Politics June 4, 2018: Out-of-touch with #MeToo, Bill Clinton faces backlash over defiance about not apologizing to Monica Lewinsky

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Out-of-touch with #MeToo, Bill Clinton faces backlash over defiance about not apologizing to Monica Lewinsky

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: The Today Show Screenshot

The #MeToo movement is making men everywhere reckon and confront their actions but not former President Bill Clinton. Clinton appeared in a joint interview on NBC’s Today Show on Monday morning with mystery author James Patterson for their new book “The President Is Missing” when Weekend co-host Craig Melvin confronted the former president about former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Melvin shocked a seemingly unprepared Clinton asking him if he ever personally apologized to Lewinsky. In the #MeToo public apologies on rote have become the norm, the let the aggressors, mostly men, find a way for the public to forgive them as a means to salvage their careers. Clinton is now facing a backlash for his defiant response from both liberal and conservatives, men and women, proving although Clinton is living in 1998; the rest of the world is not when it comes to the scandal that nearly brought down his presidency.

Melvin asked Clinton if he would have dealt with the scandal resulting from the fallout from his affair with Lewinsky differently in the time of the #MeToo and “Through the lens of #MeToo now, do you think differently or feel more responsibility?… Did you ever apologize to her [Lewinsky]?” Melvin also asked the former president whether he should have resigned amidst the scandal that led to him being on the second president ever impeached in American history. Clinton was impeached on charges of obstruction of justice and lying under oath about his relationship with Lewinsky. Clinton responded with the same arrogant defiance that he maintained as the scandal unfolded. Responding to whether he personally apologized to Lewinsky, and “Do you feel that you owe her an apology?” Clinton answered Melvin, “I do not. I have never talked to her. But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public. I felt terrible then, and I came to grips with it.”

Clinton became agitated and defensive saying he would not have done anything different in this #MeToo climate, arguing he too was a victim, punished enough for his actions. Clinton told Melvin, “No, yes. And nobody believes that I got out of that for free. I left the White House $16 million in debt. But you typically have ignored gaping facts in describing this. And I bet you don’t even know them. This was litigated 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the American people sided with me. They were not insensitive of that. I had a sexual harassment policy when I was governor in the ’80s. I had two women chiefs of staff when I was governor. Women were overrepresented in the attorney general’s office in the ’70s for their percentage of the bar. I’ve had nothing but women leaders in my office since I left. You are giving one side and omitting facts.”

When responding to whether he should have resigned, Clinton conveniently referred to the allegations President Donald Trump is facing. Attacking Melvin, Clinton accused, “A lot of the facts have been conveniently omitted to make the story work, I think partly because they’re frustrated that they got all these serious allegations against the current occupant of the Oval Office and his voters don’t seem to care. I think I did the right thing. I defended the Constitution.” Democratic New York Senator and former Clinton ally Kirsten Gillibrand caused shock waves when this past November when she told the New York Times she believed Clinton should have resigned during the scandal in 1998. It was the first time a high-ranking Democrat, indicated Clinton should have resigned.

Clinton has escaped the leper status that is so common against men accused in the #MeToo era, not only because of the power of being a former president but also because of his public apology to the nation on August 17, 1998, where he acknowledged his affair with Lewinsky. Clinton then admitted, “Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.” That speech, however, consisted of Clinton’s same defiance, never did he say he was sorry or apologized for his actions, he only admitted he misled and he regrets them. Kathleen Hayden in CNN wrote an article, “Analysis: More Apology, Mr. President, And Less Politics, Please,” where Hayden said, “The speech was laced with legal doublespeak and a sharp, defiant edge.” Time even called it a “stony-faced White House address.”

One month later at the National Prayer Breakfast Clinton finally admitted, “I sinned.” Finally, Clinton publicly apologized. Clinton expressed in his speech, “I don’t think there’s a fancy way to say that I have sinned. It is important to me that everyone who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine — first and most important, my family, my friends, my staff, my cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness.” That was the only time Clinton apologized to Lewinsky or anyone, for his actions that put in the country in a crisis for no reason, and the pain and suffering that those involved went through and continued to go in through in the aftermath especially Lewinsky. Right or wrong, his apology has given him a pass with a majority of the American public and most probably the main reason he was spared from being convicted by the Senate in their impeachment vote, and let him escape being forced to resign from the presidency in 1998.

The #MeToo has revisited not only the prevalent sexual abuse and harassment that was pushed under the rug but also the meaning of consent especially when there is a difference in power between the two parties. The lopsided power in employment, at universities, relationships between bosses and employees and professors and students particularly. In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed it, was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement. Lewinsky is not the only one reconsidering the relationship and President Clinton’s actions, so is the media.

