Were You Offended by FAFSA’s Kristen Wiig ‘I’m Poor’ Tweet?

In the still of the night last week, the Twitter account for the U.S. Department of Education’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) made a huge gaffe that resulted in a resounding “thud” each time it was retweeted onto a new timeline:

FAFSA tweet kristen wiig

The offense here seems obvious. Apparently, it is only obvious to every person who isn’t the social media manager of the FAFSA account. There are a lot of things to address here, one of them being the flippant way we’ve come to use the word “poor,” which desensitizes us to real issues of poverty.

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Former Philadelphia University Student Sues Over Sexual Assault Expulsion

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Photo via Facebook

Anthony Villar (left) was a junior at Philadelphia University until January 23rd, when he was expelled by the school after his former girlfriend accused him of sexual assault just five weeks earlier. And now Villar has filed a federal lawsuit against both the school and his ex, claiming that she lied and that the school barely bothered to investigate before kicking him out. Read more »

Eric LeGrand, Paralyzed Ex-Rutgers Football Player, ‘Hurt’ by Commencement Decision

UPDATE: Rutgers has released a statement from president Robert Barchi:

“Eric LeGrand will speak at our Commencement and personally receive his degree from me as a representative of the Class of 2014.

It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate.

ORIGINAL: Eric LeGrand is a football player from Middlesex County in New Jersey who played defensive tackle for Rutgers. In 2010, he was paralyzed from the neck down while playing for the Scarlet Knights. He’s since gone on to become a motivational speaker while continuing his rehabilitation.

On Saturday, he says, he was offered a chance to become Rutgers’ commencement speaker. The university had selected Condoleezza Rice to give the commencement speech, but after protests from students and professors — she worked in the Bush administration during the Iraq War, two unpopular things on college campuses — Rice pulled out of the speech.

So Rutgers needed a replacement, and it selected Eric LeGrand. On Monday, he called to confirm the situation. And he says the school decided to go in a different direction.

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Race-Neutral College Admissions Ignore the Importance of Diversity

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

In The New York Times last week, there was a piece about college admissions and diversity in the wake of the Fisher v. University of Texas case, and the lawyer, Edward Blum who made the whole thing possible.

Blum, a glorified ambulance chaser, represented Abigail Fisher in the case in 2008 after she was rejected from the University of Texas as a potential member of the incoming freshman class. He sought her out to use her story as the case to push the issue to the high court.

Seeking people out is what Blum does as a professional race baiter.

For background’s sake, Fisher was a decent, though average, student with an 1180 on her SATs and a 3.59 GPA. Ninety-two percent of UT’s freshman class that year graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. Evidence suggests that Fisher fell short of the academic standard the university chose to impose, not a racial or ethnic one.

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Commencement Speaker Smackdown!

The first round of announcements regarding May college commencement speakers has wound down, and if you think college admissions are competitive, you should see the commencement-speaker arms race. Is our school’s smarter than yours? More famous? Better looking? We took the trouble to arrange the first 20 announcees according to overall desirability as we see it from here.



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Penn Dean Reveals Third Student Suicide Since End of Last Semester

In the wake of the high-profile suicides of Penn students Madison Holleran and Elvis Hatcher, Philadelphia magazine has learned that a third university student had committed suicide since the end of last semester. Dean Richard James Gelles of the university’s School of Social Policy and Practice said he made no announcement through the university because he believes in the “privacy concerns of the family … and the possibility of contagion.”

While Gelles would not reveal the name of the student, he says he is revealing the suicide out of concern for student welfare.

The unnamed social policy graduate student, who committed suicide off campus over semester break, can now be added to the list of Penn students who recently committed suicide, including Holleran, a freshman who took her life on Jan. 17, and Hatcher, a sophomore who killed himself just weeks later.

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Penn Student Government Feuds over Money, “French Macaroons”

shutterstock_french-macarons-400x400Much like they may go on to do later in life, Penn kids are feuding over money.

Today’s Daily Pennsylvanian brings an incredible report on Sunday night’s meeting of the Undergraduate Assembly. Debate over one amendment lasted past midnight!

I get how these things happen. I worked for the Daily Pennsylvanian in college, and many of the editors and writers there, myself included, took editorial and other decisions with a level of seriousness more fit for discussing how to publish a shocking expose of the president. The people who invest a lot of time in college activities invest a lot of time into college activities; one of the reasons they treat it so seriously is that it’s a way to validate that use of your time. Also, in this and my case, because Penn kids.

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Trigger Warning: This Article Will Offend Those Who Like Trigger Warnings

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A few days back, a student at Temple filed a grievance against the university with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights. The student claims officials at the school discriminated against him regarding his request that special accommodations be made for him because he has bipolar disorder. The student, David Harris, wanted extra time to work on a paper “so he could take it to the writing center,” according to Temple’s student paper.

Harris’s beef is that Temple’s “unofficial policy” regarding “accommodations letters” is that they must be hand-delivered to a faculty member. Harris, who is studying social work, claims that disabled students are frequently “abused” by faculty members who are presented with such letters. How? “[O]ftentimes professors take the opportunity to question the student as to why they need this accommodation and what the nature of their disability is,” he explained.

When I read about Mr. Harris, I was reminded of a newspaper story I saw last year about Grand Valley State University in Michigan, which paid a $40,000 settlement to a student who kept an “assistance animal” guinea pig in her dorm room. The school was perfectly fine with letting Kendra Velzen keep the critter in her dorm room, seeing as, as her attorney explained, it “provides her with emotional support and attachment.” (She suffers, the article said, from depression.) Where GVSU dug in was in refusing to allow her to take her support guinea pig to class and to food service areas. So she threatened to sue. And the school paid out. Read more »

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