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George Washington University students are getting tired of waiting for the school to hire a new Title IX coordinator, even as it covers its “legal bases” regarding sexual assault with a lawyer, according to an editorial in the GW Hatchet.

The so-called “student advocate” is much more than a campus bureaucrat, said the editorial:

GW is still without a replacement for Tara Pereira, the former deputy Title IX coordinator who left her post last December.

When Pereira stepped down, students advocates were concerned they had lost their go-to administrator for sexual assault resources and support. Students across campus saw her as a higher-up who made the University feel accessible and the judicial process manageable.

For all those reasons, Pereira set a precedent during her time as deputy Title IX coordinator: By acting as a comforting figure to survivors, she was much more than a GW official.

The school showed a CYA mentality in its hiring decisions, the editorial says:

Five months after Pereira’s departure, the University hired a higher education consultant to identify gaps in GW’s sexual assault policies – reflecting a nationwide trend as schools look to safeguard themselves against litigation. …

Outside consultant Ann Franke was not hired to serve as a student ally. GW brought her on to temporarily assist Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion Terri Harris Reed, who ensures the University is in compliance with the anti-discrimination law Title IX.

Even if Reed, Franke and others are able to cover Pereira’s formal duties, the lack of a permanent successor sends a message to a student body: Choosing a lawyer before a student advocate implies that the University is taking care of itself before it takes care of survivors.

Read the full editorial here.

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The former president of George Washington University was on to something when he proposed in a controversial radio interview that women on campus “need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave.”

While Stephen Tractenberg was talking about women controlling their liquor intake, the University of Oregon is mulling whether to train women to kick ass in any situation.

The school’s new review panel on sexual misconduct had an open meeting last week where it considered suggestions for dealing with assault. According to Around the O, the school’s official news service:

Several speakers also called for more and better self-defense training for women. Samantha Krop, a UO graduate student and founding member of the Eugene-based Warrior Sisters Society, said the university only offers a single self-defense class for women, a for-credit PE class. She said education is necessary but takes time and steps need to be taken to help women protect themselves in the interim.

“What we’re seeing is that while we’re doing the education and cultural work, women are getting hurt,” Krop said.

Later, self-defense trainer Ryan Kelly echoed those feelings. He said research has not shown that education efforts actually reduce the number of attacks on women but that defense training has. [emphasis added]

As you might expect, most of the other recommendations include “education” of some kind. They include:

  • a required “sexual ethics” class for freshmen, rather than “short workshops”
  • some other “required course put together by faculty and staff with expertise in the subject”
  • “regular floor meetings and increased staffing to allow more one-to-one discussions between students and resident assistants”
  • Collaborating with “K-12 schools to help dispel the misperceptions about college life many youngsters acquire before they arrive on campus”

For students griping that the first meeting happened before the school year started at UO, they can submit comments here.

Read the full school writeup of the meeting here.

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From The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla.:

Fist bumping spreads significantly fewer bacteria than the other methods, a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control reports. The researchers were from the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyh University in Wales.

Trials were done in which people wearing sterile gloves dipped a gloved hand into a germ-containing container, then made different types of hand contact with others who wore sterile gloves.

Fist bumping won hands down over the others.

As far as public health campaigns go, this one sounds more credible than guilt-tripping college students for smoking a hookah while doing homework.

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IMAGE: Jay Malone/Flickr

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Campus president calls stunt ‘well-intentioned’ and ‘theoretically positive’

The student who hung “White Only” and “Colored” signs on doors and water fountains in a dormitory at Sweet Briar College last Thursday isn’t a racist – she’s a social justice crusader trying to “make a point.”

Yep, barely a week into the fall 2014 semester, and we’ve already got our first official hate crime hoax of the school year.

On Thursday, the president of Sweet Briar College, an all-female liberal arts college in Virginia, sent out a gravely worded announcement about the incident.

“Sometime between 8 and 10:30 this morning, four labels, made with a label-maker, were affixed to doors and the water cooler on the fourth floor of Meta Glass,” wrote President James Jones. “As difficult as this is to believe, two of the labels read ‘White Only,’ and two ‘Colored.’ ”

Jones goes on to note that:

 … we [may] have among us someone who is essentially bigoted and mean-spirited who would recall the Jim Crow days of separation, mirroring the apartheid of South Africa that summoned the calm voice of reason of Nelson Mandela to decry hatred and to seek to change one’s immediate environment for the better.

On the other, perhaps more theoretically positive: Someone … sought to use the old, abusive words to remind us that while such terms were part of the historical past, some of the emotions lurking behind the words might still linger in a few.

Leave it to the president of a liberal arts college to try and spin this idiotic stunt into some sort of teachable moment.

