Fix Features

cu boulder

Three female College Republicans at CU Boulder on Tuesday were denied their request for financial support from their student government to travel to CPAC, putting their plans in the lurch with the event just a week away.

Leaders of the campus College Republicans decried the decision as a violation of the school’s funding bylaws and an example of viewpoint discrimination in interviews with The College Fix.

College Republicans President Olivia Leyshock said she and her peers just wanted to “educate ourselves in something we find a passion and interest in, and that is what diversifies our campus.”

Leyshock said she’s not sure how she’ll get to the Washington, D.C.-based event now.

“As a student, I am living paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “I don’t have the money to do this sort of thing.”

CU Boulder student Aslinn Scott, chairwoman of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans and a regular contributor to The College Fix, said she is upset by the decision.

“Here we have women stepping up to be the leaders of the College Republicans,” she said. “We all pay into the system, it’s all our student fees.”

“They are denying us a great opportunity. It’s inconsistent and unfair.”

CU Boulder College Republicans sought $800 to help shoulder the travel costs for Leyshock, Scott and another female student to get to the Conservative Political Action Conference, a three-day event that launches March 6. They planned to pay registration fees out-of-pocket. A fourth female student from CU Denver was set to come along.

Last week, the Arts and Sciences Student Government initially approved the funding request. But on Saturday, CU Boulder College Republicans were told that the decision would be overturned.

In denying the request Tuesday, student government leaders cited a campus policy which states that “fees may not be used in support of or opposition to political candidates or for political parties. Requests for student fee support of partisan political activities will not be entertained.”

“Unfortunately, your funding request does not satisfy this requirement,” Jerome Castillon, president of the Arts and Sciences Student Government, stated in an email to Scott. “I am aware that other student groups have received funding to attend partisan conferences and other political functions, but they were not funded by student fees.”

In response, Scott emphasized the money was sought only for travel, not to support a political candidate or party, adding no student-fee dollars would go toward supporting CPAC directly. She also told Castillon that CPAC is not an official event of the Republican Party.

“The conference tends to draw people from all over the political spectrum; whether they are liberal, libertarian, or conservative leaning,” she stated. “The Republican Party may promote this event, but so does the Libertarian Party and independent groups.”

“I have heard from friends they had their Democrat friends attend to give a perspective on leaders in the conservative movement. So this does not fall under a partisan political activity either.”

The argument did not pass muster with the student government.

Scott said it’s frustrating because other campus groups with political leanings get student fee-based support. Indeed, some CU Boulder students were recently given funding to attend the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference, scheduled for this weekend in Washington, D.C.

What’s more, Scott – a former CU Boulder student government legislative treasurer – said that everything from the Vagina Monologues to student groups that support legalizing marijuana and same-sex marriage get student-fee funding. Student fees help fund attendance at gay-straight alliance conferences and pay for immigration reform and atheist speakers on campus, she added.

But the College Republicans get denied.

“It’s ridiculous,” Scott said. “They fund liberal events all the time.”

Click here to LIKE The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter - click HERE

{ 17 comments }

David Barnett faced a low point in his life when his house was destroyed by fire in 2010.

The 43-year-old associate professor of philosophy at the University of Colorado – Boulder says he was stunned and shell-shocked. He’d lost almost everything.

Yet despite the tragedy, he retained his creativity, quirkiness – and desire to be the next tech-gadget entrepreneur to sweep the nation. And ironically, it was the fire that helped him get there.

Barnett invested his insurance money to help bring his brainchild – PopSockets – to life, and to the mass market.

“So the fire was quite good for me,” Barnett said. “I never could have afforded it without the fire.”

Today – after five years of hard work, 60-plus prototypes, Kickstarter hiccups, and that fire – and his dream is now a reality.

PopSockets are an accessory for smart phones and iPods. They’re two circular gadgets that connect to the back of tech devices and can expand out like an accordion a few inches, serving as a headset cord wrap, handgrip, a way to prop up the device, or a tool to help text or take photos with just one hand.PopSockets2

Barnett’s ah-ha moment began in December 2009, when he set out to resolve the problem of tangled headsets during his workouts at the CU Recreation Center.

For the earliest model, Barnett affixed two large buttons to the back of his iPod. The buttons allowed him to wind up his headset without tangling them, though the solution had drawbacks.

“I got made fun of a lot because it was so ugly and bulky,” Barnett said. “But then I found a way to make them collapse.”

Finding the right recipe for collapsible sockets was no picnic, since he had to find a material supple enough to collapse yet rigid enough to stay collapsed when desired. Barnett prototyped about 60 different versions of PopSockets before he found a model with all the desired qualities.

