Tuesday, June 05, 2018

UK universities oppose boycotting Israeli academia

British universities oppose an academic boycott of Israel, according to a statement made last week by the head of the international arm of the University Association of Britain and the President of Exeter University, Sir Steve Smith.

During a meeting between representatives of British universities and the heads of universities in Israel, Smith emphasized to the heads of the latter the “commitment of the British Universities Union against any academic boycott with an emphasis on Israel and the importance of not allowing political or other issues to harm the cooperation between the institutions.”

The explicit resistance by Britain comes in the wake of several attempts to implement an academic boycott of Israel. Such calls were made by university heads and senior officials in the higher education system in Norway, Ireland and the United States, among others.

In addition to what he told the Israeli academic leaders personally, Smith also sent a written statement on the subject to the British Universities Union, which was approved in 2015, and which also strongly opposes an academic boycott of Israel.

"The British University Committee is committed to the free sharing of ideas between universities and in academia,” the statement said, “regardless of nationality and place. Therefore the committee strongly opposes an academic boycott on the grounds that it is hostile to academic freedom, including academic freedom to cooperate with one another."

It further stated that “the committee wishes to ratify its previous position regarding the boycott of Israeli universities."

Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter and the British Minister of Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Sam Gyimah published a joint statement emphasizing the importance of cooperation between the two countries.

"We welcome any statement condemning the phenomenon of an academic boycott of Israel," said Prof. Klafter, "and call upon the European university unions to adopt similar statements."

Last week, the Council for Higher Education approved the university's code of ethics, granting independence to Israeli academic institutions to apply it in accordance with their worldview. In this context, the most relevant section of the code is a ban on support by Israeli scholars and lecturers of academic boycotts of Israel.


College Students Freak Out After Accidentally Rejecting Socialism

Students at Davidson College were offered the change to give socialism a try with their GPAs and soundly rejected it- then quickly retreated to their safe spaces when they realized what they’d done.

Posing as “Students for Educational Equality,” two students from the college’s chapter of Young Adults for Freedom circulated a petition suggesting that they take a couple of points off of the GPA of the top performing students and redistribute them to the lowest performing students so that everyone could graduate.

Of course, students thought this was insane (a professor was willing to sign it, though). They had a lot of questions for the YAF petitioners. What would prevent students from counting on getting this boost every semester? Why should students who worked hard be docked points while students who didn’t work as hard get points they didn’t earn? They were all great questions.

The College Fix reports that students were extremely upset when they realized they had accidentally rejected socialism. They called for a “teach-in” at the student union to discuss their feelings on the matter. In the video of this event, students denounce the YAF effort as “inflammatory” and unfair, making light of socioeconomic disparity of campus.

The YAF Chapter responded on their Facebook page saying:

"It is simply an illustration of fruits of your labor and your being able to decide what happens with those fruits,” the statement continued. “Regardless of your level of income or academic achievements, what is relevant is that the fruit is yours and you should be able to decide what you do with it. Davidson Young Americans for Freedom stands for limited government and free enterprise, and we stand by our video".


Chinese doing well in American education

As senior year comes to its end, Chinese Americans keep their momentum as one of the top groups on college campus in collecting more bachelor's degrees and over.

A case in point, among the 4,300 students bidding farewell to Queens College (QC. Acceptance rate: 39.8%) in New York prior to this weekend, nine percent were first-generation Chinese Americans and 21 percent American-born Chinese. 30% Chinese overall.

This year's figure of Chinese American graduates and undergraduates nationwide in higher education has not been calculated yet, but other latest statistics are telling their upward trend.

Around 26.7 percent of U.S. Asians were Chinese American undergraduates, and up to 28.5 percent postgraduates and above, the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) said in May, adding that 23 percent of the Asian Americans had won single or both degrees.

Asian Americans were the best-educated ethnics compared with all the others in the United States, with 53.2 percent of them over 25 years old harvesting bachelor's degrees and above, far exceeding the national level of 31.2 percent, according to USCB.

QC is one of the four-year colleges in the City University of New York system, with a motto of "We Learn So That We May Serve." It usually hosts up to 18,500 students, including 14,400 undergraduates and 4,100 postgraduates.

Queens has been widely seen as the most demographically diversified boroughs of New York City, almost half its population being immigrants.

The total number of Asian Americans has surpassed 21.4 million. Chinese Americans top this demographic spectrum with 5.08 million in all, according to USCB.


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