All Articles Tagged "college"

Should You Have To Sign A Contract Of Consent Before Sex?

July 1st, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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A new bill working its way through the California legislation will likely revolutionize the way college campuses and students consent to sexual activity. But are the proposed changes the kind of changes needed?

The bill is called SB-967, and it was introduced by California Democratic state Sens. Kevin De Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson, as well as coauthored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. And according to the language, the bill seeks to amend the student safety section of the state’s Education Code, to require college students in particular to provide “affirmative consent” prior to engaging in any sexual activity, including kissing.

According to various published reports, the bill, which has already passed the state senate and is working its way through the state Assembly, would also require California colleges and universities receiving state funds for financial aid to create and implement policies and standards to not only address affirmative consent, but also for those institutions to “implement comprehensive prevention and outreach programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

As many supporters of the legislations have noted, this bill does away with the often murky blurred lines of consent, which results from tough to prove cases of sexual assault like date rape and when the victim is intoxicated or passed out. Now alleged offenders would have to prove that consent in the affirmative was given prior to engaging in sex, as opposed to the old way, which relied on alleged victims of sexual assault, having to prove that they said no.

However the response to the bill has been a pretty mixed bag. As Emma Woolf writes in her piece for The Daily Beast, entitled Does California’s College Rape Bill Go Too Far In Regulating Sex?, the bill has its problems, particularly how -as it is currently written – a consenting couple would have to seek permission for each sexual act, prior to it actually occurring. And by definition, that would make every single sexual act in the state of California rape in the pretext. More specifically she notes:

But what about regular physical intimacy between regular (non-criminal) students? Are we in danger, in the rush to legislate, of ruining the moment? When I was a teenager, the stages of physical intimacy were called bases: so you might go to first base, second base, third base, or “all the way.” (I don’t remember any young men checking in between bases…)

Comedians love to satirise this kind of law: “May I touch your left breast?’ “You may touch my left breast’; “May I touch your right breast?’ etc. Comedy aside, the conviction rate for rape and other sexual crimes is scandalously low, and this bill seems unlikely to right that wrong. The tragic fact is that rape can and does happen within marriages: once again, SB 967 does nothing to address that.

But in a response to those criticisms, Martha Kemper of the reproduction rights and sexual health website, Reality Check, points out in her piece, Is Affirmative Consent the Answer to Sexual Assault on College Campuses?, that kind of thinking belittles the act of consent and the paranoia of those who are being overly sensitive. Instead, Kemper writes about the law’s potential to address rape culture as a whole:

But communication is still important. Young men have been taught by our society that their role in relationships is to want sex badly, and women’s is to reluctantly give it to them. Many have never really been taught what is and isn’t consent—except, perhaps, “no means no.” That does not excuse any man who rapes, but it is a problem. Fostering a culture of affirmative consent among both parties could prevent at least some men from raping.”

That is an important point to note considering the US Department of Education is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases. Personally, I feel like this law is potentially some game-changing stuff here. In addition to getting folks to think in new ways about how we communicate sexually including consent. It looks like it will begin to hold education institutions more accountable. But I do worry about the implication and those pesky grey areas. Like how can expressed consent, particularly the verbal kind, be proven when the people involved are disputing the claim? And whose word will matter more? If the we currently treat sexual assault victims in the legal justice system is any indication, potential victims of sexual assault might run into some of the same institutional barriers and biases, particularly the discrediting women through slut-shaming, they had before.

 

 

College Admission Rate Drops! More High School Graduates Are Skipping Higher Ed

April 26th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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More and more, students fresh out of high school are choosing to side-step the four-year college experience — college enrollment dropped 70 to 65 percent in just five years. Perhaps — oh, I don’t know — the ridiculously high price tag on higher education could be the reason?

Skyrocketing tuition, according to Entrepreneur, isn’t the only reason though. The job market is beginning to restore itself back to health. As a result, high school graduates are jumping right into the job search and skipping college altogether. More than one-third of last year’s three million high school graduates decided not to pursue a higher education in the fall. This is “the lowest share of new graduates since 2006,” FiveThirtyEightEconomics added.

