment. In the past weeks, she has started publicly discussing her experience with the campus judicial system, claiming the university only seeks to protect its image.
In November, she created and posted her fliers, a reply to posters that had been hung anonymously around campus that month with the header “Why white women shouldn’t date black men.”
The original poster claimed black men were more likely to carry sexually transmitted diseases and abuse their partners.
Southern Methodist quickly condemned the initial fliers, and the president, R. Gerald Turner, released a statement then, telling those who “[commit] to living a life of denigrating others” should find another place to live.
University statements do not specify whether anyone was punished for those fliers.
“The entire community must recommit to discouraging and eliminating such unacceptable behavior. There will be many tense moments nationally over the next few months. During these moments, the SMU community must be able to discuss our differences with mutual respect surrounded by a supportive campus environment for everyone. Anything less is unworthy of who we are,” Turner’s statement said.
But Walker, who at the time worked as a student athletic trainer, often with teams composed largely of black students, felt compelled to show support in some way.
Walker wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed she had seen some football team members cry after the original posting.
“It is important to fight racism so the next generation grows up knowing what is right and what is wrong,” Walker said. “It’s a steep mountain to climb due to the prior generations not prioritizing successful integration of difference races within America.”
She printed fliers with information saying black men were less likely to commit mass shootings and that babies from parents of two different races were likely to be healthier.
Then she started into stereotypes -- what she called satire -- to raise questions about the original posters.
She wrote that black men could more likely to “sexually please” a woman. She included a world map that showed the average size of a penis by country, highlighting the fact that the number was higher in African nations.
“Once you go black,” she wrote on her flier, “you don’t go back.”
Though such platitudes are considered offensive, Walker told a local television station they were meant as satire.
Still, the university considered Walker’s fliers a violation of its nondiscrimination, affirmative action and equal opportunity policy.
Because officials determined Walker had infringed on that policy, she was also in violation of the student code of conduct, they said, and handed her the yearlong deferred suspension, beginning in late March.
Walker was also instructed to write a minimum 1,500-word reflection paper on how she could have more appropriately responded to the first flier.
A university spokesman, Kent Best, said in an emailed statement that federal privacy law prohibits the university from discussing Walker’s case.
“One hallmark of a great university is its willingness to recognize freedom of expression on difficult topics, yet every university struggles with the question of balance when it comes to allegations of harassing and discriminatory speech. At SMU, incidents are investigated under SMU’s nondiscrimination and Title IX harassment policies on a case-by-case basis,” Best said.
When Raven Battles, a Southern Methodist junior and president of the black student association, spoke with a few black men on campus, she said they believed Walker’s flier “hadn’t helped much.”
They felt that by including the sexual stereotypes about black men, it fetishized them, Battles said in an interview.
Over all, the fliers didn’t prompt a huge campus response, mostly because administrators addressed concerns so quickly, Battles said. She described the association’s relationship with the university as positive, saying that officials supported minority students' events and their safety.
In her email to Inside Higher Ed, Walker said she felt the incident created a “chilling effect” on her freedom of speech.
“I can’t open my mouth, because if I do, it’s worth being suspended,” Walker said.
As a private institution, Southern Methodist isn’t obligated to follow the same statutes that protect free speech at a public university. It can and did levy punishments based on its own policies.
But the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which handles discrimination complaints, has previously indicated that a single case of offensive expression wouldn’t constitute harassment that would be barred by federal law.
“In order to establish a hostile environment, conduct must be sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive as to limit or deny the student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program,” the office wrote in a 2013 letter to the University of California, Berkeley.
The Education Department at the time was investigating a complaint filed against Berkeley that Jewish students were being discriminated against on campus.
Worrisome to Gary Pavela, an expert in higher education law, and the co-founder of Academic Integrity Seminar, is that the incident at Southern Methodist concerned a woman trying to protect minorities, he said. Pavela's organization tries to teach students the importance of social trust.
Pavela referenced both the 2013 OCR letter to Berkeley and a 1973 Supreme Court case, Papish v. University of Missouri Curators, that ruled a student was inappropriately expelled for distributing a student publication with a risqué cartoon.
