Columbia University

As higher education faces a crisis of epic proportions, a group of respected campus leaders from across the nation have called on their peers to proactively address the many issues plaguing universities today, saying in a detailed report that “the failure of higher education governance” has helped create the current debacle.

Problems cited in the report include: a lack of a return-on-investment with college degrees; a tenure system that “adds to cost and compromises quality”; political correctness run amok, “undermining the free exchange of ideas”; never-ending collegiate athletic scandals and binge drinking woes; studies that find grads do not leave college prepared for the real world; curriculum requirements that leave students with a “lack a fundamental understanding of their history and heritage”; tuitions that continue to soar far above inflation; and student debt that today tops $1 trillion.

Ultimately, its authors argue, the buck stops with college trustees, who need to take seriously their oversight roles.

“Too many have seen their role narrowly defined as boosters, cheerleaders, and donors,” states the report, titled Governance for a New Era: A Blueprint for Higher Education Trustees. “They should ask the questions that need to be asked and exercise due diligence.”governance

The report, released Tuesday, was the result of a project led by Benno Schmidt, chairman of the City University of New York Board of Trustees and former president of Yale University. He and 21 others – accomplished and respected college trustees, presidents, chancellors and business leaders – signed on.

One area of concern is academic freedom. The report notes that while teachers have academic freedoms, they often lack accountability, and students’ rights suffer as a result.

“Governing boards should monitor academic freedom and intellectual diversity through campus self-studies, as the University of Colorado has recently done,” the blueprint states. “They should put in place, as has the City University of New York, student grievance policies which allow for students to speak out without fear of reprisal when they believe that the institution is failing to protect the students’ freedom to learn.”

The report’s authors also called on trustees to stop kowtowing to complaints over controversial commencement speakers, and to acknowledge and address the lack of intellectual diversity on campus.

“The public is increasingly concerned that students are failing to receive exposure to a range of disciplines and a range of viewpoints,” the report states, adding trustees should annually ask for a report outlining academic diversity.

“This report can include a list of new hires and tenure and promotion decisions in each department (and their disciplines and fields),” the blueprint suggests. “Does the history department, for example, have  expertise and offer coursework on the Founders, the American Revolution, and the Constitution?”

If a lack of intellectual and academic diversity is identified, trustees must have the courage to demand change, the report advises. Moreover, trustees must demand a strong general education framework, or a core curriculum, and stop allowing students to meet requirements with esoteric and bizarre classes.

“Sometimes these courses will be exotic and narrowly focused, including topics such as zombie movies or similar elements of popular entertainment,” the blueprint states. “Governance for a new era demands that trustees, working with their president and provost, reexamine their general education programs with an eye to ensuring that general education promotes preparation for a major and skills and knowledge for life after graduation.”

Additional suggestions for improvement outlined in the blueprint include: improving the presidential selection process; insisting on evidence of student learning; making decisions based on data; demand transparency in performance and results; and creating strategic plans.

“Both trustees—and those who appoint them—must reject the belief that university trusteeships are sinecures or seats of honor,” the report states, adding that the public must join the cause as well.

“Just as trustees must insist on real and concrete institutional accountability,” the blueprint states, “the public must demand the same of governing boards.”

The report was released in conjunction with the American Council of Trustees and Alumni.

Additional signers include: Hank Brown, President emeritus, University of Colorado and former U.S. Senator; José Cabranes, former trustee of Yale, Columbia and Colgate universities; Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University; Peter Hans, immediate past chair of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors; Stephen Smith, trustee emeritus, Dartmouth College; and sociologist Jonathan Cole, the John Mitchell Mason professor Columbia University.

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix ( Follow Jenn on Twitter: @JenniferKabbany )

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IMAGE: Maximus Prime/Flickr; Inside – Courtesy art

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Columbia’s School of Continuing Education offers a Master of Science in the noted field of study, stating “The care of the sick unfolds in stories.” From the school’s website:

The Narrative Medicine master’s program seeks to strengthen the overarching goals of medicine, public health, and social justice, as well as the intimate, interpersonal experiences of the clinical encounter. The program fulfills these objectives by educating a leadership corps of health professionals and scholars from the humanities and social sciences who will imbue patient care and professional education with the skills and values of narrative understanding.

