Dominic Lynch - Loyola University Chicago

A gross new Twitter trend is causing concern among parents, college administrators and even some students.

So-called “pass out pages,” specific to each college but in no way affiliated with them, are popping up on the social media site, filled with photos of inebriated students in various poses at parties and other spots on campus.

Some feature students with their heads in toilets, while others are passed out on lawns or bear sharpie tattoos or bad haircuts after a night of hard partying. Winona State University, Illinois State University, University of Georgia, Purdue University, Kansas State University and North Carolina State University are just a few of the schools represented.

It appears most of the accounts, which are moderated anonymously, invite users to tweet photos they have taken of passed-out students to the page, and then the moderator retweets each post, sometimes with sarcastic and derogatory captions. In many photos, students’ faces are clearly identifiable and many of them appear to be under 21.

North Carolina State University senior Drew Warash told WNCN News that he looks at the photos and has posted some, too.

“Hopefully it will teach them a lesson,” Warash said. “Maybe they can learn how to hold their alcohol a little bit better and won’t be in that situation again.”

Holly Steffl, a junior at Minnesota State University, told NBC’s Minneapolis affiliate KARE that she’s not comfortable with her university’s page: “It was really alarming and I thought people should know this is out there.”

There is little that students depicted in the photos can do to get them taken down. Twitter is under no obligation to remove the photo of a third party, said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman in an email to The College Fix.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was passed in 1996, limits the liability of websites that publish material from third parties except for copyright infringement. Under the law, Twitter cannot be held liable for the third-party content that appears on it, including ridiculous photos of drunk, and even underage, college kids.

Twitter’s terms of service reflect Section 230: “All Content, whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, is the sole responsibility of the person who originated such Content. We may not monitor or control the Content posted via the Services and, we [sic] cannot take responsibility for such Content.”

Translation: we’re not responsible for your stupidity.

“Publishing a ‘private’ photo might constitute a privacy violation or a tortious infliction of emotional distress,” Goldman said, meaning a student depicted in a photo could sue the user who posted it under state law. “However, successful lawsuits of that nature are exceptionally rare,” he said, adding that he didn’t know of any suit filed against a pass-out page.

Goldman also dispelled the notion that students who find themselves on these pages can request that their photos be removed.

“Ordinarily, the person who takes a photograph owns the copyright. So the person depicted in a photo rarely owns the copyright (unless it’s a selfie),” Goldman added.

One exception could involve a student depicted in a pass-out photo acquiring the copyright from the owner – such as by paying for it – and then filing a takedown notice with the publisher, such as Twitter, Goldman said, pointing to a 2012 lawsuit in New York. But that depends on the publisher’s terms of service, he said.

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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IMAGE: NCSU Passouts screenshot

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Northwestern University adds to list of more than 150 campuses with gender-open restrooms nationwide

EVANSTON, ILL. – Northwestern University will offer “gender-open restrooms” to its students this fall.

“We are trying to be responsive to the needs of all of our students and to be inclusive,” campus spokesman Bob Rowley said in an email to The College Fix. “This is becoming a common occurrence on campuses across the U.S.”

At Northwestern, the two sex-segregated bathrooms to be changed will simply have their front door placards replaced to reflect the transition – no major renovations are planned. The bathrooms are located on the third floor of the university’s main building that serves as the campus hub.

Northwestern joins the estimated 150 campuses across the nation that now offer some sort of gender-open restrooms, also called gender-neutral, unisex, or all-gender bathrooms, according to a tally by the LGTBQ group Stonewall at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. GORestroom

But while advocates convey them as mostly “single-stall, lockable restrooms available to people of all genders,” it’s clear many are also sex-segregated bathrooms converted to open-gender ones, as is the case at Northwestern.

The concern among some female students who now must share restrooms with anatomically male students is apparently not significant enough to put the brakes on these transitions.

“We received overwhelmingly positive information, and so we went with it,” Devin Moss, the director of Northwestern’s LGBTQ Resource Center, told the Daily Northwestern. “We didn’t really get any major concerns.”

According to a survey by the resource center, which occupies the third floor where the new restrooms are located, people who frequent those bathrooms were “mostly comfortable” with the transition, the university states on its website.

The open-gender campus restroom trend mirrors newly approved state laws that force school officials to allow students to use whatever bathroom they prefer, depending on what gender with which they identify, laws most notably found in California and Maryland.

