Tag Archives | College

Higher Education’s Aristocrats

Justin Kern / Flickr

Justin Kern / Flickr

Via Jacobin:

Last week, the Barack Obama Foundation announced that the University of Chicago is one of four finalists to house the Obama Presidential Library, according to its mission of finding a site that reflects “President Obama’s values and priorities throughout his career in public service.”

If Obama chooses UChicago, however, he risks tying his legacy to the American university that perhaps most exemplifies higher education’s current crisis of mission. Rather than being institutions that prioritize free inquiry, research, and high-quality education, universities are increasingly acting like the worst of Wall Street, where anything goes in order make a buck for the people at the top.

The latest sign of identity crisis at UChicago? Hefty pay raises to a large number of top staff, who have enriched themselves at great cost to their institution.

New analysis of tax data from publicly available IRS 990 forms shows that eight high-level UChicago administrators have received more than $7.6 million in compensation increases since 2007-2008, even as the school moved toward and suffered a credit downgrade.

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Man Who Murdered Entire Family as Teenager Now a College Professor

Screen-Shot-2013-08-01-at-2.51.22-PM-2To what extent can a person convicted of a horrific crime be redeemed? Are there some limits to rehabilitation? These are questions some people are asking after having discovered one man’s horrific past:

Via Addicting Info:

It was a hot summer night just outside of Austin, Texas, when 15-year-old James Wolcott shot his mother, father, and young sister to death, for no reason at all. Almost five decades later, James (now St. James) enjoys the status and respect of a longtime college professor.

The murders of the Wolcott family were the kind of shocking event that embeds itself into the conscience of a community. The father, Dr. Gordon Wolcott, was the head of the biology department at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. The mother, Elizabeth Wolcott, was active in the local church circle. Sister Libby was 17-years-old that summer in 1967. James and Libby had gone to a show in Austin on the night of August 4th.… Read the rest

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NSA College Recruitment Drive Goes Quite Wrong

NSA college recruitmentWhen the National Security Agency visited the University of Wisconsin last week to recruit language students to be the next generation of intelligence workers, events didn't go smoothly as planned. Journalist Madiha Tahir, currently taking a language course at the university, posted an audio recording of the NSA officials' presentation to the student body going off the rails, as she and others tear the presenters to pieces with questions about Edward Snowden, the legality and ethics of their work, and if being a good liar is an asset for getting a job at the NSA. She has also posted a rough transcript on her blog. Her comment that sums up the whole debacle: "I'm just surprised that for language analysts, you're incredibly imprecise with your language. And it just doesn't seem to be clear."
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Booz Allen Hamilton’s Push Into Online Education

boozallenBooz Allen Hamilton… partnering with your school? Occupy Education Press writes:

In the wake of former Booz Allen employee Edward Snowden’s revelation about the NSA’s massive surveillance scheme, I’ve started to wonder what else this strange company has been up to. A lot, it turns out.

Partnering with institutions like Farleigh Dickinson University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton @ Work program, Booz Allen has apparently been a major force in the shove towards internet-based education. This is particularly significant when we take into account that they’ve also worked alongside the NSA to monitor and record virtually all communications and exchanges over the net and our phones.

I’ll leave you with this quote from a Booz Allen position paper on “Effectiveness and Efficiency: Reimagining Government,” which makes clear how Booz Allen sees online education as a strategic surveillance tool and the current climate of budget cuts as the perfect time to prey:

The aging workforce and record budget deficits require an end to business as usual…a window of opportunity to enact transformative change.

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Texas To Allow Students To Bring Guns To College Campuses

guns on college campusesGuns: is there anything they can’t solve? KHOU Houston reports:

The Texas Legislature has approved a bill allowing students with proper licenses to keep guns in their cars on college campuses.

The House and Senate previously passed the proposal by Republican Senator Glenn Hegary. Both chambers on Sunday then approved a version reconciled in conference committee, sending it to Gov. Rick Perry’s desk to be signed into law.

The measure sparked some debate in the Senate and passed only after Democrats received assurances it wouldn’t be expanded to allow carrying guns on campus. House approval was easier.

Under current law, universities can post a sign prohibiting guns like any private property owner. But the approved measure overrides that.

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Virginia University Offers Course On Communicating With The Dead

Would you dare tamper with other realms in return for three credits? From Roanoke’s WDBJ7:

Radford University students are taking part in an independent study course that’s quite different – learning about the afterlife by reaching out to the dead.

There is a bedroom on campus that has been converted into a chamber, where students have been calling up the dead, for class credit. It’s almost always dark inside, with black drapes. Two large black sheets hang from the ceiling, and a lamp is on the floor.

“For people who are coming in here they are using an ancient ecstatic teaching that’s been used in ancient Greece and elsewhere to contact the dead,” Susan Kwilescki, a professor of religious studies.

Students built the chamber, which they call the psychomanteum, on the cheap. Ran Waide, a junior who helped build it, says the chamber works: “I’ve had a ghost encounter in here.”

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No Students Move Into University Of Colorado’s Guns-Allowed Dorms

Gun-friendly dorms were established following a ruling by the state supreme court that the university cannot outright ban concealed weapons. Bizarrely, no proud 2nd Amendment supporters have moved in, the Denver Post reports:

Since the University of Colorado’s Boulder and Colorado Springs campuses began segregating dorms for students with valid concealed-carry permits this year, not a single student has asked to live where guns are allowed.

On Aug. 16, CU announced that both campuses would establish a residential area for students over age 21 with a permit to hold a concealed handgun. In all other dormitories, guns are banned. “So far, no one has moved,” CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.

The concealed-carry issue was forced back into the spotlight this month when a staff member with a concealed-carry permit at the School of Dental Medicine on the Anschutz Medical campus accidentally shot a co-worker while showing her gun.

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Are American College Students The Coal Miners Of Today?

Via Counterpunch, Darwin Bond-Graham argues that students are positioned at a “choke point” in the debt economy:

Now that we know the debt situation is untenable for an entire generation, what are we going to do about it? UC Santa Cruz professor Bob Meister is advocating the university and the plight of the student as a starting point for a wider movement against debt. Historically students have been galvanizers, taking direct action at seemingly impossible moments. Will they do it now?

Meister compared the students of today to the coal miners of early industrial capitalism. Under that regime of production, coal miners had the power to shut down the economy because they labored away at the site of a singular choke point of value extraction upon which all the spinning looms and colonial plantations depended. Students now occupy a choke point, according to Meister. Student loans are assets in the books of banks and the personal fortunes of the wealthy 1%, used to leverage up debts throughout all other sectors of the economy, debts that penetrate into the social collective and reinforce financial servitude for the masses.

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Street Politics And The Quebec Student Movement

A short dissection of the great success recently achieved by the student protest movement in Quebec:
For over 4 months, students and their allies, took over the streets of Montreal every day, to protest a tuition hike imposed by the liberal party in Quebec. On September 21st, the newly elected Premier of Quebec scrapped the tuition hike and repealed a controversial law that effectively banned public demonstrations. While this is being touted as a victory by many in the student movement, one element that made this success possible is already being overshadowed. How the the movement's militant street politics transformed the student strike from a single issue campaign to an uncompromising social insurrection.
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