Friday, August 18, 2017

Student who claimed she was raped on a Michigan college campus is charged with falsely reporting a felony after admitting she fabricated parking lot assault

More "campus rape culture"

A woman has been charged after falsely claiming that she was raped on a college campus.

Mary Zolkowski, 21, claimed that she was attacked and raped on February 22 while walking to her car outside Delta College in Bay City, Michigan.

She then spoke with police but told them she saw only her attacker's hands and had 'kind of blacked out' during the incident.

When police began to look into her claim, she said she wanted no part of the investigation and refused a physical examination, according to court documents seen by Michigan Live.

She reportedly went to campus the following day to tell college staff she had dropped her studies because of the rape, but it was later found she had in fact dropped the courses before reporting the rape.

Nearly a month later - after police had found no evidence suggesting there had been a rape in the campus parking lot - Zolkowski told university staff she had actually been raped by a friend in an apartment elsewhere while drunk and unable to consent before driving to the college.

Court documents show she apologized and stressed that she did not want the man to be charged.

But when the man was interviewed by police, records show he said Zolkowski had previously told him she was trying to get her fees refunded by Delta. 

He also showed them text messages from Zolkowski in which she claimed she had been raped outside a Walmart store on February 22, the same night she claimed she was raped in Delta parking lot.

In May, it emerged the woman had spoken to Saginaw Township Police Department to claim the man she previously said she had sex with while intoxicated had in fact thrown her to the floor and raped her.

But she again modified her claim, according to records, to state that she had consented to sex but had intended to tell the man to stop. She added, however, that the sex was over before she had the opportunity to do so.

She has now been charged with one count of falsely reporting a felony and could be punished with four years in jail and a fine of $2,000 after appearing at Bay County District Court. Zolkowski will next appear in court on August 29.


University of San Francisco to host blacks-only student orientation

Segregation revived by the Left

The University of San Francisco this week is scheduled to host a segregated orientation dedicated to black students, a program that takes place in addition to its standard welcoming activities for all students.

The Black Student Orientation is slated for  Aug. 18, the day prior to the university’s New Student Orientation.

The day-long event–billed as having been “designed by Black students, faculty, and staff to welcome new Black students to the USF Black Experience”–will “address the specific and particular needs of African American/Black students at USF,” according to the school’s website.

The program includes workshops such as “Community Building” and “Creating a 4 Year Plan.”

The College Fix reached out to Kim Harris, assistant director of orientation programs at the private, Catholic institution, to ask if the school provides any other ethnic-based orientation programs.

“Not that I know of,” Harris responded via e-mail. “But we do have a mostly first generation [orientation] program…This group is comprised mostly of students of color.”

Harris told The Fix that the Black Student Orientation is being run by Dr. Ja’Nina Garrett-Walker, an assistant professor in the department of psychology at the university.

The Fix reached out repeatedly to Garrett-Walker for comment regarding the history of the Black Student Orientation, as well as for elaboration on the “specific and particular needs of African American/Black Students at USF.” Garrett-Walker did not respond.

Garrett-Walker has a history of activism at the University of San Francisco. In 2014, she implemented a campus-wide campaign called “Check Your Privilege,” designed to raise awareness of social inequality and privilege.

The campaign defined privilege as “unearned access to social power based on membership in a dominant social group.” Participants were encouraged to sport t-shirts that indicated the attributes that applied to them—with permanent markers, they could check off items such as White, Male, Christian, and Cisgender.

One poster associated with the campaign informed readers: “If you’re confident that the police exist to protect you, you have white male privilege,” while another claimed that the expectation of having holidays off of work denotes “Christian privilege.”

On Garrett-Walker’s website faculty profile, her research area is listed as “identity development for Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and emerging adults.”

Earlier this year, The College Fix reached out to the University of San Francisco for information regarding a “White Privilege Resource Guide” created by the university in the wake of Garrett-Walker’s privilege campaign. Following The Fix‘s inquiry, USF attempted to cover up the identity of the author of the guide.


Number of British pupils planning to go to university 'at lowest level in 8 years'

Good! University used to be for clever people-Now its 3yrs of indoctrination at the hands of Leftwing radicals,debt & a worthless degree

Fewer young people now aspire to attend university, according to a new poll, with many citing financial concerns or saying they simply do not like the idea.

Around three-quarters (74 per cent) of secondary school pupils are planning to study for a degree – but this figure is at its lowest level since 2009, according to the Sutton Trust survey.

In 2013, more than four-fifths (81 per cent) said they wanted to go to university – and last year around the proportion stood at 77 per cent.

In the annual Sutton Trust poll, which questioned more than 2,600 11- to 16-year-olds in England and Wales, around one in seven (14 per cent) said they were unlikely to go on to higher education, compared with 11 per cent last year, and 8 per cent five years ago in 2012.

Of those who said they were unlikely to go to university, seven in 10 said they did not like the idea, or did not enjoy studying, while nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) had financial reasons, such as wanting to start earning as soon as possible or debt concerns. More than two in five of these respondents (44 per cent) thought they were not clever enough, or would not get good enough results, while a similar proportion (42 per cent) did not think they would need a degree for the jobs they were considering.

Of those who said they were likely to study for a degree, around half (51 per cent) said they were worried about the cost of higher education, up from 47 per cent last year.

Money concerns

The biggest money concern was tuition fees, followed by having to repay student loans for up to 30 years and the cost of living as a student.

The study has been published amid a growing debate about the future of tuition fees, which now stand at up to £9,250 a year for universities in England.

Ucas figures show 32.5 per cent of English 18-year-olds entered higher education last year, the highest recorded entry rate for England.

The increase meant that young people were 4 per cent more likely to go to university than in 2015 and 31 per cent more likely than in 2006.

The Sutton Trust said its findings are an important indicator of young people's plans before they sit their GCSEs.

System 'badly in need of reform'

Sir Peter Lampl, chairman of the Sutton Trust, said: "It is no surprise that there has been a fall in the proportion of young people hoping to go into higher education.

"Our own separate research has shown that graduates will be paying back their loans well into middle age, affecting their ability to go to graduate school, afford a mortgage and decisions on having children.

"With debts up to £57,000 for poorer graduates and soaring student loan interest rates, the system is badly in need of reform.

"It is outrageous that someone from a council estate should pay more than someone from a top boarding school.

"This reform should include means-testing tuition fees and restoring maintenance grants so poorer students face lower fees and lower debt on graduation."

Mary Bousted, general secretary of the ATL teaching union, said: "It is no surprise that young people are unwilling to take on the huge debts now required to attend university, particularly since the average student leaves university with debts in excess of £50,000.

"Many young people who have experienced their families’ financial struggles as children will be wary of taking on such a huge burden of debt.

"Cuts to university budgets have also affected widening-participation programmes, so there is less money for outreach programmes to help disadvantaged young people aware of the opportunities in higher education.

"The increase in disadvantaged young people not applying for university is as a result of the government abolishing maintenance grants for students from low-income homes, and allowing universities to put up their fees further if they reach agreed standards in teaching.”