The University of Missouri is a public institution.
“My reaction is that neither by OCR standards nor constitutional standards … this meets no definition of unlawful expression I’ve encountered,” Pavela said of Walker’s case.
Southern Methodist has been criticized before for race-related issues on campus. In 2015, two fraternities canceled an off-campus party that President Turner called “racially offensive.”
The “Ice Party” Facebook advertisement featured a black rapper gripping a chain in his mouth.
“It is simply unacceptable for any campus group or individual to employ images and language that promote negative stereotypes and are demeaning to the dignity of any member of our campus community,” Turner said in a statement at the time.DiversityEditorial Tags: RaceDiversity MattersIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 1Diversity Newsletter publication date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017Is this Career Advice newsletter?: Email Teaser: Punished for Anti-Racist Satire?
Many community colleges are moving away from placement exams as a means of determining the skills of incoming students.
Now the California State University System is planning to do the same in an effort to increase graduation rates, despite lingering concerns from some officials and faculty members that removing the tests may hurt students in the long run.
“We’re trying to increase the number of students who can go right into college course work to get college credit instead of track students into remediation for various reasons,” said April Grommo, director of enrollment management services for the system, adding that the system would discontinue the use of early placement tests as soon as 2018 and instead rely on high school grades and course work, SAT or ACT scores as measures to determine college readiness.
The move is part of the system’s long-term goal known as Graduation Initiative 2025, which is a series of steps Cal State is taking to increase the four-year graduation rate from about 20 percent today to 40 percent in the next eight years. The goal also includes increasing the six-year graduation rate from 57 percent in 2015 to 70 percent in 2025.
The Cal State system currently uses its own English and math exams designed by Educational Testing Service to determine placement.
The system already uses the SAT, the ACT and the state assessment given to K-12 students as a method to exempt students from taking placement exams altogether. But under the new policy, in order for students to be considered "conditionally ready" for English, they would have to meet a similar standard on the state's Early Assessment Program exam, which is given to 11th-grade students, score between a 510 and 540 on the SAT's reading and writing section, or score between 19 and 21 on the ACT English section. Students considered to be "conditionally ready" in math would also have to meet a similar standard on the EAP exam, score between 520 and 560 on the SAT math section, or score between 20 and 22 on the ACT math test.
Students could transition from conditionally ready to "ready" in math or English if they completed approved 12th-grade courses or transferred college courses that satisfy the requirement with a grade of C or better.
But if students score below those benchmarks and were considered conditionally ready, the system would introduce the review of high school course work and grades to determine placement, Grommo said, and if based on all factors the student is found not to be college ready, they would be required to attend the system's early-start course in the summer.
Grommo said the system is still gathering feedback from campuses, community college partners and K-12 systems across the state, so the new policy isn't finalized yet.
"We are introducing the evaluation of high school course work and discontinuing the placement test since we already have passing scores for ACT, SAT and EAP in place," she said. "By introducing high school course work as an additional placement method, less students will need remediation and can start in college credit-bearing courses with additional support."
Systemwide 28 percent of students are placed in remedial math and 23 percent in remedial English, Grommo said. The system serves about 480,000 students.
In math, 38 percent of students are considered ready for college-level course work -- 52 percent in English -- by the time they graduate from high school, but after they've taken the state exam, the ACT, SAT or AP exam. When it comes to the current placement exams, 12 percent of students are considered ready in math and 4 percent in English are ready for college-level courses.
Removing placement exams isn’t the only angle in the initiative to increase graduation rates. The chancellor’s office is also directing campuses to create “stretch” courses and supplemental courses. Stretch courses, unlike traditional remediation, would give college credit to students who might not be likely to succeed in college-level courses and provide them with more time with instructors and additional support. Some campuses, like Cal State Long Beach, already offer stretch courses. The system is also expecting campuses to beef up early-start programs to provide additional support to incoming students in the summer.
Researchers have been learning for years now that some students who are placed in remedial courses because of placement tests would actually be better served in college-level courses. Students often don’t receive college credit for remedial or developmental education courses. Those classes may also increase barriers to completion by using up students’ financial aid resources.
