Monday, January 25, 2016

Amherst College trustees to decide Lord Jeff’s fate

Field Marshal Jeffrey Amherst is no longer around to care about how modern hysterics use his name but he earned great honor in his lifetime so perhaps that is all that matters.

I am waiting for a movement to arise among the Leftist hysterics to rename places named after another military hero.   George Washington owned many slaves whom he often treated harshly.  He also had a child with one.  It is true that in his will he ordered the manumission of some of the slaves but contemporary accounts suggested that this was to keep his wife safe after he was gone.  She was afraid of a slave uprising leading to her death.  General Amherst is a saint by comparison.  Perhaps Washingon DC should become MLK DC

I shouldn't make these prophecies.  What I say in jest too often comes true

Lord Jeff’s tenure as the unofficial mascot of Amherst College may be drawing to a close.  The college’s board of trustees is expected to decide Friday whether the longtime mascot, which has drawn ire as a symbol of colonial imperialism, should be removed.

The board will announce its decision at some point after the meeting concludes Friday evening, a college spokeswoman said Thursday.

Amherst does not have an official mascot, but the figure of Lord Jeff, who wears a red coat and powdered wig, has long stood as an unofficial symbol, and the school’s sports teams are often referred to as the Jeffs.

Lord Jeffery Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War in the 18th century, endorsed giving blankets carrying the smallpox virus to Native Americans.

In November, a group of faculty voted to drop the symbol, and a group of students called on the college’s president to condemn the "inherent racist nature" of the mascot.

In a poll of students at the private liberal arts college conducted in November, 83 percent said Lord Jeff should be removed as the mascot.

In an alumni survey, opinion was evenly divided. One-third said Lord Jeff should remain as mascot, one-third said it should be removed, and one-third indicated that it didn’t matter much to them.

On its website, the college acknowledges that Jeffrey Amherst advocated biological warfare against Indians, but says "there is no evidence that any infected blankets were distributed at his command."

In the summer of 1763, when attacks by Native Americans were threatening British control, Amherst wrote in a letter to a colonel, "Could it not be contrived to send the Small Pox among those disaffected tribes of Indians?"

In a later letter, Amherst writes: "You will do well to try to inoculate the Indians by means of blankets, as well as to try every other method that can serve to extirpate this execrable race."

The protests come amid growing opposition to mascots some Native Americans find offensive, such as the Washington Redskins.

Amherst College is considered one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country.

Notable graduates include President Calvin Coolidge, former US Supreme Court chief justice Harlan Fiske Stone, and author David Foster Wallace.


Fight to find cheats takes schools around the world

Agencies seek to root out widespread fraud in China

BEIJING — A video camera and two plastic chairs sit in a tiny room on the city’s west side, the latest weapons in a global battle against the wave of admissions fraud striking US schools.

College-bound Chinese students come here to InitialView, one of several such companies operating in the country, to film a video interview and prove their speaking abilities match their applications.

As a record number of Chinese students stream into American universities, verification companies like this one have sprouted up to help combat doctored transcripts, falsified essays, and surrogate test-takers. They vie against another set of Chinese companies, which turn out false applications and seek to profit off the frenzy for a US degree.

The issue has intensified as China’s expanding middle class has sought prestige through American colleges — with Boston a prime destination — and schools seek to capitalize on full-paying foreign students to bolster budgets. It ripples through US campuses, where professors complain unqualified students slow down classes and hard-working Chinese students feel stigmatized.

Inundated admissions officers are taking measures to catch fraud, but with millions of dollars at stake, few schools are attempting the overhauls needed to make a sizable difference.

"Ultimately, the buck stops with US institutions," said Eddie West, director of international initiatives for the National Association for College Admission Counseling. "There’s a reason why you see the success of these verification agencies. That’s a manifestation of the problem."

Students from all over the world, including America, have fudged essays, hired advisers, or found themselves in trouble for looking at another student’s answers. But, as the largest group of foreign students in the United States, the Chinese stand out.

More than 300,000 Chinese students studied at American colleges last school year, according to the Institute of International Education, a nearly 11 percent increase from the year before. Among the 55,000 foreign college students in Massachusetts, a third are Chinese.

Justice Department officials in May charged 15 Chinese, including a Northeastern University student, in a testing scheme in which some students paid others as much as $6,000 each to take their SAT and English proficiency tests. Students in China ordered fake passports and sent them to co-conspirators in Pennsylvania, who took their exams.

