Wednesday, May 23, 2018

4-to-1: Liberals Outnumber Conservatives as Commencement Speakers

Liberals outnumber conservatives by a margin of nearly four-to-one among 2018 commencement speakers at 50 of the nation’s largest public and private colleges.

According to the Campus Reform report, “Campus Reform identified 37 speakers with demonstrably liberal leanings, compared to just 10 verified conservatives.” Meanwhile, “[o]nly four speakers” are political moderates – two of which were invited to speak at the same ceremony at the University of Georgia.

“The list of liberals includes several major names, including Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Cory Booker,” noted Campus Reform. “The conservative speakers, meanwhile, are mainly state-level elected officials.”

Notably, “[c]onservative darling Liberty University” invited former President Jimmy Carter, “perhaps the most prominent liberal on the list,” according to Campus Reform,  to speak at their commencement, while universities with traditionally liberal leanings, “such as New York University, the University of Maryland, and Florida International University, stayed within their comfort zones by selecting uniformly left-leaning speakers.”

New York University invited Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; University of Maryland, College Park invited Al Gore; and Florida International University invited Moishe Mana, Nelson Adams, Rose Ellen Meyerhoff Greene, and Shaun Budnik.

The 10 conservative speakers include Former Speaker of the Florida House Steve Crisafulli, CEO of Times Publishing Company Paul Tash, Professor David L. Denlinger, Senior VP of Penn State Health Judy E. Himes, Texas State Supreme Court Justice James Blacklock, Founder and CEO of the 4R Restaurant Group John Rivers, Former Indiana Governor and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, Speaker of the Texas House Joe Strauss and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

A full listing of the commencement speakers at 50 of the nation’s largest public and private colleges can be found on Campus Reform’s website


Black people in UK 21 times more likely to have university applications investigated, figures show
Very few blacks have the secondary school achievement level to justify University entrance, so applications that fly in the face of that must generate suspicion

Black students seeking a place at university are 21 times more likely to have their applications investigated for suspected false or missing information than their white counterparts, The Independent can reveal.

The data, from the Ucas admissions service, has prompted accusations from Labour of “institutional racism” in the higher education system and demands for urgent action to stamp out “racial profiling”.

Ucas said it is “extremely concerned” by the figures, released under freedom of information rules, and has launched an investigation. 

The data shows that 419 black British applicants to undergraduate courses last September were highlighted as a cause for concern, compared to 181 white British applicants, despite there being far fewer black applicants.

Figures show there were 42,580 black applicants, meaning that one in every 102 applications was investigated.

During the same period, there were 388,465 white British applicants, meaning just one in every 2,146 applications triggered further interrogation.

Ucas has insisted ethnicity is not taken into account during the screening of applications – even though prospective students declare their ethnicity in the forms they submit.

The figures come at a time when black students’ experiences of the higher education system have been in the spotlight.

Labour MP David Lammy revealed last year that 13 Oxford university colleges failed to make a single offer to black A-level applicants over a six-year period.

There have also been a number of recent reports of racist incidents at universities. Last month, two 18-year-old males were arrested after a Nottingham Trent University student posted video footage of racist chants in her student halls. A black student captured two males chanting “We hate the blacks” outside her bedroom door.

Members of a student law society at the University of Exeter were suspended after private WhatsApp conversations containing racist comments were shared on social media.

And earlier this month, Sheffield Hallam University launched an investigation after a rotten banana was reportedly thrown at a black graduate student during an ice hockey match.

On the latest figures, Mr Lammy, the former Labour higher education minister, said: “Questions clearly have to be asked about what is behind this disproportionality within the Ucas verification system, and why applications made by black students are more likely to be flagged and investigated.

“The evidence suggests that unconscious bias may well be a factor.”

Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary, said: “This shocking practice highlights just how pervasive institutional racism is across the higher education sector. Ucas has been completely unable to justify this discriminatory practice.

“Ucas must urgently investigate this and make clear what steps will be taken to end the racial profiling of students.”

Fraud and similarity detection software, as well as input from universities, are used when deciding whether an application needs investigating. The process looks out for a variety of things – including fake qualifications, plagiarised personal statements and inaccurate information.

Since the findings have come to light Ucas has said it will publish data, showing the gender and race of applicants flagged, to the public annually – with the first figures expected next month.

The total number of applications cancelled after investigation is small. But these figures do not take into account applications that have been withdrawn by the prospective student themselves.

One prospective black student told The Independent that he decided to pull out of the application process after he found Ucas’s investigation to be “intimidating”.

Samuel Babarinde, who had his application flagged by Ucas during this academic year, said: “I have been very emotionally distressed by this whole process. I felt I had been singled out.

“It felt like I was already guilty before being found guilty. It was intimidating and frustrating.”


Australia: Elsternwick Primary School in Victoria fenced off an old  tractor in the playground as a health and safety risk to children

A school has caused outrage by banning children from a playground tractor. Elsternwick Primary School in Victoria fenced off the tractor because it was deemed 'too dangerous' and posed a health and safety risk to children.

One father Glenn Riseley protested by posting a picture of his son playing on the tractor to Facebook. He wrote: 'Just asked my son why there's a fence around this old playground tractor? 'Apparently some bureaucrats with cardigans and clipboards and diplomas in clipboard management did a 'safety audit' and deemed it too risky... so it has to be removed.

He added: 'It seems the biggest risks to children these days are lack of physical activity, excessive screen time, poor nutrition and an alarming epidemic of type 2 diabetes, online bullying and mental health issues. None of which are connected to cemented in old red tractors.'

Commenters on his post agreed. One wrote: 'World gone made' while another said: 'Growing up on a farm and riding in dad's rusty Bedford truck was the highlight of my childhood.'

Mr Riseley told Daily Mail Australia: 'The lad on the tractor is Oscar. He’s four years old. He starts at Elsternwick primary school next year. His older brother is already there. Sadly the tractor won’t be when he starts.

'It's not the school's fault - Some overpaid public servants with too much time on their hands I suspect.'


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