Monday, March 07, 2016

US to investigate racial allegations at "Boston Latin" High School

Boston Latin School is an academically selective school so there are few blacks there and they no doubt feel out of place there. So a few of them are squalling about "racism", generally on very slim grounds. An extensive enquiry failed to find anything much to the accusations but that was the "wrong" finding.  Work must go on until the allegations are upheld

US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said Wednesday that she has agreed to investigate allegations of racism at Boston Latin School at the request of several community groups, promising a thorough outside inquiry into accusations of harassment and discrimination at the elite school.

There is no timeline for the review, which will look for both criminal and civil violations of the Civil Rights Act, according to Ortiz’s office.

“We will conduct a thorough investigation into the recent complaints about racism at BLS and will go where the facts lead us,” Ortiz said in a statement.

The request for a federal inquiry came from eight civil rights and community organizations that, in a five-page complaint filed Friday, raised concerns about racial harassment and argued that a recent school department review into the racial climate at the school did not go far enough.

“We really need an independent third party like the US attorney to make sure that what happened did violate or didn’t violate [the students’ rights],” Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, said Wednesday.

Ortiz’s decision to investigate “speaks to how disturbing the incidents have been,” he said.

Among the matters raised in the five-page complaint: Parents of current and former Boston Latin students raised concerns about the “disparate discipline and suspension of black students compared with their similarly situated non-black counterparts.” The complaint also cited an alleged incident in which a teacher “greeted a black student by using the ‘n-word.’ ” The complaint said the incident was not investigated by school officials.

Allegations of widespread racism at the school were first brought to light in a YouTube video posted by two Boston Latin studentson Martin Luther King Jr. day in January. The students, Meggie Noel and Kylie Webster-Cazeau, who launched the #BlackAtBls social media campaign, did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation Wednesday.

Members of an informal group of hundreds of current and former Latin School parents who have come together to support BLS headmaster Lynne Mooney Teta said in a statement that they support the federal inquiry.

“We are confident in Attorney Ortiz’s ability to go ‘where the facts lead’,” the statement says. “We are anxious for the process to be brought to a conclusion in a timely manner so we in the community can move forward.”

Ortiz said that the investigation into Boston Latin will be carried out by a recently formed Civil Rights Unit in her office that has the authority to investigate charges of racism under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion in public schools and colleges and universities.

If the US attorney’s investigation turns up criminal wrongdoing, charges could be filed. But if civil violations are uncovered, the office could require remedies to force Boston Latin to reform its standards and procedures. The school, for instance, could be forced to retrain staff and comply with regular Justice Department reviews. If the school disagrees with the proposed remedies, prosecutors could seek a court order.

For example, the US Department of Justice has recently sued the city of Ferguson, Mo., where civil unrest after the shooting of a black man by police in 2014 led to protests, to compel the city to make changes in its police department and courts.

Christina Diorio-Sterling, a spokeswoman for Ortiz, said that the US attorney’s office has not set a deadline for the BLS investigation and will work until a “thorough review” is completed.

Jack W. Pirozzolo, the former first assistant US attorney in Massachusetts, and now a partner at the Sidley Austin law firm, said becausethe local Civil Rights Unit in Boston is new, he expects Ortiz’s office will consult with officials in Washington, D.C., before making final decisions.

As in any federal investigation, Ortiz would have to find sufficient evidence to substantiate any civil or criminal violations.

Pirozzolo said that there is no threshold to launch an investigation, and Ortiz’s decision to look into the matter is completely discretionary.

“If there are sufficient facts for her to believe it’s appropriate to investigate, she has the discretion to start that investigation,” Pirozzolo said.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Superintendent Tommy Chang have “pledged their full cooperation in this investigation,” according to Ortiz.

Walsh and Chang released a joint statement Wednesday saying they are “happy to be fully cooperative” and that they will continue to pursue their own investigation.

“It is always our top priority that all schools provide respectful and accepting learning environments and we welcome working in collaboration to reach a positive outcome for the kids,” the statement said.

But Darnell L. Williams, president of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, said the investigation is much needed, saying reports of discrimination have been widespread.

He said officials should acknowledge there’s a problem.

“We’ve got to fix this thing,” he said. “We have to own up to it and [acknowledge] that it does exist.”


The Leftist Fascists Take Over College Campuses

Ben Shapiro

Last Thursday, all hell broke loose at California State University Los Angeles. Hundreds of students gathered to chant slogans, block entrances and exits to the student union auditorium, rough up those who wished to enter, pull the fire alarm, and trap other students inside that auditorium under threat of violence. Police officers stood aside and allowed that mob to violate basic safety protocols, reportedly at the behest of the school administration.

Why? Because I was coming to speak.

