Friday, November 07, 2014

Patriarchy blamed for fake African American studies classes

Crap courses blamed on everyone but those responsible

Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill blamed racism and heteropatriarchal capitalism for the recent academic scandal that has plagued the university.

Gathering Wednesday afternoon, members of the Real Silent Sam coalition gathered to share their response to the recently released “Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,” which found that certain classes in the former African and Afro-American Department were created simply to keep athletes grade-eligible.

"I think that, intentional or not, words have a lot of power and the language and proceedings of this investigation have shown that we don’t value athletes and we don’t value black studies."   

“In this space, we will not bend to the will of oppression! We will lift our voices to the administration and the world. We will reclaim our space in higher education. This is your space!” UNC senior Taylor Webber-Fields said to the crowd gathered on the front steps of one of the administrative buildings.

The Real Silent Sam is a coalition of UNC students, faculty, and community members who aim to “create honest dialogue” about Chapel Hill monuments and buildings, according to the group’s description.

On Wednesday, however, the coalition’s mission was more about the structure of the university as it rallied to “reveal ways in which our university participates in the ‘American’ system of white supremacist, heteropatriarchal capitalism and brings our understanding of what it means to be a Tar Heel into question,” according to the group’s Facebook page.

“The way that the media corrupted what happened in this space was informed by the way that blackness is understood here,” Omololu Babatunde, a UNC senior who spoke at the rally, told Campus Reform. “Society, which is reflected in the media, understands blackness in such a discredited way that it’s able to corrupt something that is much broader than one site.”

The Wainstein report, released last Wednesday, found that some classes in the former African and Afro-American Department (AFAM)—now the African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD) department—did not meet and only required one paper graded by an administrator. The classes were created by two individuals in the department in order to keep athletes grade-eligible, though other students reportedly enrolled as well.

Students and faculty at the event said they felt as though the former AFAM department was scapegoated because society does not value African-American studies.

“I guess what motivated me was my raw emotions when I first heard about the scandal,” Babatunde said. “I was angry…. It’s happening because our society doesn’t understand and doesn’t value black studies so much so that it can be scapegoated. I was motivated to do this because of my deep, deep gratitude to many people in the department and my deep gratitude to this space that shows the existence of black studies.”

Harmonyx, a student A Cappella group, and EROT Poetry, which are both part of the UNC Black Student Movement, performed pieces at the rally before students and faculty took to the podium to express their frustrations.

Tasia Harris, a UNC student who spoke at the rally, told Campus Reform that she came to the event not because she is majoring in the department or because she is an athlete, but rather because she hopes to encourage the university and the community to be more honest in realizing how oppression is maintained and what they can do to combat that.

“I think that, intentional or not, words have a lot of power and the language and proceedings of this investigation have shown that we don’t value athletes and we don’t value black studies,” she said.

The students said that they were outraged at the way in which the department was attacked while top administrators and coaches were not implicated in the report even though they would be the ones who have more contact with the athletes.

Approximately 200 students came and went during the entirety of the event.


District Finally Agrees To Stop Using ‘Purple Penguin’ Handouts

The superintendent had previously doubled down on using the materials

After nearly a month of defending them, Lincoln Public Schools District in Nebraska has finally agreed to stop using the infamous “purple penguin” transgender training handouts.

At Tuesday’s Lincoln Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Steve Joel conceded that the handouts were not “appropriate, purposeful” or “clear,” and that he “directed them to be removed” from the district’s schools, according to an article in the Lincoln Journal Star.

The announcement came after 16 people commented that they felt their concerns about the matter were not heard when they initially raised them at the October 14 board meeting.

Joel had initially defended the handouts, saying he was “happy” and “pleased” with them — even amid the controversy.

As reported by National Review Online earlier this month, a training document given to middle-school teachers at Lincoln Public Schools stated, “Don’t use phrases such as ‘boys and girls,’ ‘you guys,’ ‘ladies and gentlemen,’ and similarly gendered expressions to get kids’ attention,” and suggests using classroom names such as “purple penguins” instead.


Hillary Tells College Students: High School Dropouts Part of ‘Our Web of Responsibility’

Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told students at Georgetown University on Thursday that they should believe in not only their own potential but of those who may not have a high school diploma who are part of “our web of responsibility.”

Clinton told the students that she and former President Bill Clinton always believed in “an unlimited potential out there.”

“And that’s what I want you to believe,” Clinton said. “But not just you.

“People your age, not very far from here,” Clinton said. “Maybe didn’t finish high school. Maybe are in the workforce.”

“Could not dream of being in this magnificent Gaston Hall,” Clinton said, referencing the historic college’s ornate meeting hall. “But who are part of our larger community; our web of responsibility.”

“We will do so much better if we remember that we should find a way to help everybody,” Clinton said.

Clinton spoke at the university to re-launch the International Women’s Business Leadership Council, which Clinton established in 2012 while secretary of state to focus on “economic empowerment” of women around the world.

The council is now part of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, which Clinton also created in 2011 during her tenure as Secretary of State as the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University, at which time she also announced the creation of the institute.

Bill Clinton earned his undergraduate degree at Georgetown, Hillary noted during her remarks.

“You’re getting great preparation here at Georgetown – one of the premiere places for your education,” Clinton said. “But you should not have to be someone who goes to Georgetown or in our case the granddaughter of a former president who also happened to go to Georgetown.”

“To be given the tools and to have the support of your community as well as your family,” Hillary said, adding that both she and the former president had “extraordinary opportunities” in their lifetimes.

“We will do so much better if we remember that we should find a way to help everybody,” Clinton said in her remarks. “And this council is looking specifically at how we help girls and women to fulfill their own economic potential.”


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