Health care and the illness experience are marked by uneasy and costly divides: between those in need who can access care and those who cannot, between health care professionals and patients, and between and among health care professionals themselves. Narrative medicine is an interdisciplinary field that challenges those divisions and seeks to bridge those divides. It addresses the need of patients and caregivers to voice their experience, to be heard and to be valued, and it acknowledges the power of narrative to change the way care is given and received.

The study of narrative medicine is profoundly multidisciplinary. The curriculum for the master’s program in Narrative Medicine includes core courses in narrative understanding, the illness experience, the tools of close reading and writing; focused courses on narrative in fields like genetics, social justice advocacy, and palliative care; electives in a discipline of the student’s choosing; and field work.

The description for the course titled “Narrative, Health, and Social Justice” is … interesting, to say the least.

Read more here.

h/t to Instapundit.

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A professor at Columbia University says that opposing the minimum wage hike is racist.

Dorian Warren, whose faculty profile page says he specializes in “the study of inequality and American politics” – and teaches on “community organizing” – made the comments on television recently.

Via Newsbusters:

“There’s a distinction we should make between racist words and speech, and racist practices and policies. We should be focused on the policies and the racial impact of policies that those Republican leaders frankly stand for,” Warren said on Tuesday’s The Last Word.

… Warren accused Republicans of racist policies, including Wisconsin’s voter ID law which was just struck down by the federal judge.

“We could go down the list,” he continued. “The minimum wage, the Congress is going to be voting on, disproportionately affects workers of color. Republicans are against that. The fact that 24 states have refused to expand Medicaid, disproportionately affects people of color, that’s a life and issue for people. It affects millions of people.”

Instead of addressing the economics of the situation, all the Left does is race bait. And let’s be clear – Warren is shaping and influencing the minds of the next generation.

This isn’t just about what some professor said – this is about the way in which liberal policies are presented as academic fact on television and to impressionable and driven students who vote and are tomorrow’s leaders.

The battleground is on the campus.

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Dean offers counseling for those traumatized by ‘microaggression’

Members of a Columbia University sorority were dubbed insensitive – even racist – after they donned culturally inspired costumes at an Olympics-themed party.

The Feb. 22 mixer has since prompted politically correct pandemonium at the Ivy League institution – with its interim dean of student affairs going so far as to offer counseling for those who were offended.

A Latino campus group called the party “offensive,” saying “stereotypes are used to oppress marginalized communities.” The sorority in question also begged for forgiveness and promised to launch “social awareness” campus initiatives.

At issue is an Olympics-themed sorority/fraternity mixer at which female students wore costumes to celebrate the Beer Olympics, which is like the real Olympics but with less athleticism and more beer, maracas, potatoes and sombreros.

Some on the “French” team wore revealing, tight French Maid-inspired get ups, while a few on Team Japan wore pigtails and provocative schoolgirl attire that included chopsticks and high socks, according to photos published by Bwog, a campus news website run by Columbia students.culturalcostumes

(AT RIGHT – BWOG PHOTO COMPILATION SCREENSHOT)

One of the students who dressed as an Irish immigrant wore a T-shirt saying “kiss me, I am a famined potato.” And pictures of the Mexican team included young gals with fake mustaches and sombreros, a bottle of tequila, and an incomplete version of the Mexican flag.

It was all too much for campus administrators.

“I am incredibly saddened and disappointed to learn of students in our community participating in costume caricatures of several different nationalities,” Terry Martinez, interim dean of student affairs, said in a prepared statement. “It is our utmost responsibility to ensure that your living and learning environment is free from any act or behavior that degrades individuals or groups, including racially or culturally- based insensitivity.”

Dean Martinez pledged that the university’s “bias-related response team” would reach out to “potentially impacted communities to offer support and follow-up,” adding such “microaggressions unfortunately are pervasive … we need to continue our collective efforts to substantively address systemic issues that perpetuate such incidents.”

The Sorority Sisters begged for forgiveness as well.

“We – wrongfully and regretfully – used stereotypes a few days ago in a manner that we now recognize was insensitive and unacceptable,” they said in a prepared statement that included a pledge to launch multicultural initiatives on campus. “We were wrong, and we are truly sorry for our actions surrounding the weekend’s events.”

