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Colleges investigate scary new trend: Student deaths by falling from buildings

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 5:00pm

A series of deaths and injuries in which students fell from buildings has some colleges rethinking policies.

Inside Higher Ed’s Cory Weinberg files this report.

When 18-year-old Joshua Robert Helm fell seven floors off a window ledge out of a freshman residence hall at University of North Carolina at Charlotte last month, campus officials questioned whether the death was preventable.

They were already planning upgrades to 40-year-old residence halls like the one from which Helm fell, where windows partially opened from the inside because the building lacked fire sprinklers until only a few years ago. The college believes the incident poses little legal risk, said John D. Bland, director of public relations, but administrators are still determining whether the window designs on new or renovated buildings need better safety measures.

“When an incident or an accident like this happens, that definitely gets our attention,” Bland said. “When we’re evaluating the types of windows, it’ll have an impact for sure.”

Of the dangers facing students, the chances of falling from a building may seem very small, but Helm’s case isn’t unique.  A string of students have died or been seriously injured across the country after falling out of on-campus residence halls or off-campus apartment buildings and fraternity houses during the past month. While each case comes with its own set of questions and circumstances, tragedies tend to force colleges to re-examine their own safety standards, size up risk and sometimes fight off lawsuits.

Student safety task forces started last fall by the Arizona Board of Regents, which oversees state universities, are now taking a closer look at student drinking and the safety of off-campus apartments after two students from the state’s public colleges accidentally fell to their deaths in the past three weeks.

Eighteen-year-old Arizona State University student Naomi McClendon fell 10 floors off the balcony of an off-campus apartment in late March. Surveillance video showed that she had likely been drunk when she entered the complex.

At the University of Arizona, 19-year-old freshman Michael Evan Anderson fell off a 20-foot metal cooling tower on the roof of a residence hall earlier this month.

“It is particularly upsetting that we had this happen not once but twice in the last two weeks, so the task forces are considering these kinds of incidents that have the most terrible outcomes,” Eileen I. Klein, president of the Board of Regents, said in an interview. “We think we at least have a chance to talk...

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Shocker: Colleges Invite More Democrats Than Republicans to Speak

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 3:30pm

As I pointed out yesterday at Legal Insurrection, the left is obsessed with fairness and equality.

Funny how they don’t seem concerned with the issue in areas where it favors them.

Robby Soave of The Daily Caller reports.

Analysis: Colleges invited WAY MORE Dems than Reps to speak

Spring commencement season is here: A time for colleges and universities to invite notable alumni, politicians, journalists and entertainers to address the graduating class of 2014.

And like most years, universities have invited a disproportionately high number of Democrats.

Democratic speakers outnumber Republicans 2-1 this year, according to an analysis by Campus Reform. Ten of President Obama’s 16 Cabinet members will give commencement addresses. Barack and Michelle Obama will both speak, as Vice President Biden, former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore.

The number of former Republican presidents and vice presidents schedule to speak: Zero.

Invited Democratic senators and political operatives also outnumber Republicans.

Republican speakers are also outnumbered in branches of government where they actually hold a majority. Republicans hold vastly more governorships than Democrats, and yet 11 Democratic governors will speak, compared with just 6 Republicans.


 
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Officials Say Pot Law Not Reason for Colorado’s College Applications Surge

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 2:00pm

We recently noted that an intriguing consequence of Colorado’s new marijuana laws may be a surge in the number of college applications to state schools.

However, officials are flatly denying any connection.

Several Colorado college officials have denied the widely spread claim that the reason college applications in the state have been on the rise is because its residents can legally smoke marijuana – allegedly prompting kids to want to flock to the Centennial State.

In reality, campus officials said, the surge can be traced to a new streamlined college application program, and also they’ve been experiencing a growth in applications for a few years now. What’s more, they point out, the new law is only applicable to those over 21.

The University of Colorado system’s director of admissions Kevin MacLennan told High Times a spike in applications can be traced to the implementation of a standardized statewide application system used by prospective students to apply to several schools at one time. Nearly 500 schools now accept the Common Application.

High Times, a Colorado-based pro-pot publication, has made the claim that out-of-state applications for Colorado universities surged due to the legalization of marijuana.

And make no mistake, Colorado appears to be a popular place to go to college.

The national trend shows college application numbers are down, yet Colorado remains an outlier. For example, the University of Colorado-Boulder, often in the media for its massive annual 4/20 pot celebration, has had a 30 percent increase in applications since the passage of Amendment 64.

For 2013, MacLennan told the Boulder Daily Camera that out-of-state applications were up 33 percent, while in state applications went up roughly 5 percent.

Meanwhile, a Colorado Springs-based liberal arts college, Colorado College, is also experiencing a boom in applications. But Vice President of Enrollment Mark Hatch told The College Fix that this year is actually part of a larger trend for the school. It has had an increasing rate of applications for the past several years.

