Monday, August 15, 2016

The new apartheid: "voluntary segregation" for 'historically marginalized' students

A Massachusetts college allows students to reside in “identity-based” housing communities, provided they have a “unique social identity” that has “historically experienced oppression.”
Hampshire College asserts that the concept "arises from our commitment to fostering diverse, socially just, and inclusive communities.”

A Massachusetts college allows students to reside in “identity-based” housing communities, provided they have a “unique social identity” that has “historically experienced oppression.”

“These residential spaces give support to members of our community with social identities that have been historically marginalized in this country, and strive to counter systemic oppression,” Hampshire College explains on its website, adding that its promotion of such living arrangements “arises from our commitment to fostering diverse, socially just, and inclusive communities.”

An accompanying informational booklet further elaborates that “identity-based housing is an institutional structure designed to assist members of historically oppressed groups in supporting each other,” and “helps to create an added level of psychological comfort and safety for those who choose to live in those spaces, often providing the foundation for those students to be able to engage fully in the greater community.”

One section of the identity-based housing program consists of “permanent” mods, covering categories such as LGBTQQIAAP, Queer, Students of Color, and Women of Color. The “not-yet-permanent” mods include Marginalized Gender Identities, Asian Heritage, and Pan-Afrikan Diasporia [sic].

Students can also apply to establish new identity-based mods, though all such groups “must be unified by a social identity (such as race, culture, gender, or sexual orientation)” and “must currently experience or [have] historically experienced oppression within or outside the Hampshire community.”

Identity-based housing arrangements are part of Hampshire’s “intentional housing communities,” many of which are based on shared interests rather than demographic qualities, and all of which must hold two educational programs per semester related to their particular focus.

The Musician’s Mod, for instance, contains “a group of students who intend to create an inclusive, respectful, and encouraging environment for music lovers, creators, and listeners of all shapes and sizes.”

The Mindfulness Mod, meanwhile, fosters “a space where students support one another to be mindful and cultivate moment-by-moment, non-judgmental, focused attention and awareness.”

“Self-identified Womyn” can congregate at the Spiritual Womyn’s Mod, “a collective space to support and guide spiritual paths and encourage the mindful growth of the Hampshire community,” which advertises that “female and/or female self-identified continuing students [are] welcome to apply.”

Spokespersons for Hampshire College had not responded by press time to requests for comment from Campus Reform.


University of Texas Professors Sue Over Concealed Guns Allowed in Their Classrooms

Three professors are fighting a Texas law that allows students to carry concealed handguns in their college classrooms.

Senate Bill 11, allowing concealed handgun license holders 21 and older (or 18 if active military) to carry in campus buildings, was signed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, in June 2015. The law went into effect Aug. 1 this year.

Lawyers for Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore, and Mia Carter, all professors at the University of Texas at Austin, made their case to a federal judge last week.

The professors requested a preliminary injunction to block the new campus carry law and had filed suit on July 6 against the attorney general of Texas, Ken Paxton; the president of the University of Texas at Austin, Gregory Fenves; and members of the University of Texas Board of Regents.

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel made no ruling during the court hearing after lawyers for the professors and for the university struggled to agree on the university’s rules and policies on concealed weapons, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Instead, Yeakel requested more information to clarify university concealed weapon policies.

“Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,” the lawsuit says.

Paxton, the Republican Texas attorney general, called the professors’ lawsuit “frivolous.” “There is no legal justification to deny licensed, law-abiding citizens on campus the same measure of personal protection they are entitled to elsewhere in Texas,” Paxton said in statement.

Paxton filed a response with the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas Austin Division on Aug. 1 in opposition to the University of Texas professors’ request for preliminary injunction.

The professors “have no right under the First Amendment to violate the Second Amendment rights of students,” Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “And it is insulting to law-abiding gun owners—categorizing them as crazies who will kill someone over a debate in a classroom.”

A 1995 Texas law allows concealed handguns to be carried in public, including on the grounds of public college campuses, but previously excluded campus buildings, the Statesman reported.

Under the new law, public institutions of higher education cannot “generally” prohibit license holders from carrying concealed weapons, but are allowed to establish “rules, regulations, or other provisions” restricting guns from places like labs with dangerous chemicals and regarding the storage of handguns in residential dorm facilities.

Private colleges can opt out of the law. So far, almost all private institutions of higher education have decided to opt out, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Moore, one of the plaintiffs, who teaches English and gender studies, told NPR that “it’s impossible to do our jobs with this policy in place.” She continued:

We all teach subject matter that is quite sensitive, and we all use very participatory, you know, pedagogically sound methods of trying to teach students how to state their views on controversial subjects, challenge one another and stand up for what they believe in.