Recently, Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky emphasized, “If I have learned anything since then, it is that you cannot run away from who you are or from how you’ve been shaped by your experiences. Instead, you must integrate your past and present. As Salman Rushdie observed after the fatwa was issued against him, ‘Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless, because they cannot think new thoughts.’ I have been working toward this realization for years. I have been trying to find that power — a particularly Sisyphean task for a person who has been gaslighted.”

Unlike Clinton, Lewinsky realizes how the #MeToo movement era changes how one looks at the Clinton era scandal. Lewinsky acknowledged “Until recently (thank you, Harvey Weinstein), historians hadn’t really had the perspective to fully process and acknowledge that year of shame and spectacle. And as a culture, we still haven’t properly examined it. Re-framed it. Integrated it. And transformed it.” On the reconsideration of her relationship with Clinton, Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” It impossible to believe a recent university graduate and former White House intern had a choice in her relationship with the president of the country and most powerful man in the free world. The more powerful one, no matter what, always directed the direction of the relationship.

Lewinsky wrote the article in honor of the 20th anniversary since was thrust into the spotlight by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Lewinsky recounted meeting Starr for the first time, and seeing him “as a human being.” She was “paving the way” for Starr to apologize, telling him, “Though I wish I had made different choices back then. I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too.” All Starr did was respond, “I know. It was unfortunate.” Lewinsky never described how she felt like that he did not apologize, as Clinton did not. After the Today Show interview aired, Lewinsky tweeted “grateful to the myriad people who have helped me evolve + gain perspective in the past 20 years.” She also reposted her February Vanity Fair article, saying, “worth reposting this today from @VanityFair.”

Since the #MeToo movement began in the fall of 2017, with the outing of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, powerful men in all industries; entertainment, journalism, politics academia, and business have seen their stars fall as women came forward accusing them of sexual assault or harassment. Legal vindication came with actor Bill Cosby finally being convicted in April of his sexual assaults and Harvey Weinstein’s arrest indictment on felony rape charges at the end of May. The movement has given women once silenced and their credibility destroyed by these men, a voice, and power, now a simple accusation is enough to destroy and turn the tables on the men. Somehow, for all the accusations of misconduct, Clinton has escaped this fate and he has been continually favored despite his gross abuse of power.

The #MeToo movement has seen very little similar apologies whether sincere or not, there has been little “genuine repentance” as Clinton said was necessary. To apologize is to admit defeat and that one is wrong, an almost impossible task for powerful men, who always believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. Public apologies have become the norm, but very few have been genuine and concerned for the victim. Mostly, these men have been looking for a way to salvage their careers, public apologies can help, especially if they show enough remorse as Clinton did. Rarely, however, do they feel the need to apologize privately it serves no purpose on the global stage; the lack of true remorse renders it unnecessary for most aggressors.

Online publication the Perspective wrote an article “on the public apology” describing the different times and repercussions for victims. Author Malkie Khutoretsky writes, “On the heels of #MeToo movement, public apologies for sexual misconduct are being issued on a loop.” The publication listed the benefits and drawbacks of a public apology, and concluded, “A public apology for sexual misconduct is owed as an admission of guilt and a step to healing. But who does the public apology benefit more, the abuser or the victim of sexual abuse or harassment?” As much as the public wants to grade the apologies, what is worse is never receiving an apology that even remotely acknowledges any wrongdoing at all. It shows that the aggressor does not even believe he was wrong at all in his actions.

As someone who has had a #MeToo experience having gone through harassment and retaliation and the everlasting fall out in my life both personally and professionally, I believe any apology has a value and a power. I would have appreciated any recognition that what this man, who was in a position of power, did to me was wrong, and that his conduct was not only wrong towards me but morally wrong considering his position. Although he hypocritically supports the #MeToo movement and religiously believes in forgiveness, I know he would never apologize, because like other men in power and like Clinton, unless their careers are in peril they would never admit they were wrong, and this one always believes he is right. Unfortunately, the same arrogance to makes these men act in the first place makes them unable to feel the remorse necessary to make a private apology and admit any defeat.

An April 2018 article by the Associated Press asks just that, “Can there be forgiveness, second chances in the age of #MeToo?” According to experts, there can be forgiveness if the apologies are genuine and recount exactly what they did wrong to their victims. The article’s author Michelle R. Smith claims, “Forgiveness must be possible if society wants to reduce instances of sexual misconduct, but experts say, it will take work and willingness to change from both the perpetrators and society at large.” Jennifer A. Thompson, an assistant professor of applied Jewish ethics and civic engagement at California State University also believes it is possible. Thompson explains that in the Jewish tradition, “You have to go to the person you hurt and ask, ‘What can I do to make this right?’” Thompson believes that model of redemption could work in the age of #MeToo.

