The alleged cost of $300 billion for the Biden tuition debt forgiveness plan was challenged by the White House as too high. Then the figure went up to $500 billion. Now the respected University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business estimates that it will cost up to $1 trillion. Putting the merits of such debt forgiveness aside, the unilateral plan to waive up to a trillion dollars without congressional approval is a dangerous and unconstitutional violation of our system of the separation of powers. Those Democrats applauding this plan in Congress are celebrating their own institutional obsolescence. Continue reading “Wharton Study: Biden Tuition Debt Forgiveness Could Cost $1 Trillion”
There is a controversy in the Denver Public School system as students were shown a video telling them not to call police if they see a violently racist or homophobic incident because police are perpetrators of such violence. What is particularly shocking, however, was the response of the school district to the showing of this insulting and dangerous film. The district said that nobody at Denver South High School actually watched the video before showing it to the students under their charge. Continue reading “Denver Public Schools Show Video Telling Kids to Avoid Police “as Perpetrators of Violence””
It is a sign of our times. It used to be that the key criterion for college roommates was whether you are a “partier v. non-partier.” Now, it is just your party.
A new NBC and Generation Lab study of the class of 2025 showed that roughly half of college students refuse to live with someone who voted for a member of a different political party. That percentage is notably much higher with Democrats rather than Republicans.
We have been following conflicts over official statements or acknowledgements on diversity, colonialism, or privilege at universities. These conflicts often involve concerns over free speech or academic freedom. The most recent controversy has arisen at Cornell University and involves a challenge to an official declaration that the university perpetuates “settler colonialism, indigenous dispossession, slavery, racism, classism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, antisemitism, and ableism.” The statement was posted on its School of Integrative Plant Science’s website and, according to the site College Fix, one academic has objected: Randy Wayne, associate professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Continue reading “Cornell Declaration States School Perpetuates “Colonialism, Indigenous Dispossession, Slavery, Racism, Classism, Sexism, Transphobia, Homophobia, Antisemitism, and Ableism.””
Below is my column on the increasing condemnations of “constitutionalism” as the root of our problems as a nation. The latest such attack came from two professors in the New York Times in a column titled The Constitution Is Broken and Should Not Be Reclaimed. It is part of a crisis of faith sweeping the nation. There are good-faith objections to such institutions as the electoral college, but the growing attacks on the Constitution reflects a more significant break with our constitutional values and traditions.
There is a controversy at the University of Wisconsin this week after the Dane County District Attorney’s Office in Wisconsin filed misdemeanor battery charges against three teens suspected in the brutal assault of a UW-Madison Chinese PhD student. The Asian community denounced the crime as race related (which the University denies). Asian students protested the treatment of the case at the university. Many objected to not only the rejection of hate crime charges but the use of misdemeanor rather than felony charges. The reason, however, appears a key distinction in the Wisconsin criminal code. Continue reading “Protests Arise at UW-Madison After Alleged Assailants of Chinese Student are Charged with Misdemeanors in Brutal Attack”
A researcher at Leeds University, Salma al-Shehab, has been sentenced to 34 years in prison for spreading “rumors” and retweeting dissidents on social media. Saudi Arabia is known for its harsh punishments under Islamic Sharia law, but this sentence has shocked even those familiar with the kingdom’s draconian laws. It appears that the Saudi Sharia-based system has moved into the Internet age with grotesque sentences applied to retweets. Al-Shehab was originally given six years but, when she appealed, a national security court increased her punishment to 34 years.
In past columns, we have discussed the litany of “slam dunk” crimes that Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe has declared as established against former President Donald Trump, none of which have been actually charged. Indeed, Tribe appears intent upon running through the entire criminal code. Just for the purposes of keeping score, Tribe declared evidence supporting criminal charges of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, criminal election violations, Logan Act violations, extortion, espionage, attempted murder, and treason by Trump or his family. This week, Tribe insisted on MSNBC that Trump yet again is facing a “slam dunk” criminal conviction over the raid on Mar-a-Lago. While some of us have suggested that we wait to see the actual evidence before evaluating the risk in the case, Tribe again is confident that the still uncharged case has already been made.
We have been discussing the ongoing controversies — and prosecutions — over what are called Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs). The term is used for feminists who have voiced opposition to transgender policies and laws that they believe “erase” or “marginalize” biological women. The most famous such figure is author J.K. Rowling who has not only been the subject of a global cancel campaign but was recently listed by Buzzfeed with figures like cult leader Jim Jones, Benedict Arnold and O.J. Simpson as “villains.” Now, Joan of Arc is a flashpoint in the debate after Kit Heyam, lecturer at Queen Mary University of London, called for the use of “they/them” pronouns and declared that Joan of Arc and Queen Elizabeth should not be viewed as females but “gender nonconformists.” That has led feminists and others to object that Heyam and others are actually advancing gender stereotypes of women. Continue reading “Joan of Arc Becomes Latest Flashpoint in TERF Fight”
It appears that Oberlin has another major controversy on its hand. For the last couple years, Oberlin has been embroiled in a fight with a small family-owned grocery that it defamed over a shoplifting case involving black students. Oberlin lost $25 million in a record verdict but Oberlin President Carmen Twillie Ambar continued to refuse to apologize. In the meantime, the school seems intent on running the 137-year-old grocery into insolvency as it delays paying on the judgment. Now the school is under fire over a faculty member, Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, who supported the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. The author of Satanic Verses is recovering from a savage knife attack. Hadi Matar, 24, is accused of carrying out the stabbing attack and has expressed support for Iran in the past. The campaign to have Mahallati fired could present some difficult free speech and academic freedom questions.
There is an interesting lawsuit filed against the University of Oregon after Portland State University Professor Bruce Gilley was blocked from a social media account. Gilley claims that he was blocked after he tweeted “all men are created equal.” The lawsuit names Tova Stabin, communication manager for the university’s Division of Equity and Inclusion, as the sole defendant. Gilley may believe that “all men are equal” but the censoring of his post suggests that, as in Orwell’s Animal Farm, “some are more equal than others” at the University of Oregon.
The petition by an alumni group at Rhodes College is seeking to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” due to her vote in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The petition accuses Barrett of violating the school’s honor code by testifying untruthfully in her confirmation hearing. In reality, the letter engages in gross misrepresentations of her testimony in the latest attack on her character and honesty. It is a letter that should be condemned by people regardless of their view of reproductive rights. The letter also declares Justice Barrett to be a threat to democracy because she holds opposing views on constitutional interpretation. Continue reading “Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame”
For many who watched the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial, some of the most outstanding moments involved his defense counsel Yarelyn Mena. It was an extraordinary opportunity for the 29-year old graduated from CUNY (2015) and, by all accounts, Mena performed well. It was considered the turning point of one of the most famous trials in modern history. It is something that should be a matter of great pride for the CUNY community and, not surprisingly, the website did an article on their graduate. However, it has now been deleted with an apology after people objected that they were upset or traumatized by the recognition due to Heard’s allegations of abuse. Continue reading ““We Regret Any Pain”: CUNY Apologizes and Deletes Article On Depp Lawyer”