“This year is no different, and there is no evidence that our increase (is tied) to Amendment 64,” Hatch said.

Leslie Weddell, news director for Colorado College, added that a majority of the student population at the school is under the age of 21, and Colorado law only removes criminal penalties for those using marijuana over the age of 21.

…But High Times writer Russ Belville is still unconvinced.

“I don’t doubt those university officials saying they’ve had increases for a while – sure,...

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The Death of the Academic Debate

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 12:30pm

Debate has always been an important aspect of academia, but logic has been replaced with emotion in some cases. In other words, debate is no longer debate.

John Hinderaker of Powerline reports.

The War On Standards Comes to College Debate [with comment by Paul]

Paul has been writing about the war on standards in various aspects of our society, generally as a means of advancing the interests of minorities (or purporting to advance them, anyway). Now it appears that the decline of standards–indeed, the abolition of any standards at all–has come to the world of college debate. The Atlantic reports:

These days, an increasingly diverse group of participants has transformed debate competitions, mounting challenges to traditional form and content by incorporating personal experience, performance, and radical politics. These “alternative-style” debaters have achieved success, too, taking top honors at national collegiate tournaments over the past few years. …

On March 24, 2014 at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Championships at Indiana University, two Towson University students, Ameena Ruffin and Korey Johnson, became the first African-American women to win a national college debate tournament, for which the resolution asked whether the U.S. president’s war powers should be restricted. Rather than address the resolution straight on, Ruffin and Johnson, along with other teams of African-Americans, attacked its premise. The more pressing issue, they argued, is how the U.S. government is at war with poor black communities.

In the final round, Ruffin and Johnson squared off against Rashid Campbell and George Lee from the University of Oklahoma, two highly accomplished African-American debaters with distinctive dreadlocks and dashikis. Over four hours, the two teams engaged in a heated discussion of concepts like “nigga authenticity” and performed hip-hop and spoken-word poetry in the traditional timed format. At one point during Lee’s rebuttal, the clock ran out but he refused to yield the floor. “Fuck the time!” he yelled.


 
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Wishful Thinking Alert! Dartmouth tries to upgrade its rowdy image

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 11:00am

Dartmouth College, which is among the rowdiest of the Ivy League colleges, is trying again to change its campus culture.

Good luck with that!

During Prohibition, John Sloan Dickey returned to Dartmouth College after a weekend football game against Cornell and found a box of whiskey under his cot in an off-campus apartment. His roommate, a fellow Dartmouth undergraduate, had the idea of becoming a bootlegger.

Dartmouth in those days was a “sanctuary for juvenile delinquency,” Dickey, who went on to become Dartmouth’s president, would recall years later in an oral history. The college had cultivated a reputation for being unconcerned about liquor and its abuse, he said, which became a serious handicap when he tried to recruit faculty and students during his quarter-century as president, from 1945 to 1970.

Little has changed. The current president of Dartmouth, Philip Hanlon, says the college remains bedeviled not just by its students’ drinking but also by sexual assaults and growing disregard for social norms.

Together, Hanlon said in a speech Wednesday night, these student behaviors are threatening to do serious damage to the college’s reputation. He blamed the 14 percent decline in Dartmouth’s applications this year — at a time its Ivy League peers continue to attract growing numbers of students — on the reputation for rowdiness and sexual assault.

“We can no longer allow this college to be held back by the few who wrongly hide harmful behaviors behind the illusion of youthful exuberance,” he said in prepared remarks. “Routinized excessive drinking, sexual misconduct, and blatant disregard of social norms have no place at Dartmouth. Enough is enough.”

Whether Hanlon, who took office last summer, can do anything or not remains to be seen. He is forming a committee of students, faculty members, administrators and alumni who will spend the summer “researching and crowdsourcing the best solutions.”

Officials in the past seven Dartmouth administrations wrestled with Dartmouth’s reputation. For at least six decades, Dartmouth officials have been trying to shut down or rein in fraternities in some form or another, according to oral histories and archival material.

A lot of the problems have been blamed on Greek life, which dominates the campus. First-year students can’t join Greek organizations, but after that, most students do: about 63 percent of upperclass male and female students are in a fraternity or sorority.


 
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Small Colleges See Significant Drop in Enrollment

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 9:30am

We don’t take any pleasure in bad news but College Insurrection reported this was going to happen many months ago.

Paul Caron of the TaxProfBlog points to a new report from Bloomberg which confirms early speculation.

Small Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops

Bloomberg:  Small U.S. Colleges Battle Death Spiral as Enrollment Drops:

Moody’s,...

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Purdue Student Ties Birth of Porn Star’s Career to Death of Affordable College

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Posted by    Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 8:00am

Purdue University Saran Mishra ties the birth of the porn career of Duke student Belle Knox to the death of affordable education.

A Duke freshman’s two-syllable porn star name is a trending topic now on the Web, but more importantly, her story gives rise to an ever-growing social issue.