Universities minister Jo Johnson said: "The reality is that young people are more likely to go to university than ever before, with entry rates for 18-year-olds rising every year since 2012.

"Those from disadvantaged backgrounds are 43 per cent more likely to enter higher education than in 2009.

"Our student finance system ensures that costs are split fairly between graduates and the taxpayer. However, there is still more to do to ensure that students get value for money.

"That is why we have created a new regulator, the Office for Students, that will hold universities to account for teaching quality and student outcomes through the Teaching Excellence Framework."


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Why Trump is good for black education and advancement

Conservatives stand for equality of opportunity, equal justice under the law, and a colorblind society. We also believe in results, not intentions. Liberals tend to have horrible results with their good intentions when it comes to economic policy, especially as it pertains to black Americans. Polls show consistently that what blacks care most about today is jobs and economic opportunity.

Barack Obama, our first black president, won well over 90 percent of the black vote, yet from an economic perspective he delivered poor results. Black incomes from 2009 to 2014 fell more for blacks than any other racial or ethnic group. Just as an example of good intentions run amok: policies like raising the minimum wage increases had a statistically significant negative effect on black teenage labor force participation rates.

I would argue that two factors hold back economic progress for blacks: a lack of jobs in inner cities and poor educational opportunities. On both of these, Trump is delivering positive results. The black unemployment rate has fallen by a full percentage point in the last year, black labor force participation is up, and the number of black Americans with a job has risen by 600,000 from last year. Preliminary data show black wages and incomes up since the election.

It’s early for sure, but so far Trump has done more for black economic progress in six months than Obama did in eight years. The other issue that is critically important to black and Hispanic economic progress is good schools. No president has done more to advance school choice so that every child can attend a quality school public or private. In cities like Washington D.C. and Milwaukee, 90 percent of the children who benefit from these programs are black.

Trump wants to increase these vouchers and scholarships more black children. The idea is that good schools should be available to all children regardless of race or income. As the black parents I spoke to who participate in these scholarship programs have told me, “Why does Barack Obama get to send his kids to private schools, but not us?” Good question and one that no liberal has ever been able to answer.

Amazingly, the people who oppose the school choice program for black Americans that Trump is advancing are liberal elites. The same people who denounce Trump for what happened in Charlottesville, hypocritically oppose Trump’s ideas for better school options for black children. School choice is arguably the civil rights issue of our time and liberals side with teachers unions not African American children.

So is Trump a racist who doesn’t care about the future of black Americans? He is creating jobs, higher incomes and trying to give a better education to every disadvantaged child in America. That is a pretty darn good civil rights record.


British education Director Argues Smacking Is ‘Tactile’ Contact In Debate On ‘Good Morning Britain’’

An education expert explained why she believes smacking children can be acceptable as it is a part of the “tactile” relationship parents have with their kids.

Kate Ivens, education director of charity, Real Action, and vice-chairman for the Campaign for Real Education, was asked by Jeremy Kyle on ‘Good Morning Britain’ whether smacking should be an “ultimate” punishment or a “regular” punishment.

“I’m saying we have a tactile relationship with our children,” Ivens responded on Tuesday 16 August.

Ivens continued: “We hug them, we kiss them, we breastfeed them and so on and there are times when, like a child running out into the road, I remember when my children did that and I shook them [and said]: ‘Never you do this again.’ “After that my children would run freely down the road with complete freedom and always stopped at the curb, always.”

The ‘Good Morning Britain’ debate followed a Twitter poll the ITV show ran that showed - out of 6,979 votes - 55% of respondents agreed with smacking, while 45% disagreed.

Ivens continued: “Is it always wrong? I think the thing about smacking is, in order to be clear, because there’s so many interpretations of what a smack is, people feel like they have to come down on one side or another.”

A former teacher, Sue Atkins, spoke on the show about why she disagreed with smacking. ″The problem with smacking is where do you start and when do you stop?” she said. “It’s hard; what if you’re angry and you actually lose the plot and you smack a child?

“I used to be a deputy head and class teacher for 25 years so if a child hits another child in the playground, you say that’s aggression.”

Ivens replied to Atkins, saying: “I don’t think you are being violent I think you are making a tactile contact with your child.”

Previously speaking to HuffPost UK on the topic of smacking, Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of Fundamentally Children said she believes the current law around smacking is “just about right”, arguing kids who don’t have the cognitive or emotional ability to understand consequences may, on occasion, benefit from a physical consequence.

“It is the context that is paramount here,” she continued. “If a child knows he/she is loved unconditionally and has consistent boundaries, and an emotionally stable home, and has received an occasional smack for repeated dangerous behaviour, it is very different from a child who lives in fear of getting smacked inconsistently and for the mildest of misdemeanours.

“It is this second form of discipline that is most damaging to a child’s emotional development.”


Australia: Business backs Coalition’s higher education reforms

Business is backing the Turnbull government’s higher education reforms, describing them as modest and a chance to take stock to assess whether Australia’s uncapped demand-driven university system is delivering the best outcomes for students and industry.

Universities are running a fierce campaign against the Coalition’s reforms, arguing they represent the most significant over­haul in the sector for two decades and will result in a “double hit” on students paying more for a lower quality education, staff cuts and jeopardise Australia’s $22 billion a year education export industry.

But the government disputes this, countering the overhaul is necessary because taxpayer funding to universities has been a “river of gold” and the demand-driven system needs to be put on a sustainable footing for future generations.

Jenny Lambert, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s director of employment, education and training, said the business group was supportive of the package because it offered a chance to put “a little bit of brake on the system”, make some modest changes and send further signals about universities being efficient and effective.

The tertiary overhaul — which introduces a 2.5 per cent efficiency dividend on universities next year and in 2019, ties about $500 million a year in university funding to performance improvements and requires graduates to begin paying back their HELP debt at 1 per cent when their income reaches $42,000 — was the largest savings measure in the budget handed down in May. The reforms are worth $2.7bn across five years but are stalled in the parliament.

“We don’t know that those who have been pushed to attend university — who may not have previously done so — do they find their medium to long-term outcomes have justified that decision or have they been disappointed or let down by the system?’’ Ms Lambert said.

“If the medium-term evidence shows us that they (universities) have been more efficient, they have been more effective, and student outcomes start to go up in this uncapped demand-driven system, then we can say ‘well, we’ve got the settings about right and we need to make sure the universities can afford to deliver the quality of education that everyone expects.’ ”

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the higher education reforms were essential and not onerous.

“We’re confronted with around $50bn of student debt with a quarter not expected to be repaid, taxpayer funding for universities having increased at twice the rate of the economy and per student revenue increases of 15 per cent while costs have only grown by 9.5 per cent,” he said.

“Universities will still see 23 per cent growth in taxpayer funding, all we’re asking is for them to operate within a more sustainable rate of growth. That’s not a cut but it will make higher education more sustainable into the future.”


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Scotland: Poor students losing out as schools offer fewer subjects

Children from deprived families are facing “completely unacceptable” restrictions on their education because schools in poor areas teach significantly fewer subjects than those serving the middle classes, The Times can reveal.

