“A few months ago, one or more anonymous students wrote a note to their law professor, complaining that she had been spotted at least once on campus wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt. The letter said wearing the shirt was “inappropriate” and “highly offensive.” Further, it said “we do not spend three years of our lives and tens of thousands of dollars to be subjected to indoctrination or personal opinions of our professors,” and urged the professor to avoid “mindless actions” that might distract students at a law school where not everyone is passing the bar.

The professor wrote back, not only defending her T-shirt, but also critiquing the students’ understanding of the professor-student relationship. While the incident took place earlier this year, the students’ letter and the professor’s response went viral in the last week, as Black Lives Matters protests resumed after the killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota. Many have been applauding the professor, while some noted a lack of any information on who she was and whether the letters could be verified.”
Two more Christian colleges win the right to discriminate against LGBT students

The Department of Education has given two more Christian institutions a “religious exemption” to Title IX, allowing them to openly and legally discriminate against transgender students.

Title IX is the federal regulation that outlaws sex discrimination in education, and it was recently clarified to include anti-trans discrimination. When it is ignored, the consequences could range anywhere from denial of housing to expulsion. 

Spring Arbor University in Michigan requested exemption with regards to admission, behavior, housing, athletics, restroom access and more, opening the door to discrimination against any student who is not cis and straight, but especially against trans students. Similarly, Simpson University in California basically expressed outright their need to discriminate against LGBT students for the sake of adhering to Biblical principles. 

Earlier this month, George Fox University also received a Title IX exemption in order to deny a trans student housing. 

Simpson University made a similar case for its exemption to Title IX. Its request – approved by the Education Department – cited its affiliation with the Christian and Missionary Alliance to say that it must discriminate against both gay people and transgender people. “[S]exual practices that are divorced from loving, covenental relationships between men and women pervert God’s intentions and result in sinful behavior that ruptures relationships between men and women, and erodes the relationship between human beings and their creator.” The letter goes on to say that “any individual who violates campus standard for biblical living is subject to discipline, including expulsion.”

Education Department officials have said that they have no choice but to grant exemptions that are based on colleges’ religious beliefs. The colleges’ policies are not new, but the Education Department only recently determined that Title IX protects transgender students. [emphasis added]

This is SO. MESSED. UP. We cannot keep enforcing the idea that religion gets you a free pass to discriminate freely. This system is broken.
Mount Holyoke formally states that trans women are welcome -- but so are trans men

This week, the women’s only college Mount Holyoke stated on the record that trans women, as well as genderqueer, intersex and gender nonconforming people, are welcome to apply and attend the school.

In and of itself, this is a great move; a women’s college is for women, and trans women are women. That’s why it’s confusing that Mount Holyoke’s policy also specifically states that trans men are welcome to apply and attend. Here’s the policy from the college’s website:

The following academically qualified students can apply for admission consideration:

  • Biologically born female; identifies as a woman
  • Biologically born female; identifies as a man
  • Biologically born female; identifies as other/they/ze
  • Biologically born female; does not identify as either woman or man
  • Biologically born male; identifies as woman
  • Biologically born male; identifies as other/they/ze and when “other/they” identity includes woman
  • Biologically born with both male and female anatomy (Intersex); identifies as a woman

The following academically qualified students cannot apply for admission consideration:

  • Biologically born male; identifies as man

While Mount Holyoke’s intentions were good, this is a big problem. Allowing a trans man to apply to a women’s college completely dismisses that man’s identity, valuing his assigned sex over who he truly is. (I’m also pretty sure the policy regarding trans men isn’t new, but anyone who goes to school there can correct me if I’m wrong.)

Deliberately inviting trans men into a women’s college ruins its purpose as a women’s space. And it’s even more of a slap in the face to the trans women everywhere who are denied access to women’s colleges because of the sex they were assigned. 

I want to be thrilled for the trans women everywhere who have achieved one more teeny-tiny step toward educational equity with this decision, but this puts a huge damper on the whole thing.
Study finds drop in percentage of low-income students enrolling in college
Study finds notable drop in proportion of recent high school graduates from bottom 20 percent of family incomes who are enrolling in college.

High income students are considered the top 20%, low income are considered the bottom 20%, middle income are the other 60%. 

Which is kind of a ridiculous gap to compare? Many of those middle income students though not in the top 20% would still be considered fairly well off, I’d like to see them actually break down the income brackets of all the students, because 60% is a very large conglomerate.

This is also gross because it shows only ~9% of all students enrolled into college are low income right now, and I’m willing to bet they’re mostly in the top of the bottom 20%

And people still complain about low income students taking all the scholarships, when they don’t even make a real dent among college students to begin with.

These fucking graphs are always confusing to read if you don’t do the math.

It will take a university community to shape a future library that meets the specific needs of learning and research at that institution. This transition is not just about libraries. It is about how colleges and universities come together to solve a collective challenge. Libraries cannot puzzle out their future alone.
Arizona unprecedented in defunding community colleges

Earlier this week, the Arizona Legislature and Governor Doug Ducey moved to pull all state funding for the Maricopa and Pima Community College Districts – two of the largest in the state. Central Arizona College in Pinal County was saved by the Legislature and will continue to receive about $2 million in state support. The cuts are following an annual trend in Arizona in reducing money for higher education. But what is striking in Arizona is the drop from at least several million dollars to zero.
Stop Blaming Professors

Part of the conservative critique of higher education is that liberal professors indoctrinate students, turning middle-of-the-road students into Young Democrats (or Young Socialists).

But a new study suggests that it’s time to stop blaming professors (of any political leaning) for any leftward tilt that college students may show (and the study acknowledges that many do lean that way over the course of their college years).

The influence is coming from students themselves. In fact, the study says, the more engaged students are with faculty members and academics, the more their views moderate toward the center. But the more students become engaged in student activities, the more the liberals become more committed as liberals and conservatives become more committed as conservatives.