By Annie Waldman for Pro Publication – Taylor Hansen lobbied to weaken regulation of for-profit colleges. Since he joined the Education Department, it’s started doing just that. Until June 2016, Taylor Hansen lobbied for the largest trade group of for-profit colleges. At the forefront of its agenda: eliminating a rule known as “gainful employment,” which can take away federal funding from for-profit colleges if their graduates fail to earn enough to repay student loans. Last week, that goal started to become a reality. The U.S. Department of Education delayed the deadline for colleges to comply with certain provisions of gainful employment, saying it plans to review the rule.
By Alex Kotch for AlterNet – As far-right speakers face loud student opposition at their university speaking gigs, conservative lawmakers in several states are introducing legislation that cracks down on protesters. As uncovered by UnKoch My Campus’ Ralph Wilson, numerous states have borrowed their so-called “campus free speech” bills from the rightwing Goldwater Institute, which is funded by conservative plutocrats including Charles Koch and the Mercer family. The intent of these bills isn’t to protect student speech; it’s actually to suppress it in favor of guest speakers who, at times, support white nationalism, LGBTQ discrimination and other hateful worldviews.
By J. Gabriel Ware for Yes! Magzine. Autre Murray, 24, never planned to go to college. He thought he couldn’t afford it—even with student loans. Besides, he wasn’t thrilled with the prospect of ending up in “debt up to the neck.” Instead, Murray planned to earn a high school diploma and find a job doing manual labor, maybe somewhere like a factory. He told himself he didn’t need a college education to become successful. But now he’s on his way to obtaining a bachelor’s degree, as are other members of his Kalamazoo, Michigan, hometown. That’s thanks to the Kalamazoo Promise, a scholarship program first announced at a board meeting of Kalamazoo Public Schools in November 2005. The nonprofit of the same name provides scholarships that cover 65 to 100 percent of college tuition and fees for all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools who meet certain criteria.
By Ed Childs for Workers World – Well in advance of the Harvard University Dining Service strike, we knew we would need to build a solidarity coalition to take on the Harvard Corporation. We spent months laying the groundwork. (For Part 1, about strike preparations, go to tinyurl.com/z3goecw.) Once the strike began the coalition was critical. Harvard Medical School students staged two walkouts in support of the striking HUDS workers. The Student Labor Action Movement played a big role; they organized a dinner for us on campus where faculty, administrators, deans, parents and our workers spoke. Campus environmentalists saw worker health as necessary for a healthy campus environment. The Jewish group Hillel hosted meetings and fed us, and rabbis spoke at our rallies.
By Rob Hopkins for Transition Network – The projects of a Transition University tend to focus on positive, practical action, such as building community gardens, local bike or car sharing schemes, re-use and upcycling projects, awareness raising on climate change, peak oil, and malfunctioning economic systems, reducing personal and institutional carbon footprints. The advantage of running practical projects is that they do not require participants to selfidentify as “greens”, “environmentalists”, “engaged citizens”, “socially aware” or anything at all. Practical activities are an open, inclusive way to engage with a broad segment of the university community. Over time, engaging in activities that allow them to live a more sustainable lifestyle can empower participants to develop stronger pro-environmental attitudes
By Jason Ditz for Mint Press News – In a move intended to dramatically broaden Department of Education probes of colleges and universities who tolerate students that criticize Israel, the Senate today unanimously passed the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which was passed with little debate or fanfare. Sen. Bob Casey (D – PA) and Tim Scott (R – SC) presented the bill as targeting a growing number of “religiously motivated hate crimes,” warning that the Department of Education needed to take “urgent action” to investigate all anti-semitism at school. The bill intends to do this by instructing the Department of Education to use the State Department’s definition of anti-semitism…
By Robert Jensen for Waging Nonviolence – From a “critique” of my work on the recently launched website Professor Watchlist, I learned that I’m a threat to my students for contending that we won’t end men’s violence against women “if we do not address the toxic notions about masculinity in patriarchy … rooted in control, conquest, aggression.” That quote is supposedly “evidence” for why I am one of those college professors who, according to the watchlist’s mission statement, “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
By Zach Cartwright for US Uncut – Late senator Joseph McCarthy would be proud about a new list being circulated identifying professors espousing ‘anti-American’ values. The website ProfessorWatchlist.org seeks to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”
By G. Wayne Miller for The Providence Journal – PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Several hundred Brown University students, most of them wearing black, on Wednesday afternoon staged a peaceful walkout urging school leaders to “protect” all Brown students, as organizers put it — particularly members of the Native American, black, Latino, undocumented, Muslim, LGBTQ and other communities who fear for their safety following the election of Donald Trump as president.
By Callum Cant for ROAR Magazine – The successful rent strike at University College London earlier this year broke the stale pattern of conflict between university managers and students. It showed how the rent strike tactic offers students in the UK opportunities to shut down higher education and how to gain the upper hand. Now a national network has been established with members from 25 campuses, and it’s calling for a co-ordinated wave of rent strikes in university halls.
By John K. Wilson for Academe Blog – Suspending a course in the middle of a semester is one of the most serious actions a university can take. On Sept. 13, Dean Carla Hesse of the University of California at Berkeley did exactly that to a student-taught DeCal class about Palestine. DeCal stands for Democratic Education at Cal, an old-fashioned tradition where undergraduate students teach 1 or 2 unit courses, pass/fail, to their peers. The instructors, called facilitators, plan their own courses, which must be approved by a faculty committee and the chair of a department.
By Sammy Feldblum for Scalawag – The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill claims the title of oldest public university in the United States, having graduated its first class in 1795. In the centuries since, the state has added sixteen more campuses to the UNC system, including five historically black colleges and universities. The system, especially its flagship school, is the pride of the state: journalist John Gunther called it “a kind of intellectual capital for the whole South” in 1947
By E. Drabinski for LIUFF – Over the Labor Day weekend, the administration of Long Island University (LIU) announced an unprecedented lockout of all 400 members of its Brooklyn campus faculty union (the Long Island University Faculty Federation) in the midst of ongoing contract negotiations and in the absence of a strike, apparently in order to coerce faculty members into accepting the administration’s last offer. As of September 3, LIU Brooklyn faculty members were deprived, not only of their professional duties, but of their salaries, benefits, and access to their university e-mail accounts.
By Leila Ettachfini for Broadly – From Steubenville to Vanderbilt, stories of rape culture and football repeatedly made local and national headlines in the last couple of years. Though problems with sexual violence have coincided with football since the sport’s inception, today a handful of survivors and journalists are bringing the issue to a national spotlight. Jessica Luther, an investigative journalist, is one of them. For the past three years, Luther has added to the dialogue surrounding rape in football.
By Jon Herskovitz for Reuters – To protest a new state law that makes the carrying of concealed handguns legal in college classrooms, students at the University of Texas on Wednesday openly displayed sex toys, an act considered illegal under local indecency laws. “We are fighting absurdity with absurdity,” said Jessica Jin, leader of the protest called “Cocks Not Glocks: Campus (Dildo) Carry,” where hundreds of sex toys were given away at the rally on Wednesday that coincided with a return to classes at university’s flagship campus.