In Campus Sex Assault, Rights of Victims, Accused at Odds

Though Columbia University president Lee Bollinger denies an intentional snub, he did not shake Emma Sulkowicz’s hand when she — carrying a dorm mattress — walked across the stage during that university’s College Class Day a few weeks ago. The mattress was the site where Sulkowicz says she was raped by a fellow classmate, Paul Nungesser, who also walked the stage that day.

Sulkowicz, by carrying her mattress as the symbol of the weight of the crime she says she endured, has quickly become the face of women speaking out against sexual assault on college campuses, forcing a conversation about privacy and process and who should bear the burden of a rape claim.

The answer to that question remains somewhat unclear — leaving us, in the meantime, with some ugly fights. Read more »

College Grad Hiring Blitz Hits Philly


Anybody who graduated college in the past seven years should be jealous of the class of 2015. Just a few years ago, college grads were freaking out about not being able to find jobs. This year, they should be planning on living life outside of mom and dad’s house because the job market is wide open — especially in Philly.

Consider these numbers: The National Association of Colleges and Employers says employers plan to hire 9.6 percent more new graduates this year and job openings are up 50 percent from a year ago. Meanwhile, CareerBuilder reports that 65 percent of employers plan to hire recent college grads this year, up from 57 percent last year. One third will offer higher pay than last year, and 1 in 4 will pay $50,000 or more.

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BizFeed: Amtrak Lawsuits Face $200M Hurdle

A crime scene investigator looks inside a train car after a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. An Amtrak train headed to New York City derailed and crashed in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

After Tuesday’s Amtrak crash, expect plenty of lawsuits, but law states that damages will be capped at $200 million. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)

1. Lawsuits a Certainty After Amtrak Crash, But Damages Capped at $200M

The News: In the wake of the Amtrak train crash, expect a slew of personal injury lawsuits against the company — especially considering that the train reportedly went double the speed limit and that Amtrak’s CEO said the company takes “full responsibility.” The first lawsuit comes from Amtrak employee Bruce Phillips who says he suffered brain trauma, body injuries and emotional stress, according to NBC10.

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No, It’s Not Time to Abolish Fraternities

It was a bright spring day in New York City. And the doorman was just minding his own business, watching the traffic go by on Park Avenue. My mission was to steal his hat.

John was my accomplice. We had a plan. I hid around the corner of the building while John casually strode toward the doorman, purposely looking lost. John had a map in his hand. He stopped the doorman and asked for directions.  And when the doorman looked at the map with John … I sprang into action. I ran down the block and before he knew what was happening I snatched his hat off his head and galloped away. John took off in the other direction. 10 minutes later and 10 blocks away, John and I re-grouped to gleefully inspect our treasure.  We got the hat.

Yes, we were pledging a fraternity. And, like today’s fraternity and sorority members, we were college-aged idiots. Read more »

Should We Ban Fraternities? Or Just Watch Them Destroy Themselves?


At this point, we probably shouldn’t bother pretending that we’re shocked by the news coming out of Penn State. (Which is unfortunate, as shock makes great fuel for Internet opinion pieces. Outrage, thankfully, is still on the table.)

It’s not as if fraternities have much of a reputation to uphold lately. Just two weeks ago, we got a peek behind the scenes of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, which apparently has absurdly racist and violent sing-alongs when they think no one is looking. Now, police are investigating Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho for allegedly operating two private Facebook accounts that included nude pictures of unconscious women.

And yet, there is a part of me that’s surprised, if not shocked. Read more »

Bill Would Offer College Help to Ex-Foster Kids


Foster children who “age out” of the system without family ties and support would get state assistance to attend college, under a bill introduced this week in the Pennsylvania House.

Such young adults “already suffer unique disadvantages compared with other students,”said Rep. David Hickernell, a Republican who is the bill’s prime sponsor. “While the General Assembly cannot replace parents, it can certainly help eliminate or greatly reduce the financial barriers to higher education for these students.”

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Swarthmore No. 3 on List of Top 10 Colleges With the Hottest Guys

Nearby Swarthmore College has earned the No. 3 slot on College Magazine’s top 10 list of the colleges with the hottest guys. The online publication says it came up with its list of winners by researching schools’ four-year gradation rates, varsity and intramural sports programs, popular Greek life and gym facilities, so it’s not all about looks and braun. An explanation on how Swarthmore got the No. 3 distinction:

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The Real Epidemic on College Campuses: Academic Dishonesty

While mattress-toting Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz will be attending the State of the Union address tomorrow as the guest of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to protest the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses that’s been pretty thoroughly debunked, there’s another college trend that seems to be flying beneath the nation’s radar. It may not have the cachet of the aforementioned rape crisis, and nobody’s holding hearings or talking about it, but it does appear to be real, according to the latest statistics released by Penn.

Sexual assaults are up at Penn — from three incidents in the 2009-’10 school year among the 10,000-plus undergraduate body to eight in 2012-’13 and seven in 2013-’14, as you can see from this handy chart printed in the school’s Daily Pennsylvanian newspaper. In other words, the number of sexual assaults about doubled, though the numbers were very low. But read down a little further on the chart to the section labeled “Academic Integrity.” That number went from 44 incidents in 2009-’10 to 96 in 2012-’13 and 127 in 2013-’14. That’s right: The number of cheaters nearly tripled in the same time frame.

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