Lesley Wexler, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law concurs, and believes in “restorative justice.” Wexler told the AP, “Part of what should be happening here is personal. Making amends to the victim, restoring the victim. And a separate part is acknowledging that the nature of this harm isn’t just the individual, you are a community. That suggests you also need to be public about what specifically was wrong and what you can do better.”

The interview comes barely a month after Town and Country rescinded their invite to Lewinsky for their philanthropy summit because Clinton would be giving an introduction. The outcry in the news and social media was almost as bad this time around with Clinton’s defiant remarks. Op-eds called Clinton out for not learning anything from the #MeToo movement and sticking to his politics as the usual mantra that was criticized when the scandal broke in 1998. The backlash to the former president’s remarks comes from both liberals and conservatives in the news and social media. Lewinsky was right in the social media age; she has been receiving all the support she needed and lacked while the scandal unfolded and the aftermath. As she wrote in Vanity Fair, “If the Internet was a bête noire to me in 1998, its stepchild — social media — has been a savior for millions of women today.”

Even before Clinton was asked about apologizing to Lewinsky, CNN anchor Jake Tapper and NBC’s Meet the Press host Chuck Todd criticized the former president on Todd’s “1947: The Meet the Press Podcast” on Thursday, May 24. Todd remarked, “It galls me that the former president hasn’t even simply apologized to her for ruining her life… Her life is never the same. He ruined it. He got to move on. I’ve never understood why he couldn’t simply apologize to her.” Tapper added, “It’s crazy, it’s crazy,” stating that Clinton “owes her the apology.”

On Twitter, commentators left and right attacked Clinton for his response. Conservative writer Amanda Carpenter tweeted, “Clinton says he apologized to “everyone in the world” and that he left the WH severely in debt because of the scandal. But that’s, in part, because they all lied about it for so long!” MSNBC NBC News Political Analyst Elise Jordan remarked, “Bill Clinton manages to make #MeToo about himself and evades @craigmelvin when asked if he ever apologized to Monica Lewinsky. Thanks @craigmelvin for asking an important and obvious question that WJC should be able to answer.” “Blue writer” Teri Carter concurred, “Bill Clinton STILL refuses to take responsibility for what he did to Monica Lewinsky. He has the “but what about me me me me me” complex.”

National Political Correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC Steve Kornacki, observed, “His tone here — combative, aggrieved — really hasn’t changed in 20 years. This is the same Clinton the nation saw in that 7/98 primetime address in which he admitted the affair but stressed that “presidents have private lives.” While New York Times opinion contributor Maggie Haberman mocked, “Bill Clinton gets asked if he ever apologized to Lewinsky. He responds by saying Starr investigation was unfair.”

In news media, the commentators were not any more forgiving. Red State’s Sarah Quinlan writing “Bill Clinton has not learned anything from the #MeToo movement” for USA Today, claimed, “In the midst of the #MeToo movement, it would have been impressive and powerful for Clinton to demonstrate he had learned from the movement.” Emily Jashinsky’s article “Bill Clinton confronts #MeToo with smirks, arrogance” In the Washington Examiner, claims, “(Bill) Clinton seems to have missed the mood of the public, and expects to laugh and deflect his way through tough questions like it’s nothing, because for two decades his party dismissed those questions too.”

CNN political commentator SE Cupp wrote an op-ed on CNN, aptly titled, “Yep. Bill Clinton is still a monster.” Cupp opened her article, saying, “Former President Bill Clinton has just revealed the ultimate lessons he’s learned in the 20 years since his sordid affair with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky led to his impeachment: precisely, exactly none.” Cupp was immensely critical of Clinton’s response, “The president, grinning boyishly, insisting he did the right thing, boasting about having never delivered a personal apology to the young intern he once took advantage of in the Oval Office — is like watching a con artist brag about pulling one over on an unsuspecting family. The man is frighteningly, pathologically incapable of shame.”

CNN Editor-at-large Chris Cillizza believes Clinton should apologize personally to Lewinsky in his article, “Bill Clinton still gets it wrong on Monica Lewinsky and #MeToo.” Cillizza called Clinton’s response “a remarkable — and remarkably bad — quote.” Cillizza pointed out, “Apologizing in a public setting — with the obvious dual intent of clearing the decks politically — isn’t the same thing as reaching out to Lewinsky personally to say sorry.” He believes Clinton “seems much more interested in how he was, ultimately, validated by the public than in talking about whether or not he should have apologized to Lewinsky.”