“Certain people feel threatened in single-sex bathrooms based on their presumed sexual orientation rather than gender identity,” Stonewall has stated.

“Students have faced gay-baiting comments in our university’s sex-segregated bathrooms,” the group added. “Men’s bathrooms may be particular sites for this sort of harassment because of their image as queer cruising grounds.”

Northwestern plans to expand its “inclusive” floorplans.

“Gender open restrooms are also planned for the new parking structure … and the new Kellogg School of Management building,” the Daily Northwestern student newspaper reports.

Earlier this month, Illinois State University converted its “all family” restrooms to “all gender” restrooms by changing their signage, “a move Michael Shane McCreery of the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity, Ethics and Access said ‘evidences the university’s efforts to have an inclusive environment,’” the Huffington Post reported.

That article, published July 18 and headlined “Gender-Neutral Bathrooms Are Quietly Becoming The New Thing At Colleges,” also reported that disability rights activists have come out in support of gender-neutral bathrooms.

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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Two Wisconsin watchdog groups report that taxpayers foot the bill for dozens of university students and faculty to attend a white privilege conference that included sessions on “The Pitfalls of Working with White People” and suggestions that President Bush took money away from New Orleans levees “because they protected black people.”

In sum, at least $50,000 from taxpayer-funded public universities in Wisconsin went to help fund the fifteenth annual White Privilege Conference held in Madison, Wis., in late March.

The data was obtained through public records act requests.

The MacIver Institute reports that the public University of Wisconsin-La Crosse spent $26,000 to send 23 faculty and 91 students to the event. Money was also used by University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, which spent more than $16,000 to send 13 staff members and 13 students, the institute uncovered.

Investigative reporter Adam Tobias of the watchdog Wisconsin Reporter reports other university support includes $5,000 from UW-Madison and $3,000 from Madison Area Technical College.

In its ongoing investigation into the conference, the MacIver Institute has calculated total taxpayer expenses at $85,899 – and counting. In addition to public universities, other funding sources include the city of Madison, K-12 school districts and the state’s education department.

“MacIver is still waiting on responses from numerous other open records requests, so the total taxpayer cost for the conference is expected to increase even more,” the institute notes on its website.

Much of the money went toward registration fees, the MacIver Institute found. UW Eau Claire spent almost $6,000 on registration for its 26 attendees while UW La Crosse spent $16,000 to register the 114 people it sent. Both universities spent $2,000 for a co-sponsor fee.

The White Privilege Conference rotates host cities every year. Wisconsin hosted once before, in 2010, when the conference was held in La Crosse.

Topics include discussions on racism, but also homosexuality and gender issues.

In 2008, one point tossed around was “the fact that successful white males are more likely to be honored with their own holiday, while Black History Month is celebrated during February, the shortest month of the year,” according to the UW La Crosse’s student paper after the 2008 conference.

Other topics at the 2014 conference, as reported by Kyle Olson of Progressives Today, included claims that “white people do not experience racism,” “rape is not intrinsically bad,” that Tea Party members are racist, and that capitalism perpetuates white supremacy.

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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The University of California Los Angeles has had its cover blown wide open.

According to UCLA Professor Tim Groseclose in his new book, “Cheating: An Insider’s Report on the Use of Race in Admissions at UCLA,” the public university has conducted under the table affirmative action programs – despite the practice being illegal in California.

The public university did so in an effort to admit black students at a much higher rate than they would have been if the school had followed the letter of the law, his research found. Campus officials’ decisions had a detrimental effect on the acceptance rates of white and Asian students, according to the data he unearthed.

“I happened to be on the faculty oversight committee at UCLA and it was clear there was cheating going on,” Groseclose said in an interview with The College Fix. “I never would have written anything at all about admissions in college if I hadn’t been on this committee.”

The book details how UCLA admissions personnel used a “holistic” approach to their decisions. Groseclose said he believes that the holistic approach facilitated the ability of the admissions staff to grant under-the-table racial preferences.

UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told Fox News that the school “will not address specific assertions made by Prof. Groseclose,” but said “UCLA believes its admissions process to be fair, transparent and consistent with state law.”

When the state’s voters in 1996 passed Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, it was the first successful ballot initiative to forbid the use of race, sex, and ethnicity in public employment decisions, including admission to state universities.