Those not enrolled in college are more than twice as likely to be looking for a job than their enrolled counterparts — 74.2 percent compared to 34.1 percent, according to a Labor Department report released on Tuesday.

“Why go to college when more than half of college graduates get stuck in the same underpaying jobs as the rest of the country? The only way to get ahead is to start your own business…our education system teaches people how to be employees, not employers,” said one Entrepeneur commenter.

While many high school graduates may share the same sentiment, research shows that a post-secondary education still holds plenty of value in the U.S. economy. Workers (over the age of 25) who did not attend college have an unemployment rate of 6.3 percent; compare this to the 3.4 percent unemployment rate of their college-educated counterparts, according to the March jobs report.

“In addition, a college education translated into significantly more money per year (an average annual income of $45,0000 versus $28,000),” Entrepreneur added.

So college definitely pays off, but it’s too bad that many just cannot afford it — 62 percent of high school grads, according to Forbes, could not afford to attend their first choice college in 2013. With rising tuition costs and poor returns on investment, it’s completely understandable why dropping ungodly amounts of cash on additional schooling might seem nutty. However, in the long-term, choosing to skip college typically has financial consequences.

“College graduates earn 50 percent more than those with a high school diploma. Over the course of a career, college graduates earn more than half a million dollars more on average, even after factoring in the cost of going to school,” FiveThirtyEight said.

“I Have Left The Plantation To Get My Freedom” High School Student Protests University Of Michigan Rejection Letter

April 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From BlackVoices 

Brooke Kimbrough, an 17-year-old high school senior, always dreamed of attending the University of Michigan.

But when she received her rejection letter in the mail this spring, Kimbrough took an unusual step: she held a news conference and rally at the campus to protest the decision.

“I fervently believe in black equality,” Kimbrough explained in a statement. “I believe that our public university system should provide a pathway for opportunity for underrepresented minority communities. I am appealing my application to the University of Michigan not only for myself, but for other black and minority students who deserve the equal opportunity to go to the best public university in the nation.”

Kimbrough, a senior at University Preparatory Academy in Detroit, says she’s taking a stand on behalf of other minority applicants to the elite public university, located in Ann Arbor, Mich. Less than 5 percent of the student body is African-American; of the state’s total population, more than 14 percent are black, according to the 2012 U.S. Census.

At the rally Tuesday, Kimbrough also promised to publicize more rejection letters from minority students until her public appeal for a spot in next fall’s freshman class is granted.

“I have left the plantation to get my freedom but I am coming back for you too,” she said in a video posted by Fox 2 Detroit.

Read more about this case at BlackVoices.com 

Zero Tuition?! State Passes Bill, Allows Students To Attend College Without Paying a Dime!

April 20th, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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We never thought we’d see the day! Tennessee legislators passed a bill that will offer high school students the opportunity to attend two-year colleges tuition-free, ThinkProgress reports.

To be signed into law, all it needs is a signature from Gov. Bill Haslam (R), who has promised to improve graduation rates from 32 percent to 55 percent by 2025. On Tuesday, the House approved the plan, called the “Tennessee Promise,” just a day after the Senate’s 30-1 vote, according to News Channel 5.

The program is expected to cost the state $34 million a year. It will be paid for by “using $300 million in excess lottery reserve funds and by creating a $47 million endowment,” ThinkProgress adds. In addition, scholarships offered to students attending four-year colleges will be reduced from $4,000 down to $3,500 for freshman and sophomores. For juniors and seniors, however, they will see their scholarships increase to $4,500.

In order to participate in the “Tennessee Promise,” students must have a high school diploma, maintain a 2.0 grade point average, meet with a mentor, and engage in community service.

Tennessee isn’t the only state seeking to aid students pursuing a higher education. Florida, Oregon, and Mississippi are mulling over the implementation of zero college tuition programs as well. Other states, like New Jersey, have been considering the “Pay It Foward” plan. This will allow students to attend two-year colleges and public universities free of charge, but they’ll need to surrender 1.5 percent of their paychecks, for 20 years, after graduation.