PopSockets made their public debut in early 2012 on Kickstarter.com, a website that allows entrepreneurs to attract investors for their products with videos.

Barnett’s video has him dancing in the philosophy department’s Morris Reading Room while demonstrating the many uses of PopSockets. He portrays himself graciously accepting a Nobel Prize for his brainchild.

The comedic, booty-shaking video garnered mixed reviews from the gadget-nerd-o-sphere.

Matthew Humphries of Geek.com wrote of Barnett: “[Barnett's Kickstarter] video is either a love or hate affair depending on your tastes, but if you hate it, you definitely shouldn’t overlook what could be a very useful case design.”

One Kickstarter commenter was less nuanced: “Pay him whatever he wants… as long as he quits dancing.”

Barnett met his $12,000 dollar goal within five days, providing him with ample reason to dance. All told, he managed to net $18,591 dollars from his efforts. Barnett also netted $2,500 dollars for winning the 2012 Mercedez-Benz “Fueling Innovation” competition hosted by Wired Magazine.  

A deal with Case-Made looked promising last year, but ultimately didn’t pan out as hoped. Barnett offered refunds to about 25 percent of his Kickstarter backers who felt frustrated by the delays.

The first taste of commercial success came when Barnett found a manufacturer in China last year. Last October, his technology became patented, and in November, his product became available online.

So far, Barnett has sold over 1,000 pairs—without any major advertising campaign.

With that, Barnett was able to reward a majority of his backers who stuck it out with credit at his website.

One early fan is Barnett’s colleague in the philosophy department, Associate Professor Chris Heathwood, who claims that no fewer than five pairs of PopSockets are known to exist at the Heathwood residence.

“I like the photo grip,” Heathwood said, demonstrating a “selfie” pose with his phone. “The grip is surprisingly nice. So if I’m taking pictures, I can do one hand pretty easily.”

Barnett said the PopSocket future looks as bright as the PopSockets themselves, which feature a variety of hip and colorful designs. A new PopSockets case for the Iphone 5 is forthcoming, as are several major business deals.

And Barnett claims that he will soon unveil new products that use his now-patented technology.     

“People said to me: ‘What if you don’t sale a single one? You’ve put all that work and money into it for nothing,’” Barnett said. “I can probably honestly say it wouldn’t bother me a bit. I’ve had fun and I’ve learned a lot.”

He later added, “It would be great, though, if people actually bought these on the market.”

Barnett lives in Boulder, Colo., with his wife, Nikki, and their 4-month old daughter, Emily.

Fix contributor Spencer Case is a philosophy graduate student at the University of Colorado. He is a U.S. Army veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and an Egypt Fulbright alumnus.

{ 0 comments }

Allegedly it’s a man’s world inside the University of Colorado – Boulder’s philosophy department, according to a report by the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women Site Visit Program.

Somehow, with a name like that, you know it’s not going to turn out well.

“The University of Colorado on Friday made public an independent investigation that found pervasive sexual harassment and bullying within the philosophy department, a report that has now led administrators to remove the chairman and suspend all graduate student admissions into the department until at least fall 2015,” the Daily Camera reports:

The committee’s report on the philosophy department cites 15 complaints made to CU’s Office of Discrimination and Harassment since 2007, and found that female members of the department are leaving or trying to leave at disproportionate rates after reportedly feeling anxious, depressed and demoralized. …

Many philosophy faculty members … acknowledged that problems existed, however they said they felt the report exaggerated the extent of the issues. …

The 15-page report, delivered to CU officials in late November, found:

Many instances of sexual harassment occurred while faculty and graduate students were socializing after hours, which often included heavy drinking.

CU’s philosophy department has a reputation among the international philosophical community of being extremely unfriendly to women.

Many members of the department reported working from home, dropping out of departmental life and avoiding socializing with colleagues because of the workplace environment.

Read more.

IMAGE: Grafixtek.Flickr

{ 0 comments }

If a group of ethnic studies professors has their way, two recently remodeled dorms at the University of Colorado Boulder will be given difficult to read and pronounce - yet culturally sensitive – monikers.

Initially, the dorms were to be renamed after Chief Niwot and Chief Little Raven, two Arapaho chiefs known for their peaceful methods in dealing with early American pioneers and settlers.

That decision came in July, when the CU Planning Board approved the new names for the dorms. The newly remodeled Kittredge Central was to be renamed Little Raven Hall, and likewise Kittredge West was to become Niwot Hall.

However, members of the Native American and Indigenous Studies department want the dorm Little Raven Hall to be called “Houusoo” (pronounced Hosa) and “Niwot Hall” to be dubbed Nowoo3 (pronounced Nawath).