A new analysis of Scottish government data showing deprivation levels, alongside a school-by-school breakdown of the number of Highers on offer, shows a direct link between how affluent a catchment area is and the variety of curriculum subjects available to pupils in their senior phase.

In the schools serving Scotland’s poorest communities, an average of 17.2 subjects are on offer. But, in schools where less than one in four pupils lives in a deprived postcode, teenagers can expect to choose between 23 subjects.

Previously, the Scottish government has sought to explain a disparity in the number of subjects available by saying that the Curriculum for Excellence allows headteachers the flexibility to take “different approaches” to meet the needs of pupils.

However, opponents said that evidence showing a clear link between deprivation levels and the extent of subject choice will undermine Nicola Sturgeon’s claims that her government is prioritising the need for all children to have equal opportunities irrespective of their background. The figures will also call into question the SNP’s success in closing the gap in attainment levels and life chances between rich and poor.

When confronted with the findings, the Scottish government said that it believed “it is important that local authorities and schools offer a broad range of subject choices that meet their pupils’ needs and aspirations”.

The analysis of subject choice was made by comparing data on the number of subjects on offer at more than 200 schools — published earlier this year by the Scottish Conservatives after freedom of information requests — and Scottish government figures on school deprivation levels.

Liz Smith, education spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservatives, said: “This analysis appears to show that the poorer the background of a child, the fewer options they have at school.

“That’s completely unacceptable, and has to change as a matter of urgency if we are to make progress with the attainment gap. Much of this will be related to teacher recruitment, and that’s something the SNP has sole control over. There will be some cases where children can study other subjects at different schools, but that is hardly an ideal scenario.

“Nicola Sturgeon has said education is her top priority, but that claim is wearing thinner by the day.”

Previously, teachers have said that a staffing shortage is having an impact on the number of subjects on offer, with deprived schools often finding it more difficult to recruit and retain staff. There is also evidence to suggest that parents of middle class children are more likely to engage with how a school is run and lobby headteachers.

While generally schools will all offer common subjects at Higher level, such as maths, English and history, some children will be denied the opportunity to study less common subjects such as psychology, media, economics or computing at their own school.

Experts have previously warned that Scotland’s system which allows a wide variation in subject choices and curriculum flexibility, could discriminate against poor students because “more socially advantaged” parents were better placed to ensure their children made the best decisions about what subjects to take.


Low-income students remain rare at elite universities

As the Trump administration takes aim at race-based college admissions policies, many of the country’s most competitive schools, including Ivy League universities, are struggling with an equally vexing problem: how to create more economic diversity on their campuses, giving strong students of modest means the same opportunities long available to children from the nation’s wealthiest families.

Selective colleges in Massachusetts and across the country have made some progress in expanding their ethnic and racial diversity. But when it comes to admitting and educating students from low-income families, many of these schools have made little headway — or fallen behind.

Even some schools that make generous financial aid available have trouble recruiting qualified applicants from among the country’s neediest families. In many cases, such schools aren’t even on those families’ radar. And many poorer students have limited access to SAT prepatory classes, private counselors, and the college-level coursework in high school that can put them on track for admission into a selective university.

“It seems to me that having a multiracial aristocracy is better than an all-white aristocracy, but it’s still an aristocracy,” said Richard Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation who has advocated that colleges use socioeconomic factors in admissions. “Every university president will say, ‘We look for strivers and give them an advantage in admission.’ But the bottom line data suggests things haven’t changed.”

Nationally, 40 percent of undergraduates receive a Pell Grant, federal aid for students who come from lower-income families. But at the eight Ivy League institutions, Pell recipients accounted on average for just 16 percent of undergraduates, according to 2014 data published this summer. (At Harvard, that figure is 19.3 percent.)

High-achieving, low-income students, often the first in their families to attend college, struggle to feel they belong on elite campuses.

Advocates for low-income students say these elite schools should aim for at least 20 percent.

The underrepresentation of Pell recipients isn’t just an Ivy League problem. Many selective schools, including Tufts University and Northeastern University, let in only a meager number of low-income students. At Tufts, the share of undergraduates who receive Pell aid has been about 11 percent in recent years. At Northeastern, 13 percent of about 13,200 undergrads came from low-income families, according to data compiled by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

That has happened despite the number of high school students seeking undergraduate degrees remaining high and an overall increase in Pell recipients.

Recent research from the Equality of Opportunity Project also indicates that some of the most competitive schools in America have enrolled more students from families at the top 1 percent of the income scale than from the entire bottom half of income-earners. In addition, at many selective schools the share of low-income students declined or remained flat between 1999 and 2013, according to tax data culled by the project, a collaboration of several noted economists.

Muna Mohamed, a 19-year-old student at Tufts, said she didn’t need to see the data to know about the wealth gap on her campus.

“You can see it,” said Mohamed, whose family moved to Lewiston, Maine, from Somalia. “It is apparent in the university how many students come from wealth.”

In the winter, the school is awash with undergraduates in Canada Goose parkas, which sell for nearly $1,000 apiece, she said, while she has to work two jobs to help pay for expenses not covered in her generous financial aid package.

Mohamed, who applied to Tufts on a whim and a desire to leave Maine for a more cosmopolitan experience, said many students from her public high school don’t even have the college on their list. They don’t bother, she said, because they think it’s too expensive, not realizing that the school offers significant financial aid and support to low-income students who get in. Or perhaps they have never touched base with a college recruiter, whose visits may not be well-publicized, she said.

“It’s not part of the culture much, so you don’t do it,” Mohamed said.

Officials from Tufts and other colleges said they are trying to reach more low-income students.

Karen Richardson, dean of undergraduate admissions at Tufts, said the university concluded a $95 million scholarship fund-raising campaign last year that has allowed it to offer a record $21.7 million in need-based grants to the incoming first-year class.

Northeastern in the past decade has more than doubled its investment in financial aid. Officials there noted that the school does a better job than many of its peers in helping low-income students climb the economic ladder.

Other colleges are also expanding their recruiting efforts, making it easier for low-income students to apply, eliminating merit-based aid in favor of need-based financing, and ensuring that cost isn’t a barrier for families and students who would otherwise qualify. Some elite schools now pay to fly low-income high school students to campus to meet admissions officers.

Yale University is among 30 institutions, including all the Ivy League schools, that last December signed on to the American Talent Initiative, which aims to attract, enroll, and graduate an additional 50,000 lower-income students by 2025. Yale officials said the school has also created more room for low-income students, in part by increasing its undergraduate class size. This fall’s first-year class includes 61 percent more Pell recipients than the class enrolled in 2013, said Karen N. Peart, a spokeswoman for the university.

Some rich schools with hefty endowments, including Harvard, allow needy students to attend for free. Since Harvard launched its program in 2003, the number of first-year students who qualify annually has increased by 100, to 320 students annually in a class of about 1,600.

Harvard has also increased by 4.7 percent its share of students who come from the bottom 40 percent of income earners between 1999 to 2013, the highest increase among all Ivy League schools, according to data from the Equality of Opportunity Project.

At the same time, the percentage of students from low-income families at some of Harvard’s peer universities has decreased or barely budged, according to the data.

“We aggressively recruit for students from low-income backgrounds,” said Sally Donahue, director of financial aid at Harvard. “It would be great if highly selective schools would have more low-income students, but it gets complicated.”

Schools want to ensure that they admit students who will thrive on their campuses, and those who come from higher-income families, attend rigorous high schools, and have the resources to get academic tutoring are better prepared to match up with highly selective universities, Donahue said.

Advocates, such as Kahlenberg, have pushed for a class-based affirmative action that would more directly benefit students who rise above the disadvantages of poverty.

But improving access to college for lower-income students can be expensive, requiring that the school provide not only financial aid, but also money for intensive recruiting and more academic and financial help once students arrive on campus, said Katie Fretwell, dean of admissions and financial aid at Amherst College.

“It takes a big endowment, and it takes a commitment from on high,” she said. Amherst’s endowment is $2 billion.

Amherst College, where last year nearly one in four students received Pell aid, recruits at charter schools — including the Academy of the Pacific Rim, Boston Collegiate Charter School, and Prospect Hill Academy in Greater Boston — and works with nonprofits that help match high-achieving, low-income high-schoolers with scholarships. In addition, Amherst has recently accepted more transfer students from community colleges. About 60 percent of the 100 transfer students that Amherst accepts during a four-year period are from community colleges, Fretwell said.

When elite schools do provide access, it can be a life-changing experience for students.

Kaelan McCone, 20, a political science and French major from Greensboro, N.C., said he was able to complete an unpaid internship in Spain this summer because of a grant from Amherst.

He and his more wealthy classmates have had similar opportunities, McCone said, even though his father works for UPS and his mother is a retired teacher.

Still, it’s hard to avoid some differences at a school where the median family income for students is $158,200, McCone said.

Some students leave the country frequently, he said, and others eat out at a nice restaurant every week without a second thought. When he was submitting his taxes, a friend asked him why his family’s accountant didn’t take care of the paperwork, said McCone, who worked at a food bar, as a tour guide, and as a Spanish tutor to earn spending money.

“I can’t afford to spend $20 for a meal every Saturday night,” he said. “Instead, I work.”

Some higher education researchers warn that as the US Justice Department targets race-based admissions policies with its investigation into whether Harvard’s practices discriminate against Asian college applicants, turning to socioeconomic factors in admissions isn’t the easy replacement to creating diversity on campus.

If only socioeconomic factors are used, schools are likely to lose some of their ethnic diversity, said Rachel Baker, an assistant professor of education policy at the University of California Irvine who has studied the issue.

Still, if elite colleges want more lower-income students on their campuses, they have to start paying more attention to income in admissions decisions, Baker said.

Right now, there’s little evidence that income is a strong factor in admissions decisions, which could lead to higher education becoming even more segregated by class, she said.

Poorer students will remain in community colleges, state schools, and for-profit institutions, where resources and access to business networks are scarce, while the rich graduate from well-funded, selective institutions, Baker said.

“We cling so strongly to this idea that college is an equalizer, with stories of homeless to Harvard,” Baker said. “But it’s not common. It’s not widespread. By and large, where you go to college is very strongly correlated to your upbringing.”


More campus censorship: "White lives matter" rally planned for 9/11 cancelled

One cannot really blame the university.  With antifa on the prowl there could well have been real violence and possible death.  They have achieved their aim of silencing alternative voices on campus

A “WHITE lives matter” event scheduled to take place at a Texas campus on September 11 has been cancelled by the university amid security fears.

Texas A&M University abruptly cancelled the planned rally on its campus next month after pressure from state politicians, who said hatred should be rejected in all forms.

Former A&M student Preston Wiginton began organising the white supremacist gathering after Saturday’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned deadly. He notified the media with the headline, “Today Charlottesville, tomorrow Texas A&M.”

A&M university said in a statement that the rally had been cancelled because of “concerns about the safety of its students, faculty, staff and the public”. It added: “Linking the tragedy of Charlottesville and Texas A&M creates a major security risk on our campus.”

At least one person died and 16 were injured when a car ploughed into a group of anti-racism counter-protesters in Virginia.

Rally organiser Mr Wiginton had invited prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer, whose presence sparked massive protests when spoke on the campus last December. “I think that was a stepping stone for white people to realise that there are issues, and they feel comfortable enough now to talk about them,” Mr Wiginton told local newspaper The Eagle.

But the university said it still supported free speech but circumstances had changed and the “threat to life” had compelled it to cancel the event.

The cancellation came hours after Dallas Democratic Representative Helen Giddings gave a House floor speech while nearly all of the chamber’s 150 members stood beside her. She urged university administrators to “unequivocally denounce and fight against this violent group” adding “all of us in the state of Texas want to say with one voice, Texas will not stand for hate.”

Austin Republican Representative Paul Workman added that a petition being circulated for A&M graduates in the House was attempting to “keep this from happening on our campus.” The chamber then held a moment of silence for victims killed and injured in Charlottesville.

Similar sentiments came from the Texas Senate, which also held its own moment of silence.

Local Republican Senator Charles Schwertner has said he had planned to attend a counter protest of the A&M rally. Although the group may be allowed to meet at the College Station campus, Schwertner said, “The First Amendment also allows us to respond in kind, to stand up and say what we believe as a society, as Americans and as Texans. We should not stand for bigotry, for violence, for racism.”

Dallas Democratic Senator Royce West said he would also go to the Texas A&M campus on 9/11. “We will do everything in our power to make sure those days gone by will not be repeated. I’m confident they won’t be,” he said, recalling the Jim Crow-era of segregation and discrimination. “We will stand strong against those hate groups, Neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan.” Mr West added: “My 17-year-old grandson asked me yesterday, ‘Should my generation be more like Martin Luther King or Malcolm X?’ I had to pause and listen to the hurt in his voice and doubt in his ability to pursue the American dream. I didn’t answer the question ... That’s where we are in America today.”’


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Failure of Sex Ed Is Killing Our Daughters

Back in May, NPR picked up on the story of one New Jersey nurse, Lauren Bloomstein, who died after giving birth to her child. In a shocking case of medical malpractice, the woman died of preeclampsia. It’s a condition common enough to be used in the scripts of Downton Abbey, yet it remains un-researched in the American medical community. What’s worse, according to a follow-up story at NPR, far too many women are completely unaware of the symptoms of preeclampsia and other medical conditions that can arise during pregnancy and labor.

Most of these women have college degrees. One featured in The New York Times is a molecular virologist who only thought to pursue medical attention for her high blood pressure postpartum because she’d read Bloomstein’s story online:

The ER doctor told her that she was feeling normal postpartum symptoms, she said, and wanted to send her home even as her blood pressure hovered at perilous heights. Several hours passed before he consulted with an ob/gyn at another hospital and McCausland's severe preeclampsia was treated with  magnesium sulfate to prevent seizures.

