Georgetown University

While the spread of Ebola has dominated many headlines, a San Diego State University freshman recently died from a deadly strain of bacterial meningitis – making her at least the third college student this year to die from that type-B strain of the disease.

SDSU freshman Sara Stelzer, 18, was taken off life support Saturday after falling ill, and health officials determined she had the type-B strain of meningitis that does not have a vaccine approved for use in America except with special permissions.

More than 860 students visited San Diego State’s Student Health Services over the last five days in the wake of her Stelzer’s death, with more than 400 concerned students receiving antibiotics, according to The Daily Aztec.

Stelzer’s death marks at least the third time this year a college student has died of the type-B strain. In March, a sophomore at Drexel University died from it. Last month, a student at Georgetown University died from Meningitis B strain as well.

And in 2013, outbreaks of that particular strain at Princeton and UC Santa Barbara prompted numerous hospitalizations and mass vaccinations. One UCSB student’s legs were amputated because of the disease.

Ultimately, U.S. health officials allowed a vaccine for that strain to be used to control the spread at Princeton and UCSB.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. has approved vaccines against serogroups C, Y, A and W – but not B. But health officials used a serogroup B meningococcal vaccine licensed for use in Europe and Canada to help control the two outbreaks at college campuses last year.

For the hundreds of students treated recently at the SDSU health center, they were given a 500 mg dose of Ciprofloxacin at their visit, The Daily Aztec reports.

The antibiotic provided does provide short-term protection against serogroup B meningococcal disease, San Diego County health officials told Fox News 5. Moreover, members of Stelzer’s sorority, Kappa Delta, were contacted and given preventative treatment, along with students who were at an Alpha Epsilon Pi party on Oct. 8 or a Delta Sigma Phi party on Oct. 9.

Bacterial meningitis can be spread through kissing and coughing. Side effects include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting. Infections are often misdiagnosed because its early symptoms are much like those of the flu, according to the National Meningitis Association.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the best ways to try and avoid getting bacterial meningitis include: washing hands often and vigorously; practice good hygiene – don’t share drinks, foods, straws, eating utensils, lip balms or toothbrushes with anyone else; and cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing.

SDSU Student Health Services director Gregg Lichtenstein told The Daily Aztec that the center did not offer antibiotics to secondary contacts because they are at a low risk for the infection.

“If someone is sitting in a classroom, even next to the person (diagnosed with meningitis), it’s extremely unlikely that (he or she) would contract it,” he said.

“The most difficult thing in terms of the process here is figuring out how we’re going to handle the load,” he added.

The university has hired extra clinical staff to handle the influx of students and now offers a $91 vaccine to reduce future risk for the infection.

Lichtenstein advises those experiencing symptoms of meningitis, such as a high fever, nausea and vomiting, to immediately seek care at an emergency room. He added a few SDSU students were sent to a local emergency room for a secondary assessment, though he has yet to learn if any were diagnosed with meningitis.

College Fix reporter Michael Cipriano is a student at American University.

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Last month’s vote to unionize by Hamline University’s adjunct faculty apparently had little effect on its fellow Minnesota private school, the University of St. Thomas, whose adjuncts resoundingly voted against joining the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) this week.

The 136-84 St. Thomas vote against unionizing showed a rare setback for the union’s Adjunct Action project, which had boasted of a steady stream of schools’ adjuncts voting to unionize, including at a fellow Jesuit school, Georgetown University.

The union pushed ahead at St. Thomas despite calling off a similar election in June at nearby Macalester College “amid growing dissent about the vote,” the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

A marketing professor at St. Thomas, Kim Sovell, told the Star-Tribune she wasn’t anti-union “but I’m anti being ramrodded … or rushed into making a decision,” especially when her job in the business school could be axed if the adjuncts unionized.

The College Fix previously reported that several St. Thomas adjuncts publicly argued against unionizing – quoted in the local media, writing their own opinion pieces and even filing alternative proposals – in the runup to the vote. One even accused the SEIU of scheduling a summer vote so most adjuncts would be absent from campus.

The administration crowed over the vote in a press release, saying the SEIU has until Monday to file formal objections about the campaign or election.

President Julie Sullivan, who is nearing her one-year anniversary at the school, described union contracts as “rigid and inflexible” and said she wanted to retain the Jesuit school’s “unique mission” in a campus email, the Star-Tribune said. She held half a dozen meetings with adjuncts in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Sullivan is “prepared to communicate and initiate an action plan addressing the top-level adjunct faculty priorities identified over the past year,” the St. Thomas press release said. Sullivan said she appreciates “the trust so many of you have placed in me and our new administration.”

SEIU organizers were muted over the results. “We are disappointed with the results of today’s election, but are incredibly proud of the gains this campaign achieved by bringing the reality faced by adjuncts at St. Thomas out of the shadows,” they told the Star-Tribune.

The union’s Adjunct Action site and social media profiles have made no mention of the St. Thomas vote all week.

A Wednesday post on Adjunct Action noted the U.S. House passed the Strengthening Transparency in Higher Education Act, which requires universities to “reveal important information about the working conditions of adjunct faculty.” A Twitter retweet Wednesday asked supporters to sign a petition backing adjuncts at the College of Saint Rose in New York who are organizing a union vote there, according to the Albany Business Review.

Not even the encouraging words from the Georgetown adjunct faculty could sway their St. Thomas peers to unionize, according to, a reporting project of the free-market Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity.

The St. Thomas administration emphasized that adjuncts would pay union fees to “an organization that spent $114 million on political activities and lobbying in 2012″ and that SEIU’s existing contracts actually paid union members less than what most St. Thomas adjuncts were making, said.