Whether students, parents, and visitors are able to read or correctly pronounce Houusoo or Nowoo3 is not a concern among the professors who signed a Nov. 13 letter to campus leaders calling for the name changes.

“While the orthographies might initially seem foreign or hard to understand to non-Arapahos and non-Natives, choosing to spell Nowoo3 as Niwot would be equivalent to spelling Charles de Gaulle’s name phonetically (Sharl duh Gahl), which is culturally chauvinist and clearly primitivizing in a Native American context,” the letter states.

Professors affiliated with the CU Boulder Native American and Indigenous Studies department were not happy about the “Anglicization” of the chiefs’ names, the letter states. According to these professors, anglicized or phonetic spellings of the chief’s names are not sufficient enough in honoring their memory.

“Neither phonetic spellings (Hosa, Niwot) nor literal translations … of these options seems culturally sensitive and attuned to the unique political status of Native Americans and Arapahos in Colorado, specifically,” the letter states. “Houusoo and Nowoo3 were the names these pivotally important and pacifist-oriented chiefs were known by, and we should honor them in their own languages in their own home (i.e., Boulder).”

The name change has already been approved by campus officials and the request is slated to go before the CU Boulder Board of Regents in February for final approval.

CU Boulder would not be the first institution of higher education to name buildings in the native language of the person or culture they are honoring.

These other institutions include Stanford University, with a native themed residence hall called Muwekma-Tah-Ruk; University of Massachusetts Amherst has a Native American student community named Kanonhsesne; and a library at the University of British Columbia is named Xwi7xwa.

By continuing this trend, the CU Native Studies department states “CU Boulder would be consciously and mindfully joining its peer institutions in meeting scholarly standards of 21st century Indigenous Studies research.”

However Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of American Thinker, asserts that the professors of CU Boulder might have crossed the line of cultural sensitivity and into the realm of ridiculousness despite their best intentions.

Lifson states that the professor’s requested spelling change of the dorms’ names “was both a product of academic formalism – the Native American Studies people after all have a stake in the standardized form of Romanization of the Arapaho Language – and political correctness, contained in the impulse to put the preferences and interests of the tribe above the need of the users – the members and guests at the University who are unfamiliar with the notation. Because CU is an academic institution, academic formalism is to be expected.”

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

IMAGE: Wally G./Flickr

{ 0 comments }

Performances by teaching assistants portraying prostitutes - everything from a sex slave to an ‘upper-class bar whore’ – is allegedly at the crux of a controversy in which a popular and eccentric professor at one of the most liberal universities in the nation claims she is being forced to retire.

“It is with a sad heart that I share the news that I am being pressured to accept an early retirement package by the University of Colorado,” CU Boulder sociology professor Patti Adler wrote on her Facebook page Saturday. “The culture of political correctness along with the culture of fear shoved me through the process in less than a week without even a complainant or a legitimate investigation. It is frightening that a full, tenured professor would be treated this way on the first time a concern is raised, with no possibility to react to the concerns.”

Adler teaches a popular class called “Deviance in U.S. Society,” which looks at “how groups of people have the power to shape social definitions and apply them onto others,” according to an online syllabus, which does not mention the prostitution monologues.

“We will then look at the consequences for those defined as deviant of this label,” the class description states. “We will look at how people come to develop a deviant identity and what that means to them in the exercise of their everyday lives.”

The controversial prostitution lecture “is given as a skit in which many of Adler’s teaching assistants dress up as various types of prostitutes,” the Daily Camera reports. “The teaching assistants portrayed prostitutes ranging from sex slaves to escorts, and described their lifestyles and what led them to become prostitutes.”

One former teaching assistant also told the Camera she portrayed an “upper-class bar whore.”

“Students said Adler … told the class that she was being forced into retirement because the administration thought her lecture on prostitution was inappropriate, degrading to women and offensive to some minority communities,” the newspaper added. “Adler told her students she tried to negotiate with the administration about leaving the skit off the syllabus. Administrators allegedly told Adler that in the era of sex scandals at schools like Penn State University, they couldn’t let her keep teaching.”

In a statement to the Daily Camera, a university official said Adler remains a professor at the university and noted “the university cannot force anyone to retire, especially a tenured faculty member.”

Students, meanwhile, have rallied to keep the professor on campus with an online petition and social media campaign. Comments on Adler’s “Rate My Professor” page are mostly good, saying the scholar’s tests are very hard but her lectures are fun and interesting, although several students wrote Adler is weird.

The Daily Camera reports Adler has worn a bikini to class as well as dressed as a homeless person to illustrate deviance; many students said they believe the situation amounts to “an attempt to squash creativity among professors who teach in nontraditional ways or about provocative subjects.”