The federal government, according to ThinkProgress, just might take it a step further and make public colleges free for all:

“For the amount that it already spends on subsidizing the cost of college through grants, tax breaks, and work-study funds — or about $69 billion — it could instead make tuition at all public colleges free for about $63 billion.”

In the face of competition, this could be a huge incentive for private universities to lower their exorbitant tuition fees as well. As the cost of four-year public colleges have skyrocketed by 27 percent over the last five years, these plans to ensure an affordable education for college-bound students couldn’t have come at a better time.

Lauren London On Avoiding The Video Girl Curse & Skipping College

March 13th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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This past weekend, MadameNoire had the opportunity to attend the Disney Dreamers Academy hosted by Disney (obviously) in conjunction with Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine. As we’ve mentioned before, this event is meant to inspire students to pursue their dreams and encourage them to complete the necessary work to do so.

Throughout the weekend several celebrity guests stopped by to encourage these 100 high school students. And one of them was actress Lauren London. Lauren spoke to the students about the importance of having a positive attitude when she recalled the time she lost a poetry competition as a teenager. She said after she’d lost one of the judges came up to her and told her that based on her work alone, she would have won but her attitude was so stank, the judges felt the audience would relate to the other girl and so they gave the prize to her.

She learned from that experience and took the importance of having a positive attitude with her. That was certainly our experience when we spoke to her. A complete sweetheart.

In our interview with London she spoke to us about how she managed to avoid the video girl trap and the extra work a person will have to put in if they decide not to go to college.

See what she had to say in the video above.

I Have Two Degrees And He Never Finished College, Am I Settling?

February 18th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Essence 

Dr. Sherry,

I’m totally confused about what to do in my relationship. “Alex” and I dated once before a few years ago and it didn’t work out. I wasn’t where I wanted to be professionally and neither was he, so we broke up. He has three children (all from his ex) and I have a son. My son doesn’t care for him, but I’ve fallen in love and I can’t figure out why. He never finished college and I have two degrees. He makes a good living but it’s manual labor and it’s taking a toll on his health. I love that he accepted me at my worst and still loves me when I’m thriving and succeeding. The thing is, I feel like I’m settling. His manners are subpar, he dresses like a 9-year-old boy, and he never helps in the house when he’s over, unless I nag him. I don’t know if I want to raise three more children, and again, my son can’t stand him. I don’t know if I’m with him because the sex is amazing and because he loves me or if I just don’t want to be alone. I do love him; I’m just not sure if it’s enough to overlook his flaws. Help.

Signed,

Confused in California

Read more Dr. Sherry’s response at Essence.com 

No Bachelor’s Degree? No Prob! Jobs That Don’t Require A 4-Year Diploma

December 20th, 2013 - By Tanvier Peart
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Time and time again, we hear about the importance of attending college in order to land a nice-paying job in hopes of living the good life. While it’s true that having a degree (especially an advanced one) can and will open many doors of opportunities, we also have to consider those who make the choice not to attend a college or university.

Maybe finances are too tight to pay out of pocket for higher education? Or maybe the college thing just isn’t for you? There are still many options a person can take who does not graduate with a college degree. We have already heard about jobs that pay a nice salary to those with a two-year degree. Now it’s time to look at some that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

White Men “Lynched” For Sacramento State University Student Project

December 19th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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As most of us remember, the senior year of college brings forth the opportunity to express what you’ve learned throughout your college career. But sometimes those lessons can push the envelope and become very controversial.

Case and point, Christina Edwards, an African-American college senior who attends Sacramento State University. For her senior art project, Edwards portrayed two white lynched on a campus tree. Although they were paid actors, according to The Root they had nooses hung around their necks and were suspended from the tree to prevent them from being in physical danger.

The concept of the art project was to spark a conversation about reverse racism and to shed light on the historical value of  the civil rights era. During an interview with Fox 40, Edwards stated:

“The purpose of this performance was to bring to light social injustices and the issue of inequality that impacts me and my community as a whole.”