The administration also told adjuncts that union contracts “often prioritize and reward seniority over other employee qualifications,” and that adjuncts “who teach to share their professional expertise” – not primarily in higher education – may opt out of teaching if they have to pay dues.

The Star-Tribune said only one unionizing effort was voted down in the past year prior to the St. Thomas vote – that of Bentley University in Massachusetts.

Greg Piper is an assistant editor at The College Fix. (@GregPiper)

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The District of Columbia decriminalized possession of marijuana last week – it’s now just a $25 fine for up to an ounce of weed – but Georgetown students shouldn’t light up just yet, The Hoya reports:

Despite the law’s implementation across D.C., the Georgetown administration stated that the university’s policy on marijuana use and possession would not change. The Code of Student Conduct forbids possession, use, transfer, or sale of controlled substances. Violation of the policy leaves students and employees at the risk of sanctions from the university, including suspension, expulsion, or referral for prosecution.

“Georgetown University complies with local and federal laws,” Rachel Pugh, the university’s Director of Media Relations, wrote in an email. “Federal law prohibits possession, manufacturing, [and] use of marijuana. We do not have any plans to change the student code of conduct.”

For students thinking of walking down to the C&O Canal and staring at their hands, be warned, InTheCapital says:

Police can still, however, arrest someone for smoking in public places, such as streets, alleys, parks or “any place to which the public is invited,” as well as a person in possession of more than one ounce of weed. The sale of any amount of marijuana remains illegal, as well as driving a motor vehicle while impaired.

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Georgetown University, a Roman Catholic institution, played host to a series of pro-abortion events last week. Here’s a brief excerpt from the description of events:

H*yas for Choice is hosting its seventh annual Choice Week. This year’s theme, “My Choice, My Voice,” is about both women’s right to reproductive choice and free speech on campus.

“My Choice, My Voice” is a nod to the work H*yas for Choice has done this year in regards to the University’s speech and expression policy,” Laura Narefsky (COL ’14), President of H*yas for Choice, told Vox. “This issue has gone quiet in the last few weeks, and we want to remind both students and administrators that we are not done fighting for rights of expression on campus.”

The Catholic church teaches that abortion is an immoral form of killing. Yet last week’s events included various event designed to promote access to abortion and even a free university shuttle ride to a Planned Parenthood rally outside the Supreme Court.

Read more about Georgetown’s “Choice Week” here.

A professor at Georgetown University–a Roman Catholic institution–made a shocking statement about Jesus Christ on television Monday. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown, was being interviewed about “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson’s recent controversial statement that homosexuality is a sin.

But professor Dyson made a controversial statement of his own, claiming that loving Jesus is “interestingly homoerotic.”

“The same men who sat up in a church of all men ‘I put my God, Jesus over all women, I love Him more than I love her!’ Hmmm… do you really? That sounds interestingly homoerotic to people who are outside your religious tradition!” Dyson said. “I’m not suggesting it is but I’m suggesting there are some very interesting narrative tensions within the Bible itself and within Christianity beyond that.” (Read more.)

What television network aired this interview? MSNBC, of course.

This is not the first time The College Fix has reported on the antics of professor Dyson. In December of 2011, we reported on Dyson’s full-credit academic course focusing on the lyrics of rap artist Jay-Z.

Despite the fact that the class, entitled “Sociology of Hip-Hop: Jay-Z,” centers on the lyrics of an artist who says such profound things as, “I got 99 problems, but a b*tch ain’t one,” Dyson insisted that his class consisted of meaningful scholarship.

“[The class] just happens to have an interesting object of engagement in Jay-Z — and what better way to meet people where they are?” Dyson said to USA Today. “It’s like Jesus talking to the woman at the well. You ask for a drink of water, then you get into some theological discussions…”

Dyson also said that if Jay-Z were alive among the ancient Greeks, he “would be regarded as a god in terms of literary and poetic expression.”

In view of Michael Dyson’s string of statements to the media over the past couple of years, it is remarkable that he is employed by a Roman Catholic university.

According to Catholic Education Daily, “Georgetown University ranks as the highest paying Catholic college in the country, with average full professors taking in more than $170,000.” In all likelihood, Dyson’s salary is much higher than that, however, because Georgetown has given Dyson the rank of “University Professor”–the highest faculty ranking available, reserved only for those the university considers its most distinguished scholars.

(Image: PhotoDean.Flickr)

(Via Drudge)

Representatives of TFP Student Action, a conservative student Catholic advocacy group, recently attended a “Coming Out Day” celebration at Georgetown University. They got videos, pictures and more to tell the tale of how one of the oldest Catholic colleges in the nation is morphing into something quite different:

My colleague, holding the camera, then asked how they justify such things given that “the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”
— “Unfortunately, the Catholic Church is sort of a hierarchical institution; it doesn’t always recognize the importance of individual revelation.”
— “But how does that explain it (homosexual acts) as being intrinsically disordered?” continued my friend.
Georgetown student: — “Well, I’ll say very blatantly, that that belief is wrong! At Georgetown,” he continued, “there are Jesuits who think that what GU Pride does is wrong, but there are Jesuits who love what we do and who are supportive of the community. The Catholic Church isn’t as undemocratic on the more human, sort of the, umm, each level of the, each individual… what is it? Oh, each individual diocese, as people make it out to be. Uhh, and that’s, like I said, demonstrated here, where what we do is celebrate diversity, celebrate identity, which is so critical to the Catholic mission.”

Read more.

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