I had been scheduled to speak at Cal State Los Angeles for weeks. Young America's Foundation had organized the Fred R. Allen Lecture Series; CSULA represented the kickoff event. Student activists worked hard to publicize the event. Two separate radical professors at the university objected publicly to it, with one challenging "white supremacist" students to wrestle him, and another asking on Facebook, "I say this event is a problem...What we go'n do y'all?!?!"

Then, the Monday before the big conflagration, the president of the university, William Covino, summarily canceled my speech. "After careful consideration, I have decided that it will be best for our campus community if we reschedule Ben Shapiro's appearance for a later date, so that we can arrange for him to appear as part of a group of speakers with differing viewpoints on diversity. Such an event will better represent our university's dedication to the free exchange of ideas and the value of considering multiple viewpoints," Covino stated in Orwellian fashion.

I told Covino to stick it — this was viewpoint discrimination, and I would show up anyway.

After days of silence, Covino must have determined that he didn't want to risk the legal consequences of barring me, so just two hours before the event, he backed down, adding, "I strongly disagree with Mr. Shapiro's views."

By the time we reached campus, the near-riot had begun. I had to be ushered through a back door by armed security as well as uniformed police. Helicopters circled the area; news trucks parked along the street. The room in which I was slated to speak was nearly empty, because the student protesters had blocked all the doors and were pushing around anyone who wanted to enter. One reporter was assaulted three times; one of the people who wanted to attend my speech was pushed to the ground and kicked. Police smuggled the students in four at a time through the back door until students blocked that door, too. Halfway through my speech, the fire alarm went off. I spoke through it.

When the speech ended, I asked security if I, along with the other students, could go out to confront the protesters. The campus police told me they couldn't guarantee my safety or that of any of those listening to me if we chose to walk outside. Instead, they'd have to spirit me away through a separate building with a large coterie of armed and uniformed police, stuff me into the back of a van, and then escort me from campus with motorcycles flashing their lights.

This is America in 2016, on a state-funded university campus.

And it shouldn't be surprising.

We have spent two generations turning college campuses from places to learn job skills to places to indoctrinate leftism and inculcate an intolerant view of the world that insists on silencing opposition. We have made campuses a fascist "safe space" on behalf of the left. Anyone who disagrees must be shut down, or threatened or hurt.

It's not just college campuses, either. We've entered an era of politics in which baseless feelings count more than facts, in which political correctness means firing those with different viewpoints, in which government actors insist that they can police negative thoughts. We're on the edge of freedom's end, and many Americans don't even see it.

They would have had they been at CSULA that day. And they will soon enough if they don't stand up for their rights today.


31% of U.S. Govt Assets Are Student Loans

Late last week, the U.S. Treasury Department released its annual financial report for the U.S. Government. The document calculates the government’s total number of assets and liabilities. Unsurprisingly, the report offered another grim picture of the nation’s fiscal health.

Tucked away in the report, however, was a surprising fact. Student loans now make up 37 percent of the total assets of the U.S. government. In some ways, a major business of the U.S. government now is getting students to take out loans to pay for college.

The total value of assets held by the federal government is $3.2 trillion. The government’s assets include its cash, gold reserves, property, and the value of land, equipment, and inventories. The lion’s share of the government’s assets, though, is the value of loans it has issued. The total value of government-issued loans is over $1.2 trillion, almost 40 percent of its total assets.

By far the largest loan program run by the feds is the student loan program. Last year, the federal government held as assets almost $1.1 trillion in student loans. This is up almost 10 percent from 2014. The federal government earned almost $1 billion on these loans last year.

Without the student loan portfolio, the government’s financial statements would be even more grim. As it stands now, the government’s “net worth,” i.e. assets minus liabilities, is -$18 trillion. The government’s overall net position has dropped by 12 percent in just the last two years. Without the student loan portfolio, though, the government’s net position would be closer to -$20 trillion.

This is important because the federal take-over of student loans only happened in 2010. Until that year, student loans were issued by commercial banks to students, with the federal government providing a number of loan-guarantees and direct aid through a variety of programs.

As part of the ObamaCare legislation, however, Congress voted to eliminate the private student loan market and have the government completely take over student loans.

The sweeping move received little attention at the time, as the political debate was consumed by the healthcare overhaul. The student loan takeover was simply tucked into the 2,000+ page legislation that enacted ObamaCare.

It is important to remember, however, that there is no cabal of private lenders or banks taking advantage of college students. It is the federal government itself that is in the business of providing student loans. The only involvement of private banks is under contract with the federal government to service or manage the loans.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders employ rhetoric on the issue of college loans as if there is some mysterious and pernicious third party taking advantage of students struggling to pay for college. This is balderdash.

The federal government is the sole provider of student loans for college.


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