Barack Obama

University of Oklahoma President David Boren, who has likely made himself vulnerable to personal litigation by expelling two students for their role in a racist chant on a bus, continues earning kudos for his quick and decisive action against racism.

The Staff Senate at the university’s Norman campus released a statement to the Oklahoma Daily praising Boren for his “leadership” in the wake of “recent events that have left so many angry, stunned and shaken”:

We are proud to say we work somewhere where the phrase “Not on Our Campus” is more than a slogan, it truly is a what we hold true. We appreciate that those involved are being held accountable for their actions that upset so many and we appreciate the significant dialogue that continues. …

We are willing to do what we can as staff members to make OU a national example of a place where there is a commitment to equality and nonviolence.

It’s not clear what that last part means – the frat chants didn’t personally threaten any person, and the school’s rationale for punishing the alleged chant leaders and banishing the frat as a whole didn’t include its past treatment of African American applicants.

President Barack Obama also praised Boren, who preceded him as a U.S. senator, in a Huffington Post interview:

What was heartening was the quick response from President Boren, somebody who I know well and who I know has great integrity, [as well as the] quick reaction from the student body. The way we have to measure progress here is … how does the majority of our country respond?

Certainly condemning such racist expressions is appropriate. But mob rule to punish minority viewpoints – and Boren’s unilateral action that bulldozed over due process for the offending students was immensely popular – is not something to be celebrated by a constitutional law scholar like Obama.

Certainly his former University of Chicago colleague Geoffrey Stone, who hired Obama as a law lecturer, strongly disagrees that Boren’s actions were “heartening.”

Read the staff statement and watch the Obama video.

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IMAGE: Phil Konstantin/Wikimedia Commons

It’s not only the statistic that just won’t … die, but it seems it’s actually widening in scope.

Last evening at the Grammy Awards, President Obama delivered a recorded message in which he said “Right now, nearly 1 in 5 women in America has been a victim of rape or attempted rape.”

In America. Not just at college campuses, mind you, as we’ve been told previously.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Let’s just think about that for a minute. The current population of the U.S. is 316.1 million, with women comprising about half. That means there are about 158 million women and girls in the U.S. If 20 percent of American women have been raped or almost raped, that’s a total of 31.6 million women, which is somewhere between the populations of Texas and California.

These numbers are wildly out of line with national crime statistics, which don’t show anywhere near that number of rapes in the past two decades. Those statistics show fewer than 2 million rapes being reported in that time frame. Even accounting for the fact that many rapes go unreported, the number Obama gave Sunday night is staggering. It would mean that just 6.3 percent of rapes and attempted rapes are reported.

This would also mean that, if Obama is right and 25 percent of American women have experienced domestic violence, then 39.51 million women in the country (which is more than the population of California) are victims of such violence.

The College Fix, among many other outlets, has noted time and again that the “one in five women have been sexually assaulted in college” stat is bunk.

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As reported at The College Fix, President Obama’s original new year tax proposals included a plan to tax (formerly) tax-free college savings “529” plans as ordinary income.

The president himself had taken advantage of 529 rules to make a huge contribution to his plan in 2007.

But now, the administration has done a one-eighty. Officials said that “the backlash against the president’s plan became ‘such a distraction’ that it was best to drop the proposal …”

The Washington Post reports:

The administration had tried to frame the elimination of the tax break as a way to redirect more money to middle-class families, arguing that the savings plans were being used disproportionately by wealthy families.

But the proposal proved to be a serious political miscalculation. With more than $1 trillion of outstanding student debt in this country, the 529 plan has become one of the best tools for families to save for college. About 12 million American families rely on the accounts.

The administration’s proposal to roll back the benefits of 529 plans was like “kicking a ball in your own goal,” said Jared Bernstein, senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former economic adviser to Vice President Biden.

“The president’s plan has the puzzle pieces necessary to bring the middle class back, but this particular piece didn’t fit,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), who lobbied the White House to drop the plan.

Even liberal House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Obama that targeting college savings was a political misstep. Pelosi pressed the case to drop the 529 proposal with senior administration officials on board Air Force One as she flew with the president from India to Saudi Arabia, according to people familiar with the meeting who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Another lawmaker who raised objections to Obama’s proposal was Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “This particular proposal undercut the message that they were focused on helping the middle class,” Van Hollen said in an interview.