Several states have followed California’s lead, most notably Michigan, which banned the practice by a ballot initiative in 2006.

Groseclose said he believes that the affirmative action activity continued illegally at the urging and coercion of the state legislature and alumni groups.

“When UCLA had a drop in African-American admissions, there was a crisis on campus – there were protests at the chancellor’s office,” Groseclose said. “And the chancellor showed up at my committee – and this was remarkable, I never heard of this before – and he lobbied us to change the admissions system.”

“He said there were several constituencies of UCLA distressed at the low number of African-Americans,” Groseclose added. “He said at least two of those constituencies were black alumni groups and the other was the legislature in Sacramento. He certainly implied that our funding was going to be cut if we didn’t increase diversity.”

The legislature was urging and even strongarming the university into breaking the law.

Despite these obvious signs of illegal activity, Groseclose claimed he could never access admissions data for himself, even after requesting it.

“When I asked for a thousand random admissions files, which I thought was a legitimate duty and undertaking of my committee, UCLA refused,” he said.

The reluctance to release the files sounded alarms, Groseclose said, and it raised his suspicions that the university was engaging in clearly illegal activity. He received the data only after filing a Public Records Act in California.

Groseclose published these findings and more in April. He is also the author of “Left Turn: How Liberal Bias Distorts The American Mind.”

An amendment to the California constitution was proposed in 2012 which would have allowed for the consideration of race, color, ethnicity, and national origin in admissions decisions for public universities. It passed the state Senate but was ultimately withdrawn from consideration after public opposition to the bill made its future politically unviable.

As The College Fix reported last winter, at UCLA “white students are actually severely ‘underrepresented’ compared to black students: the white percentage at UCLA is only 37.7 percent of the total percentage of white residents in the state, whereas the black percentage at UCLA is 57.6 percent of the total statewide percentage of black residents – a 20 point difference.”

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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OPINION 

Campuses’ war against American exceptionalism continues unabated

Today marks America’s 238th birthday. From our founding to the present the United States has been a global force for good. Since the Second World War, especially, the dominance of the United States has helped lift more people out of poverty and has instilled more democracies around the world than at any other point in history. We are the “indispensable nation,” as it was once famously said.

But given our track record – unmatched levels of national and personal wealth, promotion of freedom around the world, the greatest military in history, and the most effective public education system designed – why do some liberal academics want to dilute the importance, significance, and exceptionalism of the American experiment?

Aside from the anti-American rhetoric often promulgated by professors, today I speak to the notion of “global citizenship” that has become popular on campuses across the country.

On its face, the term is innocuous enough, but that’s the point, as Peter Wood of the National Scholars Association explained recently in a lengthy expose on the term. The concept of “global citizenship” fosters “a soft disdain for the American civic tradition” by discreetly undermining its values.

Campus Leftists have long ago turned their backs on the overt, obvious, and distasteful displays of American self-guilt (and when they do let it outit shows). The “values” that were once fought for by loud protests, sit-ins, and riots are now handed down in the form of “global studies” classes, anti-capitalist economics courses, and even the study of non-Western histories and languages to the detriment of Western values.

“Students are enticed to feel open-hearted, broad-minded, and gently virtuous,” Wood notes.

There’s nothing wrong with that per se. But as higher education observer Jay Schalin writes, this unsuspecting magnanimity seeks to “mask the push to implement intensely political academic practices.”

The point is that students are taught to be “above” the West and Western culture – living in it but not of it – and in turn come to disdain or otherwise feel apathetic about it. The truly global citizen transcends the limits of the nation-state in general and the West in particular.

As Wood points out, the term “global citizen” cannot literally be true: to be a citizen of something means not being a citizen of something else. But the term holds appeal, especially to those students who aspire “to connect to the larger world beyond their hometowns.”

And why not? A student from Small Town, U.S.A at Every College, America is apt to be exposed to a lot of things for the first time, not least of which is traveling in a meaningful sense (study abroad programs have been around for decades and are as popular now as ever), as well as a sense of collective responsibility (often called “privilege”) that only universities seem to be able, and willing, to impart. “Global citizenship” plays on this exposure and these discoveries by playing down the importance and overwhelming goodness that is the United States in favor of non-Western and even anti-Western values.

