Obama's Huge Title IX Gamble
The Justice Department had good intentions in linking Title IX with transgender equality, but our recent judicial setback proves we need laws that unequivocably address our rights.

A federal judge in Texas last week blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines on equal treatment of  transgender students in K-12 schools receiving federal funds — which is almost all schools in the U.S. This means that schools in the 22 states that are currently suing the government over the guidelines do not have to comply until the courts determine the outcome of the suits. 

(The guidelines are not legally binding, but there was the threat — albeit not yet acted on — of losing federal funding for noncompliance.) 

Of course this has caused no small amount of outrage in the LGBT community, as it is a major setback in the pursuit of equality and fair treatment.


Setting the scene: Lunch block has actually JUST ended, about 10 minutes ago. One of my students, whose seat is about 1 meter from where I sit, is blatantly on his phone for more than just the quick-glance-type of texting.He might be composing a full-on fanfiction for the amount of effort and focus it is taking.

Me: Dude, put your phone away, this is important.

*student fakes putting phone away but continues to text obviously on lap, which I observe with growing incredulity as a few more moments pass*

Me, making eye contact: Put it away.

Student: *loud aggravated sigh* but I have to take care of something BEFORE the end of the school day and I don’t have any free blocks.


H.E. – College Culture
Since 2010, we’ve seen a rise in focus on college campus politics. Battles over Campus Carry, the spread of speech intolerances (so called: “Microaggressions” in speech patterns) …

August 30, 2016

Dear America

Dear America,

            Today I had class at my college. Nothing too impressive or out of the ordinary, I know. But something was different today, I experienced something that I’d never experienced in my 21 years of life.

            We all know about our safety drills. Fire Drills, Shelter in place, school lockdowns, Bomb threats. We’d gone over them since I was a child. Just to catch anyone up who is from out of Country. Anything from bad weather to a Bomb threat is covered by these.
           The Usual. But today was something new, as I mentioned. Today we covered //What// we’d do in case of a gunman IN our school. As a kid, we’d briefly covered it. But not like this. Today this wasn’t a simple “Shelter in place, lock the doors. Everything will be fine.” Today we addressed four new rules or methods, which my teacher pegged down to three.

            One) RUN. If you can get away, Run. Don’t run in groups, run into parking lots to hide behind cars.
            Two) HIDE. Don’t hide in bathrooms, shooters check there. Don’t barricade yourself. Don’t hide behind drywall, you’ll die. Basically, good luck. 

           Three) FIGHT. Fight your attacker. Fight the gunman.–Excuse me what? I’ve never in my life been prepped how to fight a gunman in school.– “What do you have to use as weapons against the attacker?” My Professor asked the class. We all sat there, waiting for the answer. Those who carry pocket knives know that they don’t want to be close enough to use it.
“This class is filled with weapons. Your water bottles, your binders, your bags, shoes, chairs, these pens. They are all weapons. Unless they are trained, they will flinch.”

             He then went onto talk about how when he was taking a guns class, on their last day they threw bean bags at the students while they were firing. Even though the students were expecting it, they flinched.
“With enough stuff being thrown at them. it’ll distract the attacker enough.” he reassured us that if it comes down it it, after we throw what we have and he’s distracted he’d tackle the gunman.

            Four) The rule my teacher told us to disregard- NEGOTIATE. He literally covered nothing of this because, “[he] will not negotiate with someone trying to shoot us.”

             The story didn’t end with “But this will probably never happen.”
It ended with the truth. How this teacher had a colleague that was in this situation, and her students felt “Safer” knowing they practiced this. And they weren’t being threatened by a country we are at war with, they were being threatened by a fellow student. Why do we have to practice this?

             America, today in school I was taught to throw my water bottle at someone trying to kill me.

“If you know someone who is having these thoughts, speak up.”

America, Isn’t it time for change?

Your Student.
Today's youth are working less, earning less and have the most student debt in Canadian history
According to a new report published by Oxfam, not only is the gap between the rich and the poor growing, but the gap between the old and the young too.

So much for those “entitled millennials.”

Despite years of blaming the attitudes of young people for deeper problems in the economy, this generation of young Canadians work less, earn less and are saddled with the highest student debt in Canadian history.

According to a new report published by Oxfam, not only is the gap between the rich and the poor growing, but the gap between the old and the young too – inequality is leaving today’s generation of youth disadvantaged and disempowered despite being the biggest generation in human history.