The president initially had defended his plan claiming that some seventy percent of 529 accounts were held by families making over $200,000 per year.

But the non-profit College Savings Foundation counters that the seventy percent number actually pertains to households making less than $150,000 per year, with another ten percent earning less than $50,000.

Read the full article.

h/t to Instapundit.

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As noted at The College Fix back on January 20, one of the ideas you’ll not likely hear about in President Obama’s tax machinations is the repeal of tax-free 529 college saving plans.

The president wants these plans now to be taxed as ordinary income, with as rates as high as 39.6%.

529 plan expert Joe Hurley says this “will result in their effective repeal, as new contributions in will ‘dry up’ overnight.”

But ironically, Mr. Obama took quite advantage of 529 tax rules back in 2007.

Forbes reports:

You see, back in 2007, Barack and Michelle Obama made a stunning $240,000 contribution to the 529 plans of their two daughters. There’s a special provision in 529 tax rules that allow for a “jumbo” contribution in exchange for not gifting any more money to your kids for the next five years. The Obamas (wisely) took advantage of this–you can see the actual tax form reporting here.

This is odd, considering some of the nasty things the White House has said about 529 plans in recent days. Administration officials have called 529 plans “inefficient,” that 80% of the benefits accrue to those making more than $250,000 per year, and that 529 plans should effectively be repealed in order to plus up an education tax credit.

Forbes writer Ryan Ellis points out this presidential hypocrisy is not unlike that from 2009 when the president wanted to nix 1,700 low income school scholarships for kids in Washington DC … all the while sending his daughters to the exclusive Sidwell Friends School.

The same daughters who will benefit from that formerly tax-free 529 education plan.

Read the full article.

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IMAGE: YouTube screencap

As you may be aware, the Obama administration leaked some tax proposal details this past Saturday ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address.

But don’t expect to hear about this one in the president’s speech tonight: “roll[ed] back expanded tax cuts for 529 education savings plans.”

Forbes reports:

The levy in question would increase taxes on college savings accounts known as “529 plans” (after their section in the Internal Revenue Code). By definition, these accounts are really only used by middle class families. Poorer households don’t have the extra income to save (and even if they have a little, there are much higher priorities like retirement or saving for a home). Very wealthy families might use 529 plans, but it’s far more likely that they have complex trust arrangements set up for their children.

According to the Investment Company Institute (the trade association for the mutual fund industry), there was $245 billion accumulated in 529 plans in 2014. With just south of 12 million accounts open, that means there’s an average balance of about $21,000 in these plans. This is not a mechanism for rich Democrats like the Kennedys or the Gates to shelter wealth.

… there it is buried on page 9 of the leaked document: “The President’s plan will roll back expanded tax cuts for 529 education savings plans that were enacted in 2001 for new contributions…” Note that this is right before they also announce the repeal of Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Coverdell ESAs), another similar move against the same middle class savings targets.

529 plans are basically a “Roth IRA for college savings” as funds that are withdrawn to pay for college are completely tax-free.

Obama wants to treat such savings as regular income, subject to taxation rates as high as almost forty percent.

Read the full article.

h/t to Instapundit.

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IMAGE: YouTube screencap

Our own reporter Derek Draplin writes in the Detroit News that students in Michigan aren’t entirely enamored of President Barack Obama’s plan to make community college free for anyone “willing to work for it,” to be laid out at tonight’s State of the Union address:

“Anything free, especially when it comes to college, is a good thing,” said Joseph Juncvic, 18, a freshman.

But Juncvic, who’s majoring in global studies and is also student government treasurer, questioned Obama’s intentions while describing the proposal as a “double-edged sword.”

“What are the effects it’ll have on school quality? Will we be spending more on education?” he asked. “Maybe it’s for his legacy — he wants to be remembered for something.”

Shelby Klein, 20, a sophomore from Alognac studying auto body repair, said the program would especially help families with multiple kids to put through college.

“I could see taxes skyrocketing — right now I’m on financial aid,” she said, but added it would definitely “help me and my parents out. … I’m the oldest and I have three brothers behind me.”

A higher education financial expert compares Obama’s proposal to corporate welfare:

“Poorer kids are already getting free tuition so this money is going to kids that are relatively affluent,” said Dr. Richard Vedder, director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, an organization in Washington, D.C., that researches higher education policy.

Read the Detroit News story.

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IMAGE: Pete Souza/White House