“We know success of remedial courses, especially at community colleges, is less than stellar, and students trapped in remedial aren’t able to move forward and earn college credits,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity, a California-based nonprofit that seeks to build support for public higher education. “The movement toward multiple measures is a better one, and having one high-stakes test … is inefficient. Students’ abilities can’t be appropriately measured by one aspect, and testing them on multiple measures should be the approach.”
A 2012 study from the Community College Research Center at Teachers College at Columbia University found that up to a third of students who tested into remedial courses because of college placement tests could have passed college-level classes with a grade of B or better.
However, there has been less focus and research on eliminating placement exams at four-year universities.
"Although there's no reason to assume the results will be different at universities," said Pam Burdman, a higher education policy analyst and fellow at the Opportunity Institute, a nonprofit that promotes social mobility based in Berkeley, Calif., "my hope, since they're going ahead with this, is that CSU will monitor and evaluate the outcome of this policy and how it impacts students. But a lot of research has shown, particularly in math, remedial course taking doesn't benefit students in terms of their future college outcomes."
Burdman said there shouldn't be a concern for students attending a STEM-focused campus like California Polytechnic State University, with majors in highly technical disciplines, since the requirements in math would already be stronger.
But admission standards are so selective on those campuses that students wouldn't be affected by the CSU policy change on placement tests, Matt Lazier, media relations director at Cal Poly, said in an email, adding that none of the university's new students are remedial. The grade point average for the incoming freshman class is 4.04, the ACT average is 31 and SAT average is 2085.
Meanwhile, at Cal State Long Beach, President Jane Conoley said the campus already has stretch courses, but she sees this as an opportunity to redirect remedial resources into learning communities, supplemental education and cohort-based training that research has already proven helps students who are the least prepared for college-level courses.
“Whether grades or a placement exam, nothing is perfect, but we’ve been going down this path for a while to get rid of these dead-end courses students don’t do well in, they have to repeat and don’t get credit for,” Conoley said, adding that 30 percent of Long Beach students require remediation. “There is a concern faculty may have that they may get students not as prepared, but my dream is all the resources invested in remedial would be moved to stretch courses and to support faculty members.”
And although most of the movement on eliminating placement tests has been at the community college level, Conoley said regardless of whether they are in high school, community college or a university, students presented with a challenge will rise to meet it and "lowering expectations slows them down for graduation."
For many faculty members, grading placement exams isn’t a thrilling venture, but there needs to be some type of assessment that communicates students can enter an undergraduate class, especially when the reality is that many students do need some type of remediation, said Steven Filling, a professor of accounting and finance at CSU Stanislaus State and chapter president for the California Faculty Association.
"CSU is mandated to take the top one-third of graduating [high school] students," Filling said. "Our population is pretty broad, but it's still the top third. We're interested in our students being able to successfully process what is going on in the university system, but placement exams are there in the first place because high school grades don't give you all the information you need. There's a lot of variability out there."
The Stanislaus campus already has stretch courses, as well.
“Politically it would be wonderful to say we’re getting rid of any kind of placement exam or developmental remedial education and everyone thinks it’s progress,” Filling said. “But we’re not sure that’s progress, because we haven’t solved the problem of people not being engaged in quantitative reasoning as they approach problems in their lives.”
Ultimately, Filling said, he hopes CSU administration understands the complete implications of what these changes may mean to students and wishes they had talked to more faculty about how these changes may affect students.
The Cal State English Council, for example, issued a statement expressing dismay at the speed with which the shift to end placement exams has happened.
"While many first-year writing programs are in favor of retiring the [early placement test], this is not a universal opinion, which speaks to the need for campus autonomy in determining assessment measures for placement," the statement said.
Some campuses have transitioned to directed self-placement, which has eliminated the need for the placement exam, but the council feels each campus should be able to decide its own assessment measures for placement.