“The policies that enabled an outrageously large portion of the world’s wealth to accrue to the very top of the income spectrum have delivered a difficult present and uncertain future to a huge majority of today’s youth,” the report points out.

Meanwhile, the report suggests Canadian youth are “earning less” than previous generations, working in jobs that are “low paying and temporary” and, thanks to tuition more than tripling in the last two decades, today’s students are “the most indebted generation in Canadian history.”

And here are a few other statistics:

Continue Reading.
Transgender Students Go Back to School Confused and Scared After a Summer of Legal Battles
With injunctions against many of the federal protections the Obama administration offered transgender people this year, transgender students and their schools grapple with policies on bathrooms, changing rooms, sports teams, and more.
Despite Anti-LGBT Assault, Lara’s Bill Requiring Discrimination Disclosure by Religious Schools Heading to the Senate
Veterans of the anti-gay marriage Prop 8 wars will recognize the hysterical propaganda tactics used today by religious right groups opposed to ending anti-LGBT discrimination in California.

The latest target is SB 1146, Uncovering Discrimination in Higher Education, authored by out State Sen. Ricardo Lara. Despite an onslaught of anti-LGBT hate couched in religious rhetoric, the amended bill passed the Assembly on Tuesday, Aug. 23, and is headed back to the Senate where it is expected to pass and move on to Gov. Brown’s desk.

It is useful to remember that the successful Prop 8 campaign became a model for a wave of anti-gay initiatives and electoral rhetoric that subsequently swept the nation. Today the fight for LGBT civil rights is over “religious liberties” and some of the same hateful forces that backed Prop 8 are touting SB 1146 as the latest threat in the “war” on Christianity, while the forces backing equality claim the bill is an attempt to end hurtful discrimination against LGBT people.


Quebec Student Protests

Hey so I just got this email from a friend of mine in Montreal:

“I know some of you are aware of the situation in Quebec at this moment, with a second wave of striking students mimicking the massive 2012 student uprising that toppled the government and rolled back tuition increases.  We are still in the early days of this new strike, pressuring the government to roll back austerity measures against universities, social services, and the environment.  Like 2012 students have already been severely injured due to police aggression, with one student recently shot in the face with a tear gas canister at point blank range.  Others have already faced administrative intimidation and expulsion for simply participating publicly in the strike.

Today, police stormed the University of Quebec at Montreal, violently assaulting striking students and arresting many. Brave professors formed a human chain around students to prevent further violence, and currently there is still a stand off at this very moment! Over the last three weeks there have been countless protests and night marches with thousands and/or tens of thousands of students in the streets–but we know little is being reported outside of Quebec–in part because we are a French province and anglos don’t know/don’t care what’s going on here.

So I’m writing to you to you all so that we aren’t disappeared and because I know many of you would stand with us if not in the streets, at least in spirit. So please, share the news about what is happening in Quebec with your friends, colleagues, and students. And to stay in the loop if you’re interested, you can always see what’s going on at this website which acts as a clearing house for anti-austerity related information.”

I hadn’t heard ANYTHING about this until they sent me this email so spread the news!

The University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor, Stuart McCutcheon, earns $650,000 to $660,000 a year in a remuneration package, making him the highest-paid public official in the country. His pay package increased by $20,000 from 2012 to 2013. If there is not enough ‘public funding’ to place a freeze on fees or to pay workers at the University an adequate wage then why is there enough to pay Professor McCutcheon’s salary?

How is this kind of salary possibly justified for any public official when between 500,000 and 750,000 people in New Zealand are living in households with incomes below the poverty line? As New Zealanders, we bare the unfortunate statistic of an estimated 270,000 children living in poverty. How does the University of Auckland contribute to the perpetuation of poverty? Cleaners at the University of Auckland are paid a minimum wage, some of whom have worked for the University six days a week for 30 years. Wages are out of step with the cost of living and an institution bound to be the conscience of society cannot defensibly continue paying below subsistence wages.

At present, the real danger on campuses is not from plaintive student demands for safe-spaces and trigger warnings, but the systematic and often concerted efforts to avoid or prevent protests and demonstrations, to shame and bully radicals into silence, into acquiescence with their seniors and presumed betters. While for decades patronising old lefties have bemoaned the lack of radicalism and political consciousness among students, now many of the same old lefties bemoan its very existence.