Tag Archives: University

U.S. Students Participate in ‘Million Student March’ Over Debt, Free College

Students in universities across the United States participated in the “Million Student March” on Thursday, leaving their classrooms to advocate for changes in the higher public education system.

The march called for free public college tuition, the elimination of all current student debt, and a $15 per hour minimum wage for all workers. The organizers noted that individual marches could also touch on higher pay for adjunct professors.

Reuters reported that over a hundred schools pledged to join the march, and about 50 students were seen at Northeastern University carrying signs that read “Degrees not receipts” and “Is this a school or a corporation?”

Marches were also reported on social media at schools such as Texas State Universitythe University of California, Berkeley, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Texas.

“Education should be free. The United States is the richest country in the world, yet students have to take on crippling debt in order to get a college education,” the organizers stated. “We are united to fight for education as a human right.”

The march occurred days after the president at the University of Missouri resigned following protests from the school’s football team, and after a national “Fight for $15” campaign calling for a nationwide $15 minimum wage held large rallies across the country, “many of which were led or bolstered by student activists.”

According to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, student loan debt currently stands at $1.2 trillion under the Obama administration, which is more than double the figure of less than $600 billion under the Bush administration in 2006.

Students at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, carried signs that said things such as “Banks got bailed out, students got sold out,” and chanted “Fight! Fight! Fight! Education is a right!”

The university’s radio station, KTSW 89.9, reported that students marched “until they reached the President’s House, where protesters gathered to voice their opinions and demands,” and that “several students that were against these demands approached the protest,” with one stating that the marchers’ “demands were absurd and wouldn’t resolve anything.”


As students from Penn, Drexel, and the Community College of Philadelphia gathered to protest at City Hall, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reported that the protests were sparked by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

In June, Sanders said Republicans in Congress would be forced to act on student debt if a million young people marched on Washington.

Missouri Gov. Signs Law Banning ‘Free Speech Zones’ On College Campuses

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon signed the Campus Free Expression Act (CAFE Act) into law on Tuesday, making Missouri the second state to prohibit public universities from limiting student speech to a designated “free speech zone.”

Senate Bill 93, which was created to “protect free expression on the campuses of public institutions of higher education,” designates that all outdoor areas of the campuses of public universities will be recognized as traditional public forums.”

The CAFE Act states that any individual may freely engage in “noncommercial expressive activity” as long as the individual’s conduct is “not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the institution’s functioning.”

The act, which was sponsored by Republican state Sen. Ed Emery, also notes that universities “may maintain and enforce reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions in service of a significant institutional interest” at times when such restrictions “employ clear, published, content and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression.”

“This act may be enforced in a court of competent jurisdiction by the attorney general or any person whose expressive rights were violated under this act,” Emery wrote. “A person may recover compensatory damages, reasonable court costs, and attorney fees.”

If a court finds an institution in violation of the new law, the CAFE Act states that it must award no less than $500 for the initial violation, and $50 for each day the violation continues.

Joe Cohn, the Legislative and Policy Director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), said that while “one in six public colleges in the United States use free speech zones to restrict student speech,” the CAFE Act lets Missouri “statutorily ensure that its public colleges and universities will no longer be among them.”

FIRE noted that the CAFE Act received “overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate,” and was passed by a unanimous 34-0 vote before being passed in the House of Representatives.

Virginia became the first state to ban “free speech zones” on college campuses, when it enacted House Bill 258 in April 2014, which prohibits public universities from “imposing restrictions on the time, place, and manner of student speech that occurs in the outdoor areas of the institution’s campus and is protected by the First Amendment.”

“The fact of the matter remains that universities have a track record at silencing free speech, especially in cases that they disagree with,” said Republican state Rep. Rick Brattin, who handled the bill in the House.

Brattin told the Missouri Times that the CAFE Act became necessary when lawmakers discovered that the West Plains campus of Missouri State University designated a basketball court near the student rec center as its only free speech zone.

“Free speech is not a right or left issue,” Brattin said. “It’s an individual liberty and freedom we all hold dear to our heart. It’s sad that it comes to this point that we have to pass legislation to uphold these First Amendment rights.”

Could Concealed Carry Stop Rape on College Campuses?

The debate over carrying concealed guns on college campuses is being looked at from a new angle, with advocates arguing that if students are allowed to carry a firearm, it could deter sexual assault.

The New York Times reported that although carrying concealed firearms on college campuses is illegal in 41 states, lawmakers in 10 states are pushing bills that would end the ban, and they are “hoping that the national spotlight on sexual assault will help them win passage of their measures.

The 10 states include Florida, Indiana, Montana, NevadaOklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming.

Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, who is sponsoring a bill for concealed carry on college campuses in Nevada, told the New York Times that she predicts her bill will pass, due to the fact that Nevada has both a Republican-controlled Legislature and a Republican Governor, and that if passed, it will make a major difference on college campuses.