Sacramento State University felt otherwise; the university’s president Alexander Gonzalez said:

“The university did not approve the display, and I want to assure everyone that I am working to address the multiple issues raised by this incident.”

Despite the offending her campus community, Edwards believes using white men in the lynching project would help expose the reactions black men never received from other racial groups during the time lynching was prevalent in the United States. Edwards noted:

“My choice to cross racial lines was intentional to create an open opportunity to personalize and empathize with his-story as a people and hopefully initiate compassion and change in terms of social and racial availability and equality.”

Do you think Christina Edwards should have showcased her ideas differently? Watch the Fox News video below and tell us what you think.

University Of Alabama Sorority Elects First African-American President

November 18th, 2013 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Voices 

Following recent allegations of racial discrimination within the Greek system at the University of Alabama, one of the majority white sororities elected an African American president for the first time in history.

Sigma Delta Tau, a historically Jewish sorority, elected 22-year-old engineering student, Hannah Patterson, who joined the organization one year ago according to WBRC-TV.

“We’re welcoming of any girl that wants to join our chapter and best fits our chapter,” Regina Broda, who was president before Patterson, explained to the campus paper The Crimson White.

“We were founded by seven Jewish women because they, in 1917, couldn’t find a home. They were discriminated against. They weren’t allowed into sororities. Sigma Delta Tau nationally does not discriminate because it goes completely against our founding principles.”

In the spring of 2011, Delta Tau accepted its first black member and since then has initiated three other African-American women. Patterson was recruited to the organization through informal recruitment, after she was unable to find a fit during formal recruitment.

Patterson says she is honored to take the position but insists race never crossed her mind during the process, she just wanted to help her sorority.

“I never saw color or race or ethnicity. It’s never been in the front of my mind,” said Patterson. “I tried to never let it hinder anything I did or judge people on that. I guess I never really thought about, ‘Oh, I’m the first African-American that has been president.’ I’m just excited for my term and to see where my chapter has gone and where it is going to go.”

Her sisters in the sorority also say that Patterson’s race did not impact their decision to elect her as president, she simply was an active member who proved her leadership capabilities.

“We know that Hannah is going to be the best for the future of our chapter at this time,” said Erinn Forbes, a member of Sigma Delta Tau. “That has nothing to do with her ethnicity, but it is definitely a really cool thing. I think our chapter is happy to be a part of the change that’s going to be happening here.”

Read more at BlackVoices.com 

First Lady Michelle Obama Takes On New Education Initiative

November 14th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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The First Lady at the US Tennis Center in New York this summer. Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/WENN.com

The First Lady has just joined President Barack Obama‘s efforts to get the United States on track to have the highest percentage of college graduates by 2020.

Recently, Michelle Obama spoke to students at Bell Multicultural High School not far from the White House. The event is part of what will be a broader focus for the First Lady on getting students — particularly those in underserved communities — to attend college.

“No matter what the president does, no matter what your teachers and principals do, or whatever is going on in your home or neighborhood, the person with the biggest impact on your education is you,” FLOTUS said.

Mrs. Obama, who went to one of the best high schools in Chicago,  told the story of how she had to wake up at 6 a.m. and travel at least an hour on the bus. The First Lady grew up in a working class family and went on to Princeton University and Harvard Law School, reports The Grio.

“Some of my teachers straight up told me that I was setting my sights too high. They told me I was never going to get into a school like Princeton,” Obama said to the 10th graders. “It was clear to me that nobody was going to take my hand and lead me to where I needed to go; instead it was going to be up to me to reach my goals.”

She is working with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is overseeing the effort. Right now the U.S. ranks 12th globally in the proportion of people who hold college degrees.

Mrs. Obama encouraged the students to be inspired by Menbere Assefa, 22-year-old Bell Multicultural alumna who graduated on scholarship from James Madison University in May. Her family, who emigrated from Ethiopia when she was eight years old,  stressed the importance of education.

“There’s scholarships out there, there are funds out there for people to get and make sure that they attend higher education,” said Assefa, who works as a management assistant in policy and compliance administration for the District of Columbia government.