“Yes, I want to see the graduation rate go up, and I’ll do anything within bounds to make that happen, but to me graduation is a metric for something else,” Filling said. “We can’t just focus on how many diplomas we hand out and forget that’s not what we do. We’re trying to educate people.”AdmissionsEditorial Tags: AdmissionsAssessmentCaliforniaIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?:
Many histories have been written of American higher education, but Charles Dorn has taken a new approach in For the Common Good: A New History of Higher Education in America (Cornell University Press). The book is in some senses chronological, telling the story of the founding of the early New England institutions and proceeding onward. But Dorn does not attempt to be comprehensive in all periods. Rather, for different periods of time he focuses on one sector or another, from the first institutions to the land grants to the teacher education colleges to women’s colleges and historically black colleges. And he focuses on how different sectors aimed to promote visions of higher education “for the common good” -- even if some of those sectors were exclusionary for some of their history.
Dorn is professor of education and associate dean for academic affairs at Bowdoin College. He responded via email to questions about his book.
Q: There are many histories of American higher education. What made you think there was room for another? What led to your approach, focusing on different sectors at different times?
A: Yes, there are many higher education histories, and I’ve never been completely satisfied with what they offer. Most fall into one of three categories: 1) “house” histories written about particular institutions; 2) archival studies of particular institutional types, time periods or student cohorts; and 3) “synthetic” histories that are chronologically sweeping but mostly descriptive (and mainly synthesize previously published work). In contrast, For the Common Good is a comprehensive historical analysis of higher education that is both thesis driven and grounded in original archival research.
The method I employ investigates a wide range of institutional types established over the course of two centuries throughout the United States. From the community college to the elite research university -- in states from California to Maine -- I examine how colleges and universities have historically contributed to the common good.
This new approach captures the expansiveness of U.S. higher education, especially student and institutional diversity, without sacrificing important local and regional influences. The history of higher education during the early national period, for instance, has typically been told through the stories of New England colleges such as Harvard and Yale. South Carolina College (present-day University of South Carolina), however, was established in 1802 as the first state-sponsored higher education institution in the United States to receive ample political and financial support. How does that college’s Southern history revise our understanding of higher education’s development in America? For the Common Good engages exactly these kinds of questions.
Q: Your theme is that higher education evolved for the “common good,” as your title says. But many of the sectors you discuss -- women’s colleges, black colleges, Roman Catholic colleges -- came into being because establishment higher education excluded various groups. How do you reconcile your “common good” theme with that part of history?
A: Absolutely -- and that has been the most interesting element of my research for this book. Although the founders of America’s earliest colleges consistently declared an institutional commitment to the public good, they often defined “the public” in narrow and exclusive terms. My research demonstrates how Americans responded by advocating for increased higher education access and affordability and also for greater curricular relevance. This advocacy frequently led to reform, with colleges and universities changing their practices over time. Critics, however, often judged the pace of these reforms as too slow and established entirely new kinds of institutions to advance what they understood as the common good. For instance, reactions against residential colleges that maintained proficiency in Latin and Greek as admissions criteria and offered a classical course of study resulted in the founding of “normal schools” (dedicated to teacher training) and colleges devoted to the study of agriculture, mechanics, mining and military training (later abbreviated as “A&M”).
These “new” kinds of institutions (which were actually borrowed from European models) adopted less stringent, if not entirely different, admissions requirements, charged little to no tuition and offered “practical” courses of study. Similarly, historically black colleges and universities, women’s colleges, junior and community colleges, and public urban universities were all founded in reaction to the kinds of institutions that came before. Still, they too declared an institutional commitment to advance the public good. Indeed, given the wide variety of colleges and universities established in the United States over the course of two hundred years, a long-standing dedication to promoting the common good comprises the core of a grand narrative of American higher education history.
Q: You mention for-profit higher education in your epilogue. Did you consider a chapter? Could the common good theme have worked with this sector?
A: Unlike diploma mills, which have been in existence since at least the early 19th century and charge a fee for illegitimate degrees, accredited for-profit colleges and universities claim to provide specific forms of educational (often career) training. They are relative newcomers to American higher education -- too new to warrant their own chapter in a two-century study of college and university history. Nevertheless, these businesses, if conducted responsibly, could meet student needs by providing occupational training in ways that are accessible, flexible and affordable.