At any rate, the vandal emailed in a mea culpa of sorts to President Jones a day later which read in part:

While posting these extremely hurtful labels, I had one thing in mind. My mission was to show others that words can still have an extreme impact, and the past still resonates with us all. While moving forward, we can never really shake the past. The past is a part of us and we are a part of the past. While they did not necessarily know this before, we are all equal and nobody deserves to be treated unfairly. I was trying to make a point, but the point ended up “making me”…now everyone has ideas on what type of person that I am. I am none of these things….I am myself, I am caring and kind. I am the last person who would ever intentionally hurt someone else, but most of all, I am sorry!

In response, President Jones has asked her to turn herself in and adds that her hoax was well intentioned. 

What has occurred on our College campus since Thursday morning points directly to the fact that sometimes our actions and words, no matter how well intentioned, backfire unexpectedly and inflict pain, hurt, and suffering upon others around us.

The vandalism was justified in part by President Jones in his two letters to the campus community because the school hosted a play during freshman orientation called “In Sweet Remembrancethat delved into the 113-year-old college’s segregated past. The signs were hung the day after the play debuted on campus.

Interesting how a play of that nature ended up helping cause chaos and strife within the community it aimed to teach. Before this student fessed up, the student government president condemned the signs as “dehumanizing” and a blogger called students at the school “little, ignorant f*cks.”

At any rate, this incident will be added to the very long and ever-growing list of campus hate crime hoaxes:

March 24, 2014: The Grand Valley State University student who found racist graffiti on her dorm room door’s whiteboard in mid-February is the same person who put it there, police have determined.

November 27, 2013: Hate Crime Hoax Exposed at Vassar College

March 6, 2013: Oberlin College: Alleged ‘KKK figure’ possibly just a ‘person wrapped in a blanket’

July 3, 2012: A lesbian student who received threatening notes–which provoked the campus to host a tolerance rally in her name–fabricated the whole ordeal.

Here’s more on that, from College Fix reporter Blake Seitz writing in National Review Online in December:

The UGA case bears more than passing similarity to “hate-crime hoaxes,” anonymous attacks that are perpetrated not by racists or homophobes but by radical activists impersonating them. Recent incidents at VassarOberlinCentral Connecticut State, and the University of Wyoming are illustrative. “Hoaxes” even have precedent at UGA, where in 1998 it was discovered that a series of homophobic threats and arsons had been committed by their ostensible target, Jerry Kennedy, who is gay. He was charged with three years of probation.

And on and on it goes.

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Robert Weissberg at The Pope Center has a different take on the controversy surrounding Steven Salaita, the (Palestinian) professor whose job offer at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign was revoked following disclosure of controversial anti-Jewish and Israel tweets.

Weissberg avoids that issue, as well as that involving possible breach of contract. Instead, he ponders Salaita’s qualifications to teach that for which he was hired: American Indian Studies.

The offensive tweets or incivility are irrelevant. Killing the appointment should have been about scholarly qualifications and why the American Indian Studies Program failed to uphold high standards. Deans and trustees should have asked why somebody who wrote six books on Arab and Middle Eastern politics but not a single opus on Native Americans is hired in American Indian Studies.

Or why excellent teaching reviews from courses involving the Middle East are taken as evidence for teaching courses on American Indians. And surely a trustee could have said that a web search for his vita uncovered just a single journalist rant about Native Americans —- a plea that the United States should return all Indian land.

The trustees are not guilty of violating free speech; their sin is cowardice in overseeing the faculty. They did not perform their job.

… I personally would love to see how the Illinois Indian American Studies Program finessed the question of how Salaita compares to comparable scholars in American Indian studies at this stage in his career, a stock question in such reviews.

Read the full article here.

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Judicial Watch Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the University of California Board of Regents seeking to put an end to “in-state tuition and financial aid to undocumented students.”

The Daily Bruin reports:

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Earl De Vries who was a former Republican candidate in the California State Senate, claims that federal law prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving state or local benefits such as in-state tuition for the UC, according to a press release Thursday.

Under the U.S. code Title VIII. 1621, undocumented immigrants are ineligible for state benefits unless the state has enacted a law that provides eligibility for those benefits. The lawsuit alleges that California has not enacted such a law for the UC.

About 900 students at the UC are identified as undocumented as of 2013. The lawsuit estimates that about $30 million is given to undocumented students every year.

The suit appears to face an uphill battle as Assembly Bill 540, which was passed in 2001, “grants in-state tuition for undocumented students and applies to the California State University and California Community Colleges systems.”

AB 540 was previously challenged in 2006, and was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 2010. The current challenge claims that “that those voluntary (UC) adoptions of state laws do not equal to actual state laws that make undocumented students eligible for in-state tuition.”

Read the full article here.

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