Read more.

IMAGE: Jay Verspeelt/Flickr

{ 1 comment }

OPINION: Women Deserve Better Than Liberal Label

“Independent. Active. Adventurous.”

Those are three terms the Denver-based magazine 5280 reported in its December article titled Colorado Women as “quintessential” ways to describe the fairer sex who call this beautiful state home.

As a woman born and raised in Colorado, I agree. They describe Colorado women not only accurately, but intimately.

Colorado and Western women are no pleasant Southern belles, nor do we relate to the provincialism of our Northeastern female counterparts. We’re just made of that Rocky Mountain rugged charm, where ChapStick counts as lipstick. And we make it look good, too.

We wear flat boots and look just as sexy as in any pair of high heels. We can survive blistering cold winters and wilderness. Some may wonder whether we have chill in our veins. We keep ‘em wondering.

We pride ourselves on ingenuity and state with certainty Colorado has led the way the way for women.

The article mentions Eliza Routt, who in 1893 as the wife of the first governor of Colorado – a Republican – was the first woman to register to vote, among a long list of noteworthy philanthropic accomplishments. She also founded an orphanage and helped build a women’s home.

But there was a troubling trend among the more modern females featured in Colorado Women, which included nods to: Congresswoman Diana DeGette; former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder; Roxane White (chief of staff to Gov. Hickenlooper); former Secretary of State Madeline Albright (who spent her teen years in Denver); Katherine Archuleta (the first Latina to lead President Obama’s campaign as a national political director); state Rep. Rhonda Fields; former state Sen. Evie Hudak; and state Sen. Morgan Carroll, president of the Colorado Senate – just to name a few.

What do these women have in common? They’re ALL liberal Democrats.

There wasn’t one explicit Republican woman mentioned save former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, who received her bachelor’s and PhD from the University of Denver.

In presenting the history and the women in the article, one label that the magazine implied is that Colorado women, in addition to being “independent, active and adventurous” are also all “liberal.”

That’s where I draw the line.

5280 (a nod to Denver’s elevation of 5,280 feet) in its list of accomplishments among Colorado women praised the anti-gun legislation pushed by Democrat representatives in the state.

However, when did infringing on a woman’s right to self defense become something worth praising?

What’s more, our strong Colorado Republican women weren’t even mentioned for their efforts in bringing up this point. As Western Regional Vice Chair for the College Republican National Committee (CRNC) and Chairwoman of the Colorado Federation of College Republicans, I had a front row seat to see many women leaders in this state fight for their Second Amendment rights this year.

I work with young Colorado women all the time who are conservative, libertarian, Republican – and just plain tired of being pigeonholed, in Colorado or across the nation. But that gets ignored, swept under the rug. Women aren’t supposed to be conservative, you see. And those who are get mocked, a la Sarah Palin. (So much for women treated equally.)

The article mentioned that the main two female representatives who pushed the anti-gun legislation received death and rape threats, demonstrating the difficulty women have serving in public office. I am completely appalled and condemn those who sent such threats to Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Evie Hudak.

Yet, it’s wrong for the magazine to praise these women without telling the whole story, such as when state Sen. Hudak deprecated rape victims who testified against these bills last session.

Hudak was the one who infamously told a rape victim she didn’t need a gun to prevent rape.

Amanda Collins, a Nevada woman who was raped while walking to her car at the University of Nevada-Reno, had testified against the concealed carry ban on Colorado campuses, claiming she could have protected herself against her assailant if she had been carrying. But because of the university’s no weapons policy, Collins was not in possession of her firearm, although she did have a concealed carry permit.

Sen. Hudak’s reply was unbelievable: “I just want to say that actually, statistics are not on your side even if you had had a gun.” Hudak went on to say that according to the Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence, “for every one woman who used a handgun to kill someone in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by them.”

Actually, the statistic Hudak presented was falsely quoted.

According to the Violence Policy Center study, which analyzed the 1998 FBI statistics, “for every time a woman used a handgun to kill an intimate acquaintance in self-defense, 83 women were murdered by an intimate acquaintance with a gun.”

What type of woman does this? Simple, one politician, and others of similar ideology, who have an interest in regulating women’s lives and defense choices rather than empowering them.

As a Western woman, and a native Colorado woman, I pride myself on being independent, active, adventurous, and a feminist on the Right.

I may be in a man’s world, but I certainly don’t have to accept that narrative. It’s time that women stood up and demand to lift the liberal brand off by the media rather than continue to be subjected to it. 5280 did a disservice to all of its readers, not the least of which its female ones.

We deserve more than a liberal label.

Fix contributor Aslinn Scott is a student at CU Boulder.

{ 4 comments }