Participation in the “knowledge economy” often requires employees to possess specific kinds of knowledge and skills applicable to their vocational pursuits. For-profit colleges could be well suited to facilitate the acquisition of this knowledge and these skills, especially through the use of innovative online platforms. Unfortunately, many of these businesses, such as the recently defunct Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institutes, are less interested in educating students than in building wealth for investors by transferring billions of public dollars to private shareholders, an approach that has failed to guarantee either student success or corporate profitability.
Q: Having looked at the evolution of higher education through various sectors, are you concerned about the viability of particular sectors today?
A: Definitely. In 2003, just two U.S. colleges charged more than $40,000 a year for tuition, fees, room and board. Six years later, more than 200 did. The beginning of the Great Recession in 2008 catalyzed this spike in cost, driving down endowments and accelerating already-declining state support for higher education. One important ramification is that tuition at four-year public institutions, nationally, has come to provide a greater source of revenue than state appropriations. However, it’s not simply the nation’s economic climate that now dictates what colleges and universities charge, it’s the adoption of a corporate approach to operations that has already proven remarkably expensive to implement and extremely difficult to reform because of its overwhelming preoccupation with status.
The experiences of institutions such as Virginia’s Sweet Briar College reveal the risks associated with this model. Sweet Briar survived the maelstrom of the 20th century, including two world wars and an economic calamity, only to announce in 2015 that it was closing. Although the particular challenges confronting rural women’s colleges played a role in the institution’s financial decline, the combination of a corporate model of operation and the effects of the recession led to college officials’ announcing that the institution would end operations following the close of the academic year. As Inside Higher Ed reported at the time, “There are some liberal arts colleges -- places such as Williams, Amherst, Bowdoin and Middlebury Colleges -- that have prestige to attract students and the financial means to promote both constant campus activities and plenty of opportunities for urban experiences.” “But,” claimed Sweet Briar President James F. Jones, “it is increasingly difficult for other colleges to compete.” Ultimately, legal action combined with strong alumnae support saved Sweet Briar. Yet, Moody’s Investor Service has estimated that the number of four-year public and private higher education institutions that will go out of business over the next few years could triple annually. Today, few sectors of higher education today are impervious to this risk. [Editor’s note: Sweet Briar subsequently announced it would continue operations and has done so.]
Q: A recent poll by New America found many Americans doubt that higher education is about the common good, and that they perceive colleges as promoting the interests of colleges. Why do you think the public is cynical about higher education, especially in light of the idealism you highlight in the history of American higher education?
A: A social ethos of affluence has certainly come to characterize higher education in the 21st century, leading many to question colleges’ and universities’ dedication to the public good. In the same way that many students now report pursuing a college degree primarily in an effort to position themselves for an affluent future, colleges and universities regularly engage in decision making that maintains institutional affluence as its primary rationale. Yet, as I describe in the book, colleges and universities have always pursued wealth. That is to say, although the “search for gold” has taken on an unprecedented urgency in recent years, the search for donors and their dollars dates back to the nation’s early history.
The predominance of a social ethos of affluence, however, has not eliminated competing commitments. Civic-mindedness, for instance, continues to matter in higher education. In 2013, when an Arizona community college enrolling over 40,000 students moved to tighten its admission standards in the face of community opposition, its regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, penalized it for demonstrating “a lack of understanding of its role in serving the public good in its community.” Similarly, two years ago, when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker proposed replacing the Wisconsin Idea (characterized by the University of Wisconsin’s commitment to public service) with the far narrower objective of meeting “the state’s work force needs,” popular backlash led him to abandon the idea.
From research that benefits the public welfare to the active recruitment of students from marginalized populations to sustained efforts to cultivate civic competence, colleges and universities continue to advance the public good in the 21st century. As the New America poll reveals, over 60 percent of respondents continue to believe that college is primarily a societal good rather than a private one, indicating that even today a majority of Americans maintain faith in colleges’ and universities’ commitment to the common good.New Books About Higher EducationEditorial Tags: BooksIs this diversity newsletter?: Newsletter Order: 0Is this Career Advice newsletter?: