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A year after the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak debuted at Wake Forest University, students are giving it mixed reviews, the Old Gold & Black reports:

“Yik Yak is garbage,” said junior, Dakota Lee. “It rebuilds the walls that anti-bullying campaigns have spent years tearing down, and promotes general campus division.”

Still, some Wake students feel the app is harmless. “Yik Yak gives complete attention to the words being said without judging the person who says them,” said junior, Jack Hickman.

But according to many students, the bad outweighs the good.

“I had to delete Yik Yak,” said senior, Daniel Buchen. “I felt like for every insightful comment, I had to read through 12 personal attacks on people and organizations. And I hated thinking people I go to school with are that shallow and petty.”

The paper quotes an op-ed from The Collegian at Kenyon College, picked up by the Huffington Post, which used rape-culture language to describe Yik Yak. The author is speaking about a theft of “Take Back the Night” supplies from the campus women’s center following a “threat” on Yik Yak:

[I'm] Scared because for reasons I can’t explain, women are being targeted with a vulgarity and vigor that I can’t believe is happening on a campus that I thought was respectful, thoughtful, and safe. …

When you turn to a platform like Yik Yak, I don’t think you actually care about change. You care about making your victims feel as small and as unsafe as possible. And it’s working.

Read the Old Gold & Black article and Kenyon Collegian article.

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IMAGE: Yik Yak

 

“The number of federal investigations into how colleges handle sexual violence reports has jumped 50 percent in the past six months,” the Washington Post reports:

On May 1, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights released the first public list of colleges and universities under scrutiny for possible violations of federal law in their responses to sexual violence allegations.

At the time, 59 cases were pending at 55 schools. As of this week, 89 cases are pending at 85 schools.

In other news, the number of lawsuits filed against universities in recent years alleging due process and other violations in adjudicating sexual assault has hit a new high as well, reaching 44 as of Oct. 8, according to a tally kept by A Voice for Male Students.

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IMAGE: GrafixTek/Flickr

h/t: Drudge Report

It’s shocking to think that parents can pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 a year to send their child to college and yet not have the right to find out how their kid is doing in school. But that’s the law.

There’s largely no such thing as back-to-school nights or parent-teacher conferences at colleges because the federal government apparently needs to protect wide-eyed young students from their concerned parents.

“Under the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or Ferpa, professors cannot speak about the academic performance of any college student without the student’s prior consent,” notes John J. Miller in the Wall Street Journal, adding that because of the law, professors are alsoforbidden to discuss grades with prospective employers. We’re banned from describing classroom habits with potential internship sponsors. And we can’t review test scores with moms and dads. It doesn’t matter who pays the tuition.”

The end result does a disservice to both students and parents. Consider the benefits at a college that does allow such interaction.

“My school is different: Hillsdale College refuses to accept federal aid so it doesn’t have to comply with Ferpa. We also see parents as partners. Meeting them serves the interests of our students and makes me a better professor,” explains Miller, a journalism professor at the small, private liberal-arts university in southern Michigan.

He goes on to describe how he will spend today – meeting with parents in 10-minute intervals at Hillsdale’s annual Parents Weekend:

Think of it like speed dating, except that I’ll hand out syllabi rather than phone numbers, though I’ll hand out those as well, in case parents ever want to call me. I’ll also describe my courses and explain what I hope to achieve. …

After we go over classroom performance, the conversation usually opens up. We discuss the interests and aptitudes of students and what these may suggest about vocations and careers. For a small liberal-arts college like mine, where we not only brag about small professor-student ratios but also believe in their value, these sorts of interactions are an important part of how we accomplish our mission. …

Last year, I met the parents of a promising senior. They told me something that triggered a thought. So I called a professional acquaintance and urged him to meet the student over Christmas break. Today, she is working for him. If Ferpa had regulated parent-teacher conversations on my campus, the encounter that made her current success possible probably would not have happened.

Many of my students grumble about parent-teacher conferences, thinking that they hark back to coddling in elementary school. This is an understandable frustration. At college, students want to taste the freedoms of adulthood, and perhaps even escape the clutches of “helicopter parents” who still think they should sign homework slips.

Yet the occasional overbearing parent is much better than an ever-present nanny state that tries to dictate the relationships between professors and parents from the remote precincts of the Education Department.

Read the full article.

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A steering committee at Dartmouth University is considering recommendations for the president and trustees, and one thing is certain: “the only action in line with our principles of community” is to “abolish the Greek system,” The Dartmouth editorial board wrote Friday:

[O]ur “Animal House” reputation is well-earned. For many, Greek life takes precedence over academics. It is an investment (perhaps a risky one), a path to acceptance, friends, sex, drugs, love and jobs.

The editorial recounts a parade of horribles that have given Dartmouth’s Greek system a black eye for 30 years:

It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students — the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclassmen, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends.

Given that half the school is Greek, abolishing the system won’t be easy, but it “would offer Dartmouth a chance to rebuild its social life from the ground up”:

Hundreds of leaders have tried to reform and change Greek life to be more inclusive, safe and fun for more people. But consider the implications of this — each year, hundreds of student leaders pour their energy and time into what boils down to social life. Imagine what we could accomplish as a student body if these student leaders cared so deeply about something else.

Read the Dartmouth editorial.

h/t greg

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Referring to a lesbian character as having a “perverse attraction to the same sex” and a “barren womb” got a student at the University of New Mexico kicked out of her film class.

A federal judge has now approved her First Amendment lawsuit against the school to go forward, the Albuquerque Journal reports, rejecting the school’s claim that professor Caroline Hinckley’s action against Monica Pompeo was “reasonably related to legitimate pedagogic concerns”:

The lawsuit alleges Hinkley violated her own syllabus, which called for “open minds” to examine “representations of a plethora of genders and sexualities.” Instead, Pompeo says, Hinkley accused her of resorting to “hate speech” and refused to grade her paper. The professor also made it clear that it would be in Pompeo’s best interests not to return to the class, Pompeo alleges.

Later, Pompeo met with Hinkley’s supervisor, Susan Dever, chairwoman of the cinematic arts department. Pompeo was told that the use of “barren” was both inappropriate and offensive.

The upshot of the meeting was that Pompeo was forced to drop Hinkley’s class and instead take an independent studies class under Dever.

Oh, so it all worked out, right?

According to Pompeo’s lawsuit, however, she fared no better under Dever, who allegedly threatened her with repercussions for using certain language, specifically the word “barren.”

Judge Christina Armijo questioned whether a “university can have a legitimate pedagogical interest in inviting students to engage in ‘incendiary’ and provocative speech on a topic and then punishing a student because he or she did just that.”

Read the Journal article.

h/t Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

 

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It what has to be one of the greatest examples of the twisted “logic” of political correctness, a transgender student at Wellesley College has been roundly shunned for a school leadership position.

Timothy Boatwright was born a female, and indicated such when he applied for admission to Wellesley. But after arrival on campus, he introduced himself as a “’masculine-of-center genderqueer’ person named ‘Timothy,’” and asked that folks use male pronouns when referring to him.

This wasn’t an issue … until the day Timothy decided to run for the position of multicultural affairs coordinator.

Katherine Timpf at National Review Online reports:

… some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.

“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the student behind the so-called “Campaign to Abstain” said.

“It’s not just about that position either,” the student added. “Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”

Boatwright identified himself as female on his Wellesley application “because he didn’t want his mom to know [about him being transgender].”

Nevertheless, one would think that a “progressive” campus like Wellesley would be welcoming to a transgender student, no matter what gender he or she identifies with.

Perhaps one day there will be a manual which points out the politically correct “hierarchy” — when it’s OK and not OK to favor/oppose an “historically oppressed” group. Or something.

Read the full article.

Original New York Times article.

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