The College Board, which administers the SAT, delayed numerous scores from four of the seven times the test was administered in Asia in the past year while they investigated cheating suspicions.

The College Board, as well as the company that administers the English proficiency test, take various measures to curb fraud, such as keeping SAT booklets in locked boxes until test day, when codes are texted to test administrators.

Cheating "has been going on for a while," said Stacy Caldwell, the College Board vice president for college readiness assessments. "Certainly as we’ve continued to rapidly grow our international business, the number of issues that we’ve seen internationally has certainly grown along with that.

"We do our absolute best to run down any cases of [fraud] that we find," Caldwell added.

Students attending Chinese colleges face expulsion and even jail time for cheating on their country’s rigorous entrance exam, known as the gaokao. No such rules exist for tests to study abroad.

"I don’t know how a US admissions officer at this stage can know [about] a score they receive from China," said Robert Schaeffer, public education director for FairTest, an advocacy group that campaigns for testing reform. "The cheating is so widespread."

The result shows up in the classroom, where some students struggle to understand or bend the rules to pass classes. More than 8,000 Chinese students were expelled from US universities in 2014, according to a report by WholeRen Education, a Pittsburgh-based education consultancy. Around 80 percent of the cases involved poor grades or cheating.

Admissions fraud takes many forms, from faking a recommendation to paying more than $10,000 for someone to complete an entire application. Schools, especially in college-heavy Boston, admit they struggle to tell the difference.

"Do I think there are students at Tufts who have embellished their applications, in some way misrepresented themselves? Sure," said Jennifer Simons, the university’s director of international recruitment. "But I hope that there’s no one on this campus that has really cheated."

Simons, like many admissions officers, can recite a slew of suspicious application stories. She recently looked over an essay a student wrote about his girlfriend and noticed the cadence sounded odd. When she plugged a passage into Google, she discovered the paragraph was a translated Korean pop song. That student didn’t receive an acceptance letter.


British cab driver suspended and banned from taking children to school after he was reported for kissing and hugging his own DAUGHTERS

A taxi driver was banned from taking children to school after he was reported for kissing and hugging his two young daughters.

Tony Kemp, 60, from Kirkbymoorside was suspended from the school run for six days by North Yorkshire County Council after they said an allegation had been made against him.

The council refused to tell him why he was suspended, but a colleague told him he had been seen kissing and cuddling two girls outside a school - which he then realised were his daughters, who are nine and 11.

Once officials realised the error, Mr Kemp was reinstated, but he is furious at how he was treated by the council and 'devastated' that the accusation was made.

He says he can not understand why he was not told what the allegation was, and why he was not interviewed as a matter of urgency - which would have given him the opportunity to explain what had really happened. 

'The past six days have been the worst of my life since my father died 35 years ago,' said Mr Kemp, who runs Crystal Cars in Pickering.  'I'm personally devastated at the allegation aimed at me.

'I've also lost hundreds of pounds worth of business but even worse than that is that my good reputation, which I have built up over the past twelve years, has been shattered.

'I'm worried about reprisals from people who think I go round kissing schoolchildren.'

Mr Kemp's ordeal, which he described as a 'living nightmare', began last week when he was telephoned by a council official and told he was being suspended from the school run with immediate effect.

He was told that an allegation had been made against him but he could be given no more details.

An acquaintance in the taxi trade then told him that it was well known in the Pickering and Malton areas of North Yorkshire that a driver had been suspended after someone had reported seeing him kissing and cuddling two girls outside Pickering Junior School.

'That's when the penny dropped,' said Mr Kemp.  He added: 'I take children to the school from villages up on the Moors but it wasn't them I was hugging and kissing, it was my own daughters, who are aged nine and eleven and are taken to the school each day by their mother from their home in Malton.

'We have unfortunately separated and I live in Kirkbymoorside, but they always look out for me and run up for a hug and a kiss when they see me arrive.'

Mr Kemp believes a passer-by had seen his greet his children, misinterpreted what was happening and contacted the authorities to raise their concerns.

He was reinstated after he was formally interviewed by the council, and the charge was dropped.

A North Yorkshire council spokesman said: 'We have followed the Child Protection Procedures. This matter has now been investigated and found to be false.'


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