Columbia University

Via Bwog: Activist groups at Columbia University have created a new “Disorientation Guide,” in order to “inform new students about activist and left-wing issues surrounding the university.”

Some of the topics included within:

  • Columbia: A Brief (Colonialist) History
  • Smiles and Lies: Tips for Dealing with your Administration
  • Columbia, Capitalism and You
  • Student Worker Solidarity
  • The Perks of a Hostile Environment: Students for Justice in Palestine
  • On “Leaning In” and Corporate Feminism
  • Womanhood and Women’s Colleges: The Trans* Reality at Barnard
  • Divest for Climate Justice

Bwog notes that there have been previous guides created in 2000 and 2002, but this current edition “includes more about history than the previous guides,” and features “several perspectives on the core curriculum, and warnings about ‘corporate feminism.’”

Perhaps most notably, the 2014 version “takes a more oppositional approach” towards the college’s administration, stating (among other things) “Administrators are not your friends … ever …”

Read the full guide here.

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Columbia University’s new “gender-based misconduct policy” and associated procedures for responding to campus sexual-assault allegations have garnered criticism from a coalition of victim advocacy groups.

The groups claim they were not consulted during the revision process despite their efforts for at least a year pushing the university to alter how it responds to sexual assault.

The revised policy stands out for allowing both accuser and accused to retain advisers such as lawyers, and for seeking to get people with “relevant legal training” – such as judges – to serve on hearing panels.

The Huffington Post reported that “a small collection of students” met with the university president’s special adviser in early August and was “informed a new policy would be unveiled” that same week. “Students were not given copies of the policy and not provided an opportunity to give feedback.”

rapeGroups “submitted pages of policy proposals … made pleas for reform on national television and the front pages of newspapers,” said No Red Tape Columbia, the Coalition Against Sexual Violence, Columbia Alumni Allied Against Sexual Assault, Title IX Team and Take Back The Night of Barnard College in a statement published in the Columbia Spectator.

“We have repeatedly requested meetings with top administrators,” yet all such efforts “have been rejected or ignored,” they said.

The changes to the policy are “largely an effort to ensure their baseline compliance with the recently enacted” Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act and Department of Education regulations, the group said, but “does not reflect students’ needs, and changes made are not adequate to ensure student safety.”

Most of the changes to the policy modify the previous adjudication and sanctioning processes for sexual assault cases.

One of the most notable changes is the removal of students from hearing panels, which were previously comprised of one student and two university officials.

Under the new rules, panels “will generally have three members drawn from a small group of specially-trained University student affairs administrators,” and “in certain matters, the University may include retired judges, lawyers or other individuals with relevant experience and special training.”

Another new stipulation allows for both the victim and alleged assailant to choose an adviser, which can even be an attorney, to “support the student and provide advice about the investigation and disciplinary process.”

The renamed Gender-Based Misconduct Office gets several new positions under the revision: three case managers “who will serve as a neutral point person for both complainants and respondents throughout the adjudication process”;  six new staff positions in the Office of Sexual Violence Response;  and two more Title IX investigators, for four total, according to the Spectator.

One thing that remains unchanged is the “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof that hearing panels use to determine violations. This means an alleged assailant can be found responsible if the hearing panel is “convinced based on the information it considers that the respondent was more likely than not to have engaged in the conduct at issue.”

The coalition’s letter in the Spectator, among other things, faults the lack of “clear or useful sanctioning guidelines” in the new procedures, failure to “sufficiently improve the training for staff members who interact with survivors,” and the decision to leave appeals “in the hands of Deans with no expertise, inadequate training, and a clear bias.”

columbia-commencement.llee_wu.flickrVarious student groups have been pushing Columbia to revise how the university deals with sexual assault allegations at least since October, when the Columbia Democrats circulated a petition calling for the release of anonymous, aggregated campus sexual assault statistics.

Initially, officials from the university refused to disclose the statistics, but ultimately reversed its decision in January under pressure from students and the advocacy groups.

The Student Action Committee of Columbia University issued a statement in January requesting the university “clarify and initiate any needed reforms to the adjudication process within the Office of Gender-Based Misconduct,” and the university agreed to a town hall on March 14 with the advocacy groups, students, faculty and administrators.

Further, in April, a group of 23 Columbia and Barnard students jointly filed a federal complaint against the university for violating Title IX, Title II and the Clery Act.

Despite these allegations, Columbia is not one of the 72 universities and colleges currently being investigated by the Department of Education, according to statistics released to The College Fix.

The new policy notes that student groups “may provide additional input throughout the coming academic year.”

The Columbia policy follows a bevy of recent federal legislation addressing sexual-assault investigations on campus, most prominently the bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act , as The College Fix has reported.

Critics of the legislation, such as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, argue that the bill does not protect due process rights of alleged sexual assaulters or provide them with equal resources as victims of alleged sexual violence.

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

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IMAGES: Ville Miettinen/Flickr, llee_wu/Flickr

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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.

Read more.

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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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