Monday, June 08, 2015

Desperate Ivies

"Diversity" at all costs.  A reasonably qualified Hispanic is like gold

A HIGH school senior in southern California has achieved a surprising academic clean sweep — he has been accepted to every Ivy League school.  Seventeen-year-old Fernando Rojas, the son of Mexican immigrants whose schooling stopped in the eighth grade, is planning on attending Yale University.

The national speech and debate champion from Fullerton High School tells The Orange County Register in Saturday’s editions that he applied to all the elite schools hoping he might be accepted to one. But they all wanted him.

The Ivy League is a group of eight private universities in the United States, famed for their academic excellence, selecitivty in admissions and social elitism. They are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Cornell, Columbia, Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania.

He tells the newspaper he was “excited and scared” after realising he would have to choose among them.

Rojas attributes his success to hard work and guidance from his siblings.

His debate coach at Fullerton, Sal Tinajero, says Rojas’ biggest motivation was letting his parents know that their hard work meant something.


Cultural Cleansing of Christian Males

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As a Jesuit university forgets its faith, the culture war against Christianity is picking up speed

Last week came word Saint Louis University will remove a heroic-sized statue of Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet S.J. from the front of Fusz Hall, where it has stood for 60 years.

The statue depicts Fr. De Smet holding aloft a crucifix as he ministers to two American Indians, one of whom is kneeling.

Historically, the statue is accurate. Fr. De Smet, "Blackrobe," as he was known, was a 19th-century missionary to Indian tribes who converted thousands. A friend of Sitting Bull, he spent his last years in St. Louis.

And as the mission of this Jesuit university is, presumably, to instruct the Catholic young in their faith and send them out into the world to bring the good news of Jesus Christ as Lord and savior to nonbelievers, what exactly is the problem here?

According to SLU Assistant Vice President for Communications Clayton Berry, "some faculty and staff ... raised questions about whether the sculpture is culturally sensitive." Senior Ryan McKinley is more specific: "The statue of De Smet depicts a history of colonialism, imperialism, racism and of Christian and white supremacy."

But if the founder of Christianity is the Son of God, then Christianity is a superior religion. What Ryan and those faculty and staff seem to be ashamed of, uncomfortable with, or unable to defend, is the truth for which Saint Louis University was supposed to stand.

But simply because they are cowardly, or politically correct, why should that statue be going into the SLU art museum? Why should not they themselves depart for another institution where their sensitivities will not be assaulted by artistic expressions of religious truths?

The message the SLU president should have given the dissenters is simple: We are a Catholic university that welcomes students and faculty not of the faith. But if you find our identity objectionable, then go somewhere else. We are not changing who we are.

Yet another missionary to the Indians is now becoming a figure of controversy. On his September visit to Washington, D.C., Pope Francis plans to canonize Fr. Junipero Serra, the Spanish Franciscan whom John Paul II beatified in 1988, who converted thousands of Indians in California in the 18th century, when it still belonged to Mexico.

Fr. Serra established nine missions up the coast, among them missions that would grow into San Diego, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Barbara and San Francisco.

Not only is Fr. Serra's name famous in California, his statue has stood since 1931 in the U.S. Capitol in one of two places set aside for the Golden State. The other statue representing California is that of President Ronald Reagan, unveiled in 2009, which replaced a statue of the preacher Thomas Starr King.

With the pope coming here to canonize Fr. Serra, the war drums have begun. It is said the priest accompanied Spanish soldiers who brutalized the Indians, and Fr. Serra helped to eradicate their religion and culture, replacing it with his own.

Now a move is afoot to remove Fr. Serra's statue.

According to the Religion New Service, "State Sen. Ricardo Lara, an openly gay Los Angeles Democrat, wants to replace a bronze statue of Serra with a monument honoring Sally Ride, the nation's first female astronaut. Lara said Ride would become 'the first member of the LGBT community' to be honored in Statuary Hall."

Another drive is underway by feminists to remove the visage of Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill and replace it with that of a woman, preferably a minority woman. Jackson, it is said, was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of the Cherokees in the Trail of Tears.

Yet, Jackson, slashed across the head by a British soldier in the last days of the Revolution for refusing to polish his boots, was also arguably the greatest soldier-statesman in American history.

Gen. Jackson led the 1815 defense of New Orleans against the British invasion force, and crushed the Indian marauders in Florida, drove out the Spanish governor, and cleared the path for annexation.

Twice elected president, Jackson is, with Jefferson, a father of the Democratic Party, and he and his proteges Sam Houston and James K. Polk virtually doubled the size of the United States.

One Internet poll advanced four leading candidates to replace Jackson: Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Wilma Mankiller and Harriet Tubman.

But when we look at who is currently on America's currency — George Washington on the $1 bill, Abe Lincoln on the $5, Hamilton on the $10, Jackson on the $20, Ulysses S. Grant on the $50, Ben Franklin on the $100 — do any of these women really compete in terms of historic achievement with what those great men accomplished?

Aren't we carrying this affirmative action business a bit too far?

What all these arguments are at bottom all about, however, is a deep divide among us over the question: Was the European Christian conquest of America, given its flaws and failings, on balance, a great and good thing. Or not?


UK students give their verdict on universities

A third would choose different course if given another chance as thousands say they are badly run and poor value for money

Students are becoming disillusioned with university because of disappointing courses and poor value for money, a study has found.

A third of undergraduates said they may have chosen a different course if they could start again, while more than 10 per cent said their university experience had been worse than expected.

Around one in three complained that their course has been poor value for money, with a third of these people describing value as ‘very poor’.

And three quarters of students said their university had ‘probably not’ or ‘definitely not’ provided enough information about how tuition fees are spent.

The findings come amid a growing debate over the £9,000 tuition fees imposed under the last government.

Some universities have advocated taking a new consumer-style, value-for-money approach given the large scale of debt saddling most graduates.

The figures are contained in the 2015 Student Academic Experience Survey by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

While more than 85 per cent of the 15,000 undergraduates surveyed said they were generally satisfied with their courses, many expressed reservations.

Around 12 per cent said the reality of their academic experience had been worse than expected, while 49 per cent said it had been worse in some ways and better in others.

Interestingly, of the 61 per cent who had not had their expectations completely met, more than a third of the group partially blamed themselves.

When asked to list why their expectations had not been met, 36 per cent said they had not ‘put in enough effort’ – the most common reason.

Meanwhile, 32 per cent also said the course was poorly organised, 30 per cent said they had received fewer than expected contact hours and 29 per cent complained about quality of teaching and support.

Nick Hillman, director at HEPI, said: ‘The most striking new finding is that a whopping three-quarters of undergraduates want more information about where their fees go.

‘Providing this is coming to look like an inevitable consequence of relying so heavily on student loans. If it doesn’t happen soon, it could be forced on universities by policymakers.’

Professor Stephanie Marshall, chief executive at HEA, added: ‘It is important to note the relatively high numbers who do not feel supported in independent study.

‘We know that the skills developed through independent study are important to employers and to lifelong learning. Providing guidance and structure outside timetabled sessions is key here.’

While contact hours on their own have been shown not to be a good measure of the quality of learning, students with fewer scheduled hours are more likely to say they would have chosen another course.

Around 38 per cent of undergraduates receiving 0 to nine contact hours would change courses in comparison to 28 per cent for those on 30 or more contact hours.

Only 26 per cent of those with fewer contact hours feel they receive good or very good value for money compared to 56 per cent of those with more than 30 contact hours.

The results also suggested that undergraduates are less satisfied, less happy and have less of a sense that what they are doing is worthwhile than the general population.


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