In the end, as Wood concludes, campus Leftists seek to inculcate students to “reject the idea that the United States is good and that college graduates should strive to be statesmen who advance its principles.” On the contrary, the United States is either evil or insignificant and as a “global citizen,” graduates should “do the right thing” – however “right” is defined.

Bowdoin College, for example, leads the field of promoting global citizenship, as well as catching criticism for it. The National Association of Scholars studied Bowdoin’s curriculum and found that American history courses are not required for history majors and American literature courses are not required for English majors.

Furthermore, regardless of major, there is no foreign language requirement for graduation. But students are required “to take one course each in the areas of ‘Exploring Social Differences’ and ‘International Perspectives.’ There is no such requirement for anything dealing with America’s founding principles, commonalities, or culture.”

Most other universities have similar protocols – nearly 30 of the nation’s top-ranked liberal arts colleges do not require students take a survey course in U.S. history.

The ones that do require a history class mandate ones that are arcane and narrow in scope.

The University of North Carolina, for instance, requires only one history course, a mandate that can be met by taking such esoteric classes as “Courts and Courtly Culture in 16th and 17th Century Spain” and “Shalom Y’all: The Jewish Experience in the American South.”

What’s more, a 2013 survey by The College Fix of 31 public and private universities across the nation found that the subject of capitalism, America’s free market system, is often either maligned, ignored, or taught from a perspective other than objective economics. It’s not uncommon for professors to tout the alleged blessings of Marxism while giving short shrift to capitalism, epitomizing the notions of global citizenship.

Innocuous though it may sound, in practice “global citizenship” is harmful to American and Western values at home and abroad. At the least, the notion is suspect. At the most it is imminently detrimental to the United States, our values, and our future.

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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A lawsuit has been filed against the University of Connecticut on behalf of a mixed-race graduate student who claims she was essentially lied to by campus officials, who told her they’d given her a merit-based scholarship, when instead they’d given her a diversity-based one.

The Center for Individual Rights is representing grad student Pamela Swanigan, who claims that her budding career has been tarnished by the misrepresentation, as diversity or multicultural-based scholarships are viewed by potential employers as far less prestigious than merit-based ones.

“My goal is to ensure that students are treated as individuals regardless of race and regardless of other efforts to promote racial diversity,” states Swanigan, whose father is black and whose mother is white. “I wanted – and still want – to compete on the basis of my academic abilities just like any other student.”

The University of Connecticut declined to comment to The College Fix regarding the litigation.

The lawsuit, filed June 3 in federal court, accuses the university of racial discrimination and claims its administrators defrauded Swanigan by luring her to enroll at the university under false pretenses.

“Although the school told Swanigan she had received a merit-based scholarship, in fact and without her knowledge, it had swapped her award for one in a less prestigious and largely segregated scholarship program intended to increase ‘diversity,’” representatives of CIR state.Swanigan

A university cannot treat students differently on account of race, Terence Pell, President of the Center for Individual Rights, said in an interview with The College Fix.

“The courts have never said that universities can promote diversity after admission with scholarships like this,” he said.

CIR alleges in its lawsuit that “in an acceptance letter to Swanigan, the Director of Graduate Studies offered her a merit-based scholarship called the ‘Vice Provost’s Award for Excellence’… It turned out that no such program as the ‘Vice Provost’s Award for Excellence’ existed at the time she applied.”

She agreed in 2009 to attend UConn under the belief she had received the “Vice Provost’s Award for Excellence” financial scholarship, when in fact she was secretly awarded the Multicultural Scholars Program financial scholarship, the lawsuit contends.

In 2011, when Swanigan asked administrators whether she could finish earning her degree out of state and retain the unknowingly fictional “Vice Provost’s Award for Excellence,” she learned it was a fake scholarship and she had actually been receiving the diversity one instead.

“Swanigan was shocked and dismayed to discover that the only award she had been receiving since enrolling in UConn was the ‘Multicultural Scholars Program’ award,” the lawsuit states, adding that complaints to campus officials over the distinction were to no avail.

As a result, CIR is suing UConn to retroactively award the merit scholarship – and the money that comes with it – to Swanigan, as well as any punitive compensation.

“This is about more than one applicant’s experience at UConn,” Pell stated. “… A scholarship awarded on the basis of race inevitably stigmatizes talented minority applicants, who come to be recognized for their race rather than their considerable academic achievements.”

College Fix contributor Dominic Lynch is a student at Loyola University Chicago.

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