Complicating matters, however, is the fact that one of the offended campus groups – Columbia’s Chicano Caucus, the one that said caricature Mexican attire is offensive – also recently hosted a caricature costume party of its own, prompting allegations of hypocrisy, Bwog reports.

The Chicano Caucus on Feb. 13 participated in an event which, the Caucus argued, showcased Mexico through papel picado and face cutouts. During the ironically titled Glass House Rocks 2014 event, many Caucus members posted photos of themselves on Facebook with cutout images of Mexican immigrants wearing sombreros and fake mustaches, raising questions to the Caucus’s credibility on ferreting out negative stereotypes.

The Chicano Caucus, like the sorority, apologized in a written statement to those who were offended by the photos.

The statement, however, goes on to distinguish its Facebook photos from the sorority photos. The Caucus photos, the statement declares, were meant to pay tribute to “one of the many cultures within Mexico, combating the very issue of cultural unawareness,” while the sorority photos were meant to malign an oppressed minority through stereotypes.

College Fix contributor Christopher White is a University of Missouri graduate student and an editorial assistant for The College Fix.

RELATED: ASU Fraternity Suspended For ‘MLK Black Out’ Party – click here

RELATED: Sombreros, Nachos Deemed ‘Culturally Insensitive’ at Cornell University – click here

RELATED: Students Told Not To Drink Tequila, Eat Tacos on Cinco de Mayo – click here

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Columbia University’s Butler Library served as the backdrop for a pornographic feminist protest film released Sunday that supposedly aimed to “repulse” viewers, and included topless women kissing, smearing eggs on each other, smacking each other with riding crops, and licking chocolate off each other’s backs.

The film, titled INITIATIØN, aimed to explore “the rituals of American Ivy League secret societies, to the point of hysteria, highlighting our culture’s perception of female desire,” according to the caption on Purple TV, the website that premiered the video.

The three-minute film is intended to be “a feminist statement, meant to ‘showcase the ultimate hysteria state,’ and speak to the stigmatization and fetishization of women,” according to IvyGate’s Alexandra Svokos, who interviewed one of the film’s stars, Coco Young, a former model turned Columbia University student double majoring in art history and English literature.

Young explained the reason behind using the library as the scene for the video, saying: “Butler Library is particularly emblematic of the male-centricity at Columbia; there are, for example, only male authors’ names on the facade of the building, a historic point of protest.”

The film has an eerie sort of vibe. The young women writhe around surrounded by bookstacks in imagery that almost emulates some sort of ritual, and at one point it looks like they have a fake dead chicken inside their circle. The film jumps from scene to scene as the women pose in weird, yoga-inspired positions, kiss, and drag each other down long hallways. All the while, what sounds like gothic Latin choir music sung by children plays in the background.

The video included Columbia and Barnard College students and was filmed last November guerilla-style on “iPhones and a GoPro camera set up as a surveillance camera,” reported the New York Observer.

Young also told the New York Observer their intent in the pornographic nature of the video is to “repulse” viewers, not arouse them.

“Men get hooked because they want to see naked girls, but then we do gross things and are not attractive at all,” Young said.

The video has drawn mixed reactions, as demonstrated by comments posted on Columbia’s Bwog, an independent student-run website for campus news.

One commenter wrote: “Dude. Can I join? I’ll bring some more eggs. Organic AND cage free.”

Another comment criticized the film, stating, “… it’s a terrible film. Poorly shot, poorly executed, poorly edited. Being stuck at the library at some ungodly hour is depressing enough, this just makes it worse.”

College Fix contributor Julianne Stanford is a student at the University of Arizona.

IMAGE: Internet screenshot of film

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Reports indicate that a group of masked men invaded a residential building owned by Columbia University in New York and assaulted and robbed residents last week.

According to a scanner report, “Police are looking for three males with masks and armed with guns, and NYPD Mobilization 1 was requested.”

The suspects had pushed their way into an apartment, taking cash and cellphone from a resident. DNAinfo reports that the men assaulted the resident’s roommate “when he came home mid-robbery,” possibly with the gun. The roommate was taken to the hospital for his injuries

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