Belle Knox – don’t...

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Noted edu-author says that it’s not just athletes — college screws everyone!

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 5:00pm

Naomi Schaefer Riley is the author of “The Faculty Lounges: And Other Reasons Why You Won’t Get the College Education You Pay For.”

We have been following the unionization process for the Northwestern University football team; she has as well. In the New York Post, she has the following analysis (hat-tip Instapundit).

…In...

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U. Colorado at Boulder Sexism Probe Reveals Academic Freedom Issue

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 3:30pm

Back in February, we reported on a little problem in the philosophy department at CU Boulder. Now it looks as though the school has bigger fish to fry.

Colleen Flaherty of Inside Higher Ed reports.

Fears of Litigation vs. Faculty Rights

A report on sexism in the department of philosophy at the University of...

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Interview with Aspen Prize chief about high-achieving community colleges and their leaders

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 2:00pm

We have covered the increasing role of community colleges in American education.

Josh Wyner’s new book describes what community colleges do well, and what they can do better.  Inside Higher Ed’s Paul Fain had a chat with the author, who discusses the details.

Josh Wyner visits a lot of community colleges. After several...

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NJ College Freaks Over ‘Game of Thrones’ Quote on T-Shirt

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 12:30pm

File this story under out of touch administrators.

Sarah MsLaughlin of The FIRE reports.

Bergen Administrators Fear ‘Game of Thrones’ Quote, Censor Professor

Brace yourselves; censorship is coming!

Displaying a lack of both pop culture and First Amendment awareness, administrators at Bergen Community College in New Jersey placed Professor Francis Schmidt on leave this past January,...

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Howard U. students unhappy with “P. Diddy” as commencement speaker

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 11:00am

Nowadays, it seems students are often much more circumspect about their graduation ceremonies that school administrators.

Case in point: Howard University’s bigwigs selected music mogul “P. Diddy” as their keynote speaker.

Howard University students are protesting against the school’s choice of commencement speaker for this year.

Rapper and entrepreneur Sean Combs was chosen to...

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Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon Misses the Point

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 9:30am

When I saw that Dartmouth president Philip J. Hanlon was addressing extreme problems on campus in the Washington Post, I thought he would finally reprimand the protesters who took over his office. No such luck.

Instead, he sounds like one of the protesters himself. Nick Anderson writes.

Dartmouth president calls for end to...

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Sallie Mae probe focuses on potential rip-off of military personnel via federal student loans

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Posted by    Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 8:00am

During tax season, one of the few consolations many of us have is that at least some of our money goes to the men and women who honorably serve our country in the armed forces.

Sadly, people in charge of providing them student loan services may have been substantially less honorable.

Sallie Mae...

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Howard U. Invites ‘P. Diddy’ to Give Graduation Address

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 6:30pm

Bonus: The school is also giving him an honorary degree!

The last time we checked on Howard University, it was cutting 200 from the staff in the wake of fiscal troubles.

Choices like this probably help explain some of its difficulties:

Music mogul P. Diddy has been tapped to receive an honorary degree and give the graduation speech at Howard University this May.

“We are...

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Cornell Student – The Truth About “Rape Culture”

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 5:00pm

Julius Kairey has written a piece for the Cornell Daily Sun which examines the issue of rape culture on campus.

THROWDOWN THURSDAY: The Truth About “Rape Culture”

We hear a lot about “rape culture” on college campuses nowadays. The basic idea behind the concept is that there is a widespread tolerance of rape...

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Student Pro-Life Group Denied Membership to Yale’s “Social Justice Network”

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 3:30pm

A story from Yale University shows that “Social Justice” should never be confused with the real thing.

After spending the year as a provisional member of Dwight Hall, Choose Life at Yale (CLAY) — Yale’s pro-life student organization — was denied full membership status in Dwight Hall’s Social Justice Network for the...

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California Democrat Wants $9.2 Million in Loans for Undocumented Students

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 2:00pm

Somebody’s got to keep paying off all the new Democratic voters, right?

Josh Encinias of National Review writes.

California Bill Proposes $9.2 Million in Loans for Undocumented Students

Senator Ricardo Lara (D., Calif.) introduced a bill that would authorizes 

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Students booted from Hawaii college council for questioning fees for non-existent services

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 12:30pm

Perhaps the citizens of Hawaii should send in the team from Hawaii Five-0 to investigate what is happening at a community college in Hilo?

Hawaii Community College in Hilo has charged students about $245,000 in fees for the last year and a half for services that aren’t available on the campus, such...

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Some British Colleges Now Banning The Sun Newspaper on Campus

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Posted by    Friday, April 18, 2014 at 11:00am

Why would colleges want to ban a tabloid style paper from campus? Because it’s been deemed too offensive for the students. Unreal.

Rehema Figueiredo of Leeds Student Newspaper writes at The Guardian.

Why banning the Sun on university campuses is wrong

Just before Christmas my students’ union removed from sale...

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