If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them,” Fiore said. “The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.”

As previously reported, Taylor Woolrich, a senior at Dartmouth University, advocated for concealed carry on her college campus after she was stalked by 67-year-old Richard Bennett, even with the presence of a restraining order.

Dartmouth thinks banning weapons will keep students safe, but a gun ban isn’t going to stop him from attacking me,” said Woolrich. “If Dartmouth, a restraining order, and law enforcement can’t guarantee my safety, then I’m asking for the right to do so.”

John Foubert, an Oklahoma State University professor and the president of One in Four, a program that seeks to educate students about sexual assault on college campuses, told the New York Times that he thinks using sexual assaults to push for concealed carry “reflects a misunderstanding of sexual assaults in general.”

If you have a rape situation, usually it starts with some sort of consensual behavior, and by the time it switches to nonconsensual, it would be nearly impossible to run for a gun,” Joubert said. “Maybe if it’s someone who raped you before and is coming back, it theoretically could help them feel more secure.”

On Monday, a bill to allow concealed carry on college campuses was passed by Florida’s Senate Criminal Justice Committee, with a 3-2 vote.

The bill’s sponsor, Committee Chairman Greg Evers told the Tallahassee Democrat that due to the number of registered sexual offenders living near Florida State University, he believes the bill will fix a safety issue on the campus.

The problem is that in gun-free zones, that we have on college campuses right now, those gun-free zones are just an incubator for folks that won’t follow the law,” Evers said.

Crayle Vanest, a senior at Indiana University and the first woman on the national board of Students for Concealed Carry, told the New York Times that the group’s female membership has seen a dramatic increase.

Universities are under a ton of investigation for how they handle sexual assaults,” said Vanest. “Our female membership has increased massively. People who weren’t listening before are listening now.”

President Obama signs cyber-security executive order

While visiting Stanford University on Friday, President Obama announced he was signing an executive order meant to encourage the sharing of information, regarding cyberthreats, between private sector companies and the government.

The order was signed at the first summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection, which focused on consumer protection and private-public partnerships against cyberthreats.

While at the summit, the president likened the internet to the “Wild West,” and said the public are looking to the government for protection against cyber attacks. President Obama also called these cyber attacks one of the greatest threats to national security, safety, and economic issues.

“Everybody is online, and everybody is vulnerable,” said President Obama, according to NBC News. “The business leaders here want their privacy and their children protected, just like the consumer and privacy advocates here want America to keep leading the world in technology and be safe from attacks.”

However, groups in Silicon Valley are not jumping on board with the president’s push for new digital securities.

Ben Desjardins, the director of security solutions with the cyber-security firm Radware, said, “The new proposals face significant headwinds, both legislatively from Congress and cooperatively from heavyweights in the tech sector.”  Desjardins also said many companies in Silicon Valley already feel “burned” by the government after the companies learned of the various government surveillance programs through the Snowden leaks.

Scott Algeier, the executive director of the nonprofit organization Information Sharing and Analysis Center, also said this new executive order sounds like a federal takeover of information sharing among people and companies in the private-sector.

The White House has said the executive order is only a framework, and with it the White House aims to allow private companies access to otherwise classified cyber-threat information and ensure information sharing is strongly secure, all while protecting the civil liberties of citizens.

The text of the executive order can be found here for more details.

Colleges forcing fraternities to accept women into their ranks in the name of “gender equality”

Middletown, Conn., September 25, 2014 –  This week, Wesleyan University made history by mandating that its two residential fraternities admit women into their ranks on an equal basis. Delta Kappa Epsilon, one of the two fraternities affected by this new policy at the University, has openly criticized this decision.

On Monday, the university sent a letter to the entire student community stating, “We have decided that residential fraternities must become fully co-educational over the next three years. This change is something that Wesleyan and the fraternities have been contemplating for many years, and now the time has come.”

Reports of sexual assault and gang rape on college campuses in America have steadily increased in recent years, with one in five women statistically becoming a victim of sexual aggression during their college years. Across the country, many fraternity members have been accused of sexual assault and violence against women, while on-campus fraternity houses have frequently been named as the scene of the crime in many rape charges.

Wesleyan University’s new policy follows several lawsuits and rape allegations against fraternity members at the school. A student petition calling for the new measures earlier this summer garnered hundreds of student signatures, in hopes the new policy will reduce campus sexual assaults.

Earlier this summer, the University closed the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house following the serious injury of a female student who fell from a third story window. However, school spokeswoman Kate Carlisle said the decision to integrate Greek life on the campus was not related to any singular incident. Carlisle stated, “This has been the subject of ongoing concern and discussion among the people in the administration, the school community, the alumni community and so forth for a number of years.”

The University’s decision follows those of several other liberal arts colleges in the North East including Middlebury College in Vermont, Colby College in Maine, and Trinity College in Hartford.

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