“I am genuinely not equipped to keep students safe from a firearm in my classroom,” Moore added.

Allison Peregory, a 21-year-old University of Texas pre-law student, plans to get a state-issued concealed weapon license and carry on her campus, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“It’s important for people to have their right to self-defense be protected,” Peregory said, according to the Morning News.

Aug. 1 marked the 50th anniversary of a mass shooting that took place at the University of Texas at Austin.

“It is quite ironic; they [the professors] are apparently unaware that private citizens, including students, helped police in 1966 stop Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower sniper, when they grabbed their guns and started firing at the sniper in the tower,” Heritage’s von Spakovsky said. “One of those Texans, Allen Crum, even climbed to the top of the tower with a rifle to assist the policeman who eventually killed Whitman.”

Brian Bensimon, Students for Concealed Carry’s director for the state of Texas, told The Daily Signal that the professors’ lawsuit is “perplexing.”  “Concealed carry is allowed in our state capitol,” Bensimon said. “There’s plenty of open debate and lively discourse there.”

Students for Concealed Carry is trying to block a University of Texas rule that allows professors to ban concealed weapons from their individual office space. The group filed a complaint with Paxton on Aug. 4.

“Gun control advocates think that gun bans will make people safer,” John R. Lott, a columnist for and author of “The War on Guns,” wrote in an op-ed. “But banning guns only ensures that law-abiding good citizens are disarmed, not the killers. Instead of bans improving safety, these bans attract killers and make it easier for them to commit crimes.”

Eight states—Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin—have provisions allowing concealed weapons to be carried by students on public higher education campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Eighteen states ban carrying concealed weapons on college campuses.


The top university degrees that could leave you jobless

Comment below from Australia but should be broadly true in the UK and USA too

THEY take a whole load of brainpower and several years of study, but a new report reveals a series of top science university degrees could leave you jobless.

Science and IT are the courses business people and politicians tell students to study, but they just might be blinding them with science.

Only half of those who graduated with science degrees in 2015 found fulltime employment within four months: 17 per cent below the average for all university graduates, the Grattan Institute’s Mapping Australian Higher Education 2016 report found.

They found it a struggle to find work when compared to fellow-students in other science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) disciplines.

And despite increasing demand for Stem skills, IT graduates also have patchy prospects in the job marks.

The findings have prompted a warning from one of the report’s authors, Andrew Norton, that extra courses might be needed to increase graduates’ job chances.

“Students thinking about studying science need to know that a bachelor science degree is high risk for finding a job,” he said.

“Often students need to do another degree to improve their employment prospects.”

The report added that while recent science graduates struggle early on in the jobs marker “things improve over time”.

“For 2011 bachelor degree science graduates, their fulltime employment rate four months later was 65 per cent, but three years later, in 2014, 82 per cent of those who were looking for fulltime work had found it,” the report notes.

“While this is a considerable increase, it is below the 89 per cent rate for all graduates.”

The early employment prospects fly in the face of the demand for science courses, which continues to grow. And the number of science graduates is up — with more than 15,500 graduating annually — 4000 a year more than in 2009.
Post-study employment slump: Graduates are often surprised to discover they don’t find a job quickly. Picture: iStock

Post-study employment slump: Graduates are often surprised to discover they don’t find a job quickly. Picture: iStockSource:istock

IT graduates also seem unable to take full advantage of job growth in the IT industry.

While there’s no shortage of IT jobs relative to the number of graduates, IT students still find the going tough initially — with a third of recent graduates unable to get fulltime work.

The report says that’s due to “weaknesses in IT university education, and strong competition from a globalised IT labour force”.

Engineering jobs are in decline, but new engineers have good job prospects compared to other graduates.

And overall, despite the slower moves from university to career, the report found unemployment rate for all graduates remains low.

Over their working lives, graduates on average earn significantly more than people who finish their education at Year 12. The median male with a bachelor degree will earn $1.4 million more over his lifetime compared to the median male with no higher education past Year 12. For women, the figure is just under $1 million.

Other findings in the report, which is based on unit record data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey were:

 *  For domestic students, humanities and commerce are still the most popular fields of study. Health and science enrolments have the fastest growth.

 *  Graduates with bachelor degrees in health, education and law had the highest rate of professional and managerial employment — all above 80 per cent.

 *  The most common average mark reported by students is between 70 and 79 per cent, with domestic students doing better than international students.


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