Without Bloomstein's story as a warning, McCausland doubts she would have recognized her symptoms or persisted in the face of the ER doctor's dismissive approach.

Upon request, NPR received 3,100 similar “near death” stories from mothers who were misdiagnosed, either before being discharged from the hospital or shortly thereafter. Women who “wished” they would’ve known what a high blood pressure reading looked like, or who had no clue that their placenta should have come out in one piece. What kind of education had these women received regarding pregnancy and birth? And what does that mean for today’s young women who will hopefully become tomorrow’s mothers?

If these women relied on their high school sex education classes they were at a near-total loss when it came to reproductive health. Public school curriculums dead-set on preventing pregnancy focus heavily on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and “using protection.” As for pregnancy itself, senior students often get a glimpse of a woman giving birth before they pass out in horror. Young women are never given so much as the opportunity to discuss the dynamics of choosing to have children in today’s world, let alone the biology of reproduction, let alone what should go right and what could go wrong.

Today’s Common Core standards for sex education are even worse. They explicitly state that “pregnancy and reproduction” curricula address "information about how pregnancy happens and decision-making to avoid a pregnancy.” By 12th grade, students are expected to reiterate positive and negative prenatal practices. Labor, delivery, and postpartum care are completely left off the list.

Pregnant women are given loads of information on breastfeeding and probably attend a birthing class or two. They’re often too consumed in the search for daycare to actually focus on what will happen to their bodies postpartum. All they know is they need to get back to work in a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks, with a few weeks tacked on if they have the dreaded C-section. Conditions like preeclampsia or retained placenta rarely surface in discussions with medical professionals unless you’re a high-risk patient.

That is most likely because the discussion regarding complications associated with advanced maternal age is strictly taboo. Both medical professionals and journalists avoid the uncomfortable role advanced maternal age plays in the growing maternal mortality rate (MMR) because geriatric pregnancy has become a cultural expectation.

While pushing off motherhood to the age of 35 and beyond may be a social norm, it puts a heavy burden on women’s health. Preeclampsia, the condition that killed Lauren Bloomfield, is on the rise. Researchers attribute the condition in large part to “delaying childbirth” and the multiple births associated with “increased use of assisted reproduction.” In an excellent analysis of the factors associated with the rising maternal mortality rate for Arc Digital, Iron Ladies founder Leslie Loftis comments:

…  If we dismiss the role that maternal age plays in our rising MMR, then we will miss designing the proper responses. We will fail to warn women how to plan or what to look for.
In fact, that is what we do now.

Sex education curricula that does not include serious discussions on risk factors in pregnancy, labor, delivery and postpartum fails our girls. Young women deserve the kind of education that permits them to self-advocate in the delivery room, not just the bedroom. Common Core sex education fails in this regard. As a result today’s educators put the lives of an entire generation of women and their future children at risk..


Asian-Americans Complicate the Affirmative Action Narrative

The concept has been bastardized to promote a spoils system that makes a complete mockery of the word "equal."

“The purpose of affirmative action is to promote social equality through the preferential treatment of socioeconomically disadvantaged people. Often, these people are disadvantaged for historical reasons like years of oppression or slavery.” —, a legal resource website

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925. It included a provision instructing government contractors to “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 adding sex to the list, and again requiring federal contractors to promote the full realization of equal opportunity for women and minorities via affirmative action.

Since then, the concept has been bastardized to promote a spoils system that makes a complete mockery of the word “equal” — as in the “equal protection of the laws” ostensibly guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Thus, progressive heads are exploding with regard to an internal memo obtained by The New York Times. It reveals the Justice Department is seeking attorneys willing to explore “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.” The Times initially insisted this project is aimed at “suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.”

Wrong. As DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores put it, the DOJ is pursuing a complaint filed in May 2015 by a coalition of 64 Asian-American groups against an unnamed university. Since such a coalition filed a federal complaint against Harvard in 2015 alleging racial discrimination, it’s safe to say the Ivy League school is in the DOJ’s crosshairs.

The most problematic aspect of the case for the nation’s progressive quota-mongers? One minority group is challenging allegedly preferential treatment given to other minority groups.  It doesn’t get more disruptive of the affirmative action narrative than that.

One might be forgiven for noticing that in virtually all leftist diatribes about the victimization of minorities — diatribes that inevitably include excoriating America for its legacy of slavery, Jim Crow and numerous other race-based evils — Asian-Americans are rarely part of the mix. Perhaps it’s because the culture of victimhood the American Left has successfully inculcated in many black and Hispanic communities is largely rejected by Asian-Americans, who do not view government’s thumb on the scale as a prerequisite for their success.

Even more problematic, they are unencumbered by America’s slave-owning legacy progressives use to induce guilt and justify their quota schemes.

Thus, in an effort to keep the narrative alive, CNN insists the Trump administration’s real motive is to “play to a conservative base that has long abhorred practices that offer a boost to racial minorities, potentially at the expense of whites.”

In the last 30 years, the Supreme Court has wrestled with the issue on several occasions, ruling three times that race can be used as a “factor” with regard to admissions. In the most recent case, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Court ruled 4-3 in favor of such programs, provided universities present strong evidence they are narrowly tailored to achieve the goal of diversity by “ensuring that race plays no greater role than is necessary to meet its compelling interest,” Kennedy wrote for a majority.

What, exactly, constitutes compelling interest? As dissenting Justice Samuel Alito noted, UT didn’t offer any evidence about how much race factors into admission decisions, whether its plan placed more minority students in classrooms that ostensibly lacked diversity, or why its plan favors black American and Latino students, even as it appears to damage the prospects of Asian-Americans. Alito wrote, “By accepting UT’s rationales as sufficient to meet its burden, the majority licenses UT’s perverse assumptions about different groups of minority students — the precise assumptions strict scrutiny is supposed to stamp out.”

Two University of Michigan cases from 2003 also highlight the institutional acrobatics used to justify quotas. In Gratz v. Bollinger, the Court struck down the use of a mathematical-based admissions system that awarded extra points to minority candidates — simply for being minorities. But in Grutter v. Bollinger, it upheld the law school’s supposedly more individualized review, because it served “a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body.”

Yet what, exactly, are those benefits, and how are they quantified? Several studies have asserted that diversity provokes more innovative thinking and better group performance in a variety of settings. Yet how such conclusions are reached in the absence of a “control group” suggests politics trumps science.

Thus we are left with the dubious proposition that diversity is beneficial … because to assert otherwise constitutes bigotry.

Yet the cases SCOTUS and other courts have adjudicated revolved around minorities versus whites. By focusing on Asian-American complaints against Harvard, the DOJ is taking a sledgehammer to the presumption that racial quotas are a reasoned response to “white privilege.”

As The Wall Street Journal explains, the percentage of Asian students admitted to Harvard has remained around 20% since 1993, despite the fact that the Asian share of the U.S. population “has increased rapidly.” The paper further notes Asian representation is much higher at University of California campuses — where the use of race as an admissions factor was banned in the 1990s.

Yet the real discrimination is found in the race-based approach to Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores. “All else being equal,” the paper reveals, “an Asian-American must score 140 points higher on the SAT than a white counterpart, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student, and 450 points higher than a black applicant, according to 2009 research from Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and co-author Alexandria Walton Radford.”

Harvard insists its “holistic” approach negates that disparity. Yet if that’s the case, how does it explain that legacy students — children of former students — are two to three times more likely to be admitted than students whose parents didn’t attend Harvard?

“There is a version of affirmative action — legal, generally popular and arguably more meritocratic — that higher education has not yet even tried,” wrote columnist Dave Leonhardt in 2012. Leonhardt revealed economically disadvantaged students “receive either no preference or a modest one, depending on which study you believe.”

It shouldn’t take a study to figure out what merits genuine consideration in college admissions. The same public that despises race-based admissions heartily favors giving a break to low-income students and those whose parents didn’t attend college.

Would economics-based affirmative action mollify the bean-counters? In a column for Diverse Issues in Education, Emil Guillermo asserts Asian students are being used as proxies for whites in the battle to dismantle affirmative action. Like so many progressives, he recognizes the mortal threat of affirmative action litigation that doesn’t include a Caucasian component.

It will be fascinating to see how people whose power depends on the continued cultivation of minority group grievances against an “endemically” racist white majority manage to cope.

Right now, “holistic,” in all its intentionally ambiguous glory, appears to be the linguistic tool progressives will use to maintain race-based quotas in college admissions.

If that fails? Perhaps “Asian privilege” will become part of the progressive lexicon.


Halle Berry Says Her High School Was Racist. Her Classmates Lit Up Facebook to Set the Record Straight

By Paula Bolyard

Is it just me or does it seem like every last celebrity has a story about his or her miserable childhood? It's almost like having a sob story is a job prerequisite for these people. Actress Halle Berry is certainly no exception. For years she's been giving interviews recounting tales of the racism and bullying she experienced as a biracial student in a predominantly white school. Most recently she complained to People about her high school, where Berry claims there were only "like 3 out of 2500 students" who were black.

The  X-Men actress says she was bullied “because of the color of my skin.”

“Because my mother was white and my father was black… we got called Oreos and names, and kids just didn’t understand, so we were different. We were the brunt of a lot of jokes. So, I think my need to please and my desire to achieve was because I was constantly trying to prove that I was as good as the other white students. I felt very ‘less than,’ and I thought, ‘If I can beat them at everything, then I can be as good as them.'”

Only that's not the way her classmates remember it and they took to Facebook en masse to set the record straight. It all started when someone posted the People article on a private Facebook group called "You know you grew up in Bedford," which is the city where Halle attended high school. Former students immediately jumped on her comments. (I'm not including the full names because these comments below are from a private Facebook group.)

"Oh please," retorted Beverly C.  Jean M. said, "Never!".  "When did Bedford become (or was) all white???" asked Glenn R.?

After that, the comments started flying in, with dozens of her former classmates calling bull hockey on the Bedford High School graduate's story. They were eager to vindicate their beloved alma mater in their comments. Here are a few of them (unedited):


Rachel W.: "Class of '86 here.....I didn't know Halle personally so while I certainly can't speak to her individual experience I can speak to how I looked at her and how all of my friends looked at her in high school. My female friends (black and white) and I thought she was gorgeous and wanted to look like her while my male friends (black and white) had massive crushes on her and wanted to date her. Curious also that she left out the fact she was elected Prom Queen by the entire student body, black and white."

Rob C.: "She's crazy, Bedford wasn't all white. I grew up in Bedford and Bedford heights 35 years, there are plenty of black folks then and still are."

Shannon T:  "I remember everyone always being in awww of Hallie. She was always gorgeous and everyone seemed to look up to her."

James D.: "Bullsh*t, She was in my art class at Bedford HS, I talked to her everyday, she was a cheerleader too and treated like a queen! I always had respect for her until now!"

Jeff A.: "I remembered reading an article 10 or more years ago where she stated the same things."

Cheryl M.: "She gave an interview on Lifetime about 20 years ago claiming all the same stuff"

Dawn T: "Halle is whining for attention. If she wanted to change the way things are she would be doing something, anything, for kids in her home town. She could easily afford to give a lot, but she doesn't. What has she done in the last thirty years to help Bedford cheerleaders? Any scholarships for local disadvantaged girls? Has she built a playground? A shelter? Put any Oakwood kids through college? Seriously? What has she done for the biracial kids walking the path that was so tough for her?"

Erna B.: "She is not telling truth as she was Prom Queen voted by the entire class. Bedford schools have always been mix and everyone was happy was pretty friendly."

Paul T.: "Class of 84. We were at least 40/60 and never heard anything other than how pretty she was. She was our prom queen in 84. Hollywood distorts things."

Cindy K:  "I know her very well. This is another 'Hollywood' story that makes for a good interview. She was NEVER picked on! She was popular and very outgoing... Years ago in another interview, she said she was beaten by a high school boyfriend and went deaf because of it, that never happened! On Oprah, she said she was accused of "stuffing" the ballot box because she won prom queen, that never happened! She tied with Vicki and won the coin toss! See the pattern here?"

Karen Z.: "I totally agree. She was popular. She was a cheerleader in the band as a flag girl I believe. Everyone likes her. It's all a story to get people to feel sorry for her. So sad she has to act that way."

Wendy P.: "This isn't the first time she has LIED about Bedford- 10 years ago in a Cosmo article she talked about how she experienced racism- I gaduated in '81 she graduated a couple years later w/my sister and my dad was her mailman- as previously stated she was super popular, all the guys wanted to date her, all the girls wanted to be her, I don' t know why she continues to say this- maybe for attention but I hate that it makes Bedford look bad"

Debbie M.: "Bedford was 35% minority when she attended. Being the principals daughter, I was called every name in the book. I had one student, who only knew who I was because I was "bud's daughter" call me bit*h every single day in the hallway. I had bottles and rocks thrown through my house windows. Bomb threats were called to my home. That's discrimination. But I dealt with it and I've never boo-hooed about it all over the media/Facebook. My brother was one of her best friends. He will attest that she is exaggerating. She needs to find something new to try to regain the spotlight."


On and on and on it went, with some people even including pictures:

To understand the reasons for the fury, a bit of the backstory is required. Halle graduated from Bedford High School in northeast Ohio in 1984 (two years behind me). During her tenure at BHS, she was class president, a cheerleader, editor of the school newspaper, and prom queen. We were in the band together during my senior year (she was a flag girl), so I saw her nearly every day at school. She was well-liked by students of all races and I don't recall anyone ever saying an unkind word about her. People knew she was modeling and in pageants, which gave her semi-celebrity status at the school. At the time blacks made up about 15-20 percent of the 1500-member student body (maybe more), which was higher than the general population in the U.S. at the time.


Monday, August 14, 2017

Why School Choice is Good for All Children

Anti-school choice activists often argue that charter school expansion hurts existing schools, but a new study of New York City schools found that new charter schools are increasing the performance of schools around them.

