Tag Archives: University

Student Poverty: Facts and Falsehoods

Among the many sensational claims made by student activists, perhaps the boldest is that two thirds of Australian students are living in poverty. Can we really apply the term ‘poverty’ to students attending an expensive higher education institution when perhaps the term ‘broke’ is more applicable?

This ‘two-thirds of students’ rhetoric is the kind of shock-and-awe statistic that welfare groups tend to shout from the rooftops whenever they want to call attention to some grave national crises requiring urgent action – usually in the form of large dollops of taxpayer money.

However, you only need to take a stroll through UQ, or any other major campus for that matter, to notice that the rhetoric surrounding Australia’s student poverty epidemic jars with reality.

Read the rest on Semper Floreat, here.

No place for safe spaces in Australian universities

There was a time when Australian universities were at the forefront of social change. In 1963, a group of staff and students at the University of Melbourne played a decisive role in ending the White Australia Policy when they published their landmark manifesto calling for an end to Indigenous segregation.

Nowadays, that old ideal of treating people as individuals rather than skin-deep categories has become a bit passé. As the five QUT students facing court for speaking out against their campus’s racially designated study areas recently found out, today’s universities are more interested in unwinding the progressive victories of yesterday than advancing them.

This is epitomized by the concept of the ‘safe space’ – facilities created for the purpose of allowing students to seclude themselves from the world outside based on their sexuality, race or how many X chromosomes they happen to have. You’ll find these enclaves of isolation at virtually every university in the country.

QUT’s vice-chancellor Owen Coaldrake has insisted that the indigenous-only space isn’t ‘segregation’, but rather a way to “assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to succeed at university”.

What Mr Coaldrake failed to explain was how supplying computers, desks and photocopiers exclusively for Indigenous students did anything meaningful to advance their education.

Read the full article at the The Sydney Morning Herald.

Mastering the Skills, Not the Clock

For decades, the progression of the American dream was fairly straightforward: Graduate high school, go to college and get a job. But new developments in higher education may upend that traditional progression. In time, the pathway could become: Learn a skill, get a job, learn another skill while working, get another job or promotion, learn another skill and so on.

Instead of a traditional, time-based model, where students carry a specified number of credit-hours for eight semesters, a new concept in higher education is the competency-based model, where students stay in school for as long as it takes to learn a particular skill. Credit is awarded based not on the time spent learning, but on demonstrated ability in a particular field. For students, this means less time spent earning a degree and more time developing their potential in the job market.

Read the rest on US News, here.

American colleges lay waste to freedom of speech

So-called culturally insensitive Halloween costumes at Yale and seemingly unending protests at the University of Missouri have led to a lot of talk about political correctness on college campuses.

But petition-wielding student activists aren’t the only threat to the free and frank exchange of ideas on campus, even if they are the loudest. Speech codes often regulate free expression in America’s public universities. And Rutgers is no different.

In its harassment policies, Rutgers prohibits the “display of offensive material or objective” as a form of “non-verbal” harassment. As for verbal harassment, breaches can be anything deemed “likely to cause annoyance or alarm.”

The common feature of offense, annoyance and alarm is that they are all subjective emotions. And like all emotions, they aren’t governed by any measurable standard. It’s not just that they differ, sometimes markedly, from person to person, but that they are often caused by unwitting or careless behavior. Sometimes people can become annoyed for reasons that many, if not most people would find downright irrational.

Read the rest on The Daily Targum, here.

Here’s how a major university is discriminating against students standing up for gun rights

Thomas Tullis just wanted to organize a poker game for his Young Americans for Liberty chapter at the University of Oregon. He filled out all the campus bureaucracy forms, requested money from the student senate to cover reservation fees, and started advertising the event.

There was just one problem: a local gun shop donated firearms to reward the winners, and Second Amendment rights aren’t welcome on America’s college campuses.

Despite the fact that Thomas’ YAL chapter threw the exact same event last year with no problems, OU’s administration and student senate went out of their way to try to stop the game. First, the University Housing office told Thomas he couldn’t post fliers because the prize “violated the student conduct code.” Winning a gun is not illegal in the State of Oregon.

Read the rest on Rare here.