The peer-reviewed statistical analysis, conducted by Temple University professor Sarah Cordes, indicates charter schools are not only helping the students enrolled, but also students at schools that feel pressured to increase performance due to their close proximity to a new charter school.

The study found that schools located within half a mile of a new charter school saw increased scores in both math and reading, and the increases become more significant the closer the schools were. The impact was felt most in situations where a charter school opened inside the same building as an existing school.

“The closer the school is, the more it’s on the minds of the people in the building,” Cordes explainedto The 74, an education nonprofit.


Too politically correct? Board drops 'Lynch' from school names

A school board in Portland, Ore., has dropped “Lynch” from the names of two elementary schools, claiming it had negative connotations and made some people feel uncomfortable.

The move Wednesday evening by the Centennial School District’s board also included a slight alteration to the name of a third school.

But the move has sparked criticism, including on social media, from some community residents and former students. They claim the board’s decision is a sign of political correctness running amok.

The district had received complaints in recent years that the names of Lynch Meadows Elementary School, Lynch View Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School reminded them too much of “lynch mobs” and “lynchings,” conjuring the image of people being hanged by an angry mob, KATU reported.

All three schools were named after the Lynch family, who donated land for the schools more than a century ago.

There’s disagreement over the derivation of “lynch mob” and “lynching.” Some say it started with an 18th century politician named Charles Lynch, NPR reported. Others link the words to Capt. William Lynch, an 18th century Virginian who was a proponent of quickly dispensed “justice” – although accounts vary.

Complaints suggested that the names of Lynch Meadows Elementary School, Lynch View Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School could make people feel uncomfortable as the word "lynch" has negative associations.

On Wednesday, the school board agreed to drop Lynch from both Lynch Meadows and Lynch Wood Elementary. But it agreed to rename Lynch View Elementary as Patrick Lynch Elementary School, KOIN 6 reported.

As Sharlene Giard, the school board’s chairwoman, told the community Wednesday: “We have children of color and other cultures and we want to make sure that they are able to cross the threshold of those three schools and be comfortable in their surroundings.”

“I’m just disheartened because where will it stop?” one local resident said, according to KOIN 6. “Any moment someone could be offended by any name. Do we keep changing the name of everything? That would be the question, right?"

“It’s official. We are now Meadows Elementary School. I won’t change the name of the group!” wrote Andrea Vaughn in a Facebook group called Lynch Meadows Elementary School Alumni.

Another former student, Rob Grimes, criticized the school district on its Facebook page, calling the board’s decision “pure ignorance.” He accused the board of disrespecting the Lynch family that donated the land.

"This isn't even a matter of political correctness because it wouldn't apply or make sense in this case,” Grimes wrote. “This is just pure ignorance and playing to the fears or concerns of the very few.”


Rich Arabs drawn to British private schools

This should be a beneficial Westernizing influence

Britain’s most prestigious schools are set to welcome a fresh intake of international students in the next three weeks as the 2017/18 academic year gets underway. Enrollments in British schools from the Middle East rose by almost 14 percent over the last year, according to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).

From the £39,000-a-year ($50,000) Harrow School, where many of the Jordanian royal family were educated, to Eton College, previously attended by royals including Kuwait’s Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah – British public schools have long been popular with the region’s wealthy elite.

They are increasingly being joined by students from Asia.
Chinese students make up the highest proportion of overseas pupils by far, with the number of Chinese pupils in UK private schools increasing by more than 190 percent in the past 10 years.

According to Knight Frank’s 2017 Wealth Report, the number of ultra-high net worth individuals worldwide – including the Middle East — has jumped by 42 percent in the last decade to 193,000, and these super-rich are looking overseas to educate their children.

In a survey of nearly 900 private bankers and wealth advisers, 40 percent with clients in the Middle East said the super-rich individuals they work with – earning $30 million or over – are more likely to look overseas for a good school for their children than to educate them in their own country.

Liam Bailey, global head of research, Knight Frank, told Arab News: “The UK has been always been a preferred choice for education and, as more wealth is created, around the world there are more parents who can afford this education.”

Bailey said that as economies have become more globalized, “the benefits of an English education have become more important.” He added: “UK schools have become more diverse over time and are now seen as a place to build international networks for students.”

Quirk also said he has witnessed more parents from the Middle East region requesting impartial advice on boarding school choices over the past five years. He said: “While the majority of our inquiries used to be from British expats, recent years have seen us receive a growing number of advice requests from Middle Eastern parents. We also receive almost weekly requests from people looking to leverage our expertise and start their own education advice businesses in the Middle East region.”

Quirk said he expected the UK’s schools to welcome many more Middle East students in the coming years because the market for global education has matured rapidly in the region. “Parents are much more well-informed than they used to be, and want to provide the best possible education for their children.

There are plenty of international schools in the Middle East, but parents are becoming increasingly aware that these rarely match the academic achievements and extra-curricular opportunities set by their UK counterparts. There is also so much more choice in the UK, so they can find a school which is the best match for their child’s ability and aspirations.”

Quirk added that the students themselves are more interested in studying overseas than they were a generation ago. “The Internet and globalization has seen to that and needs no further explanation. Middle East students know the UK is a great place to come for both their academic and personal development.”

According to Dean Hoke, co-founder and principal of Edu Alliance, a higher education consulting firm based in Abu Dhabi, the UK education system is reaping the spoils of being a major influence in the GCC region “for the past 150 years”.

He said: “Many of the leaders of the region attended British schools and universities over the years and the quality of British education is held in high regard. To this day the UK is still a desirable international location for their children to attend school if they are not staying in their home country.”


Sunday, August 13, 2017

UK: University 'free for all' to sign up students - regardless of exam results

Universities have been accused of allowing admissions to descend into a “free for all” after it emerged that school leavers are increasingly being offered places regardless of their exam results.

Figures obtained by the Telegraph show that  unconditional offers at some of Britain’s leading institutions have more than doubled over the past five years.

It comes amid fierce competition among universities to attract students, with top institutions preparing to drastically lower their entry grades to entice school-leavers during the “clearing” process, as they scrabble to fill their remaining places after A-level results are released next week.

Birmingham University handed out 1,003 unconditional offers to British students in 2012/13, which had more than doubled by 2016/17

The lifting of student number controls in England in 2015 gave universities free rein to recruit as many undergraduates as they see fit - but the move has led to accusations that they now act like businesses, seeking to maximise their revenue


The perversity of protecting students from adult relationships

Full disclosure: Reader, I married him. In December 1982, six months after graduating, I married a member of the academic faculty at the university that had awarded my degree. There was no scandal, no allegations of abuse. Yes, the relationship was ‘inequitable’. He was older, salaried and more powerful; a man who commanded status in the world. I had just started my first real job and was still amazed that taramasalata could look so much like strawberry Angel Delight.

But did I feel unequal in my relationship? Not one jot. At 22, I felt like an adult capable of making my own decisions, and acting on them and living with the consequences. (I’m still living with the consequences of this particular decision, 34 years later.) If anyone had suggested to me that the man I looked up to and loved was abusing or manipulating me, I would have been aghast. Bollocks to unconscious coercion and ‘invisible handcuffs’, I had a reasonable expectation he looked up to and loved me, too. Power relations and dependence in personal relationships have a strange dynamic that doesn’t always mirror professional status.

How times have changed. For today’s female students, male faculty members are totally off-limits. It’s not simply to do with rules about professional conduct and definitions of moral turpitude. Any male professor would have to be out of his mind to take the chance that my husband took with me. It matters not who makes the first move, or whether consent is freely given – because consent can be withdrawn and willing behaviour redefined as assault years later.

In her new book, Unwanted Advances, Laura Kipnis explains how this has come to be. She provides a forensic, ruthless interrogation of allegations made by a 25-year-old grad student against a philosophy professor. He was subsequently stripped of his chair, following her allegation of sex without consent one night during a relationship that lasted for many months after the alleged offence. The mutual intimacy of the relationship was documented in hundreds of texts and emails, some of which talked of a future life together.

There was no explicit allegation of rape. Rather, the student claimed that she woke up, after a night out drinking, naked in bed with no clear memory how she got there. Apparently, it was evident that sex had taken place. The day after she texted the alleged perp saying she loved him and would always be in his life. It was not until two years after the relationship ended that the student mentioned the sexual episode to her supervisor, who reported it to the university authorities triggering a process that unravelled a professor’s academic reputation and led to his resignation.

So raw are the nerves touched by discussions of sexual relations on campus, that when Kipnis criticised the investigation in this case, it prompted an investigation into whether she was herself, by criticising the investigation, creating ‘a hostile environment on campus’. Kafkaesque, or what?

Kipnis argues that ‘the more that colleges devote themselves to creating Safe Spaces, the new campus watchword, the more dangerous campuses have become for professors, and the less education itself becomes anyone’s priority’. It’s not just about behaviour out of hours. As Kipnis notes, ‘nearly every academic I know – that includes feminists, progressives, minorities and those who identify as gay or queer – now lives in fear of some classroom incident spiralling into professional disaster’. She cites an Ivy League law professor whose students won’t attend classes on rape law and a sociologist who no longer lectures on abortion. A ‘Dear Colleague’ letter from Kipnis’ own college administration cautioned faculty not to refer unnecessarily to body parts during teaching. In no possible way is this good for any student.

Unwanted Advances is an unapologetic challenge to the growing consensus that we should believe, by default, what an accuser says. And it has angered the many who feel women are punished for reporting abuse. But whatever you feel about the principle of ‘victim-believing’, Kipnis’ immersion in the whirlpool of allegations made under Title IX sex-discrimination statutes in the US leaves you unsure who the victims are and where power lies.

In a 2014 Washington Post opinion piece, activist and commentator Zerlina Maxwell argued that ‘the costs of wrongly disbelieving a survivor far outweigh the costs of calling someone a rapist’. But is that true when rape is defined as ‘sex I can’t remember’, and the accused can be sanctioned, stripped of salary and dismissed on the basis of little more than management’s opinion?

Sex is muddled and confusing a lot of the time. The sexual environment today is especially confusing. Kipnis describes two parallel narratives: ‘The first story is all about license: hooking up, binge-drinking, porn-watching.’ She notes her students ‘talk knowingly about “anal” and funnily about “dormcest”... They’re junior libertines, nothing sexual is alien to them.’ But that coexists with the narrative that ‘sex is dangerous; it can traumatise you for life’. She is right that this is not a happy combination.

Who knows if students are having sex differently today? Regardless, of whether they are or not, the emphasis has changed. Shifting the stress from pleasure to danger and vulnerability not only changes the narrative, but also the way sex is experienced. Kipnis observes that ‘we’re social creatures… and narratives are how we make sense of the world’. She continues: ‘If the prevailing story is that sex is dangerous, sex is going to feel threatening more of the time, and anything associated with sex, no matter how innocuous (a risqué remark, a dumb joke) will feel threatening.’

Kipnis does not claim that there are no assaults on campus. She does not claim that professors never abuse their power. She does not claim that women are to blame when they are raped. Nowhere does she excuse sexual violence. And yet she has faced fierce criticism for writing this book.

It is bizarre that Kipnis is accused of being anti-feminist, since her main point is that the major problem with the current zeitgeist is that it all but ignores female agency (he ‘got me’ drunk; he ‘had sex’ with me) and infantilises women by presenting them as incapable of judgement or control over their actions. She finds it bizarre that decades after the term ‘assertiveness training’ became common currency, female students feel they can’t say to a man, ‘No, I don’t want another drink’, or ‘Get your hand off my knee’.

Kipnis is right that ‘someone has to do a lot better job of educating these women’. Nowhere does she argue that sexual abusers should not be held to account. But she does suggest that we can do better than to expect a faceless administration to deal with abusers through bureaucratic channels. No student should ever feel obliged to trade sexual favours for grades or recognition, but nor should faculty members fear the consequences of treating students as the adults they are.

And perhaps we all need to keep sex in perspective. I’m totally with Kipnis when she muses: ‘When I look back on it now, I wonder who I’d have become without all the bad sex, the flawed teachers and the liberty to make mistakes… Making our own sexual choices (sometimes even terrible ones), can be painful but no semblance of gender equality is ever going to be possible without it.’


Australian schoolchildren BANNED from inviting friends to church

Kids ordered to stop 'recruiting' classmates to religious events - but they can now send Christmas cards with Jesus on them

Schoolchildren in Queensland could be banned from inviting their classmates to religious events, but will be allowed to hand out Christmas cards in the playground.

The Queensland government had been moving to ban Christian references in the state's schools - including sharing Yuletide messages - as part of an unofficial policy taking aim at young evangelists, The Australian reported last month. 

The idea was widely criticised by religious groups and has now been scrapped, with the Department of Education turning its attention to religious 'recruitment' on school grounds.

A revised version of the Department's review of Religious Instruction Materials warns that students should not be encouraged by teachers to invite their peers to religious classes.

'Instructors should not direct students in their [Religious Instruction] class to try to recruit other students to RI,' the review, released on Thursday, states.

'This is not in accordance with a parents' right to choose whether their child experiences the messages delivered in RI.

'Children in our schools come from diverse backgrounds and it is important that RI instructors encourage respectful relationships.'

Examples had been found where religious students had been told to recruit others, the review said.

'RI instructors should be reminded in the notes that students should not be encouraged to recruit other students at the school,' it read.

The focus on 'recruiting' and apparent backdown on 'evangelising' - explained in the reviews as sharing Jesus-themed Christmas cards and making bracelets to share 'the good news about Jesus' - has caused confusion.

Education Minister Kate Jones and religious groups have asked for further clarity as to what constitutes 'recruitment' in the schoolyard.

'What conduct would it encompass? Is ''recruitment'' meant to cover such innocuous statements as ''my church youth group is fun, come along''?' Mark Fowler, who represents religious groups and charities, told The Australian.