Cupp was right, Clinton’s “demeanor on NBC would make anyone wonder about his sincerity, then or now.” In this changing world, Clinton needs to acknowledge that he should apologize, but without any political gains on the table, he chooses not to keep up his charade of regret. Then Americans were taken in by that same charm that seems grossly out of touch with the changing times. The “genuine repentance” the former president claimed to have in September 1998, was a farce just to garner sympathy from the American public, who were easy patsies, sucked into his continuing web of deceit. Clinton’s response proves he sounds like all the accused men of the #MeToo movement; he was just looking out for his own survival, always.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a over dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

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Education June 1, 2018: Harvard remains on top of Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings for eighth year

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EDUCATION

Harvard remains on top of Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings for eighth year

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

The crown jewel of the Ivy League, Harvard University again is the world most prestigious university reputation-wise. Photo: Harvard.edu

When it comes to reputation, no university in the world can surpass Harvard, who is again the top university. On Wednesday, May 30, 2018, The Times Higher Education released their eighth annual World Reputation Rankingwith Harvard University remaining in the top spot for seven years in a row. American and universities have held steady despite concerns over Donald Trump’s presidency. British universities have not held up as well after the vote for Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union. Asian universities, however, have also stalled despite their recent rise.

Eight of the top 10 were American universities, with only the United Kingdom breaking up their domination. The top three remains the same as last year and are all American universities, with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the second place, and Stanford University in third. British universities round out the top five with the Universities of Cambridge at fourth and Oxford down one to fifth place.

There was little movement in the middle of the top ten. The University of California, Berkeley remains in sixth place, Princeton University stays in seventh, while Yale University remains in eighth place. The big change was at the bottom of the top 10, the University of Chicago stays at ninth but now shares the position, tied with new top ten entry, the University of California, Los Angeles for ninth. The California Institute of Technology, Caltech drops off out of the top ten moving from 10th to 11th position.

The ranking is considered, “the definitive list of the world’s most prestigious universities.” Phil Baty, the rankings editor for THE, explains, “Reputation is the global currency of higher education. It may be subjective; it may not always be fair, but it matters deeply.” THE’s World Reputation Rankings “have become a major fixture in the higher education calendar — serving as a yearly global academic brand audit and attracting news headlines across the world.”

The ranking is international, with 19 countries represented in the top 100 universities. The United States has the most schools in the ranking 44 institutions represented in the top 100, 28 alone in the top 50, with Harvard the top ranking. Despite, concerns that President Donald Trump’s immigration policies would turn off international students, and affect American universities standings that have not been the case.

Baty commented on American universities standing in the world, saying, “What is particularly striking is that the U.S. has actually strengthened its position in the world… despite fears that the U.S. is suffering a ‘Trump slump’ in terms of its global reputation. While we have seen evidence that some international students are seeing the U.S. as a less attractive option, with declining applications, this data from the global academic community suggests the top U.S. universities remain the most highly regarded in the world by a mile.”

In the second place, the United Kingdom has the second most universities in the ranking, with the University of Cambridge as the country’s the top school and Oxford University also in the top five breaking up the American monopoly. The UK, however, has not fared as well as post-Brexit, exit from the European Union vote. UK universities slipped in the new ranking, from a British publication no less. Last year there were 10 schools in the top 100, this year they have nine, with Durham University falling below the top 100. Other schools saw their numbers fall, King’s College London (41st) and Edinburgh (34th), both lost one place in the ranking. While top 20 schools, University College London (18th) and Imperial College (20th), both lost two positions from last year. The London School of Economics saw the greatest loss, going from 20th to 25th place this edition.

Brexit is not the only issue plaguing, British universities, some schools did poorly in the Government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework, which looks at “quality of teaching” in high education. There have been issues and controversies on campus, which scandals and questioning the “excessive pays” for university administration, while “snowflake” students are hindering freedom of speech, and do not want to be taught controversial topics.

Alan Smithers, a professor of education at the University of Buckingham, told the Daily Mail, “This hasn’t been a good year for the reputation of the UK’s universities, with rows about pay, safe spaces and freedom of speech. We need to up our game to ensure that the falls this year are not the beginning of a trend.”

Neither is Asian universities taking over the ranking has been the trend in recent years, while American and British are getting votes from all over the world, Asian schools get their votes mostly in the region, their brands are regional only. Many schools from China and Japan have lost ground in the ranking. China has six schools in the top 100, with three of them falling the ranking, however, China’s best school’s Tsinghua and Peking Universities remain in the top 20, at 14th and 17th place as they were in 2017. Japan’s standing is in the most trouble among Asian schools, they lose one school in the top 100, going down to five. However, the highest-ranking university outside the US and UK comes from Japan with The University of Tokyo at the 13th place down from 11th last year.

Simon Marginson, an analyst and director of University College London’s Centre for Global Higher Education, claims the difference is because of “improved real performance and the reputational effects it generates.” According to Marginson, top universities in the US and the UK “earned their reputations over the whole 20th century and beyond and have not slipped in standard, so they are difficult to displace.” Asian universities including from Singapore and South Korea, “only really showed themselves as strong in the 1990s, and China’s rise is essentially post-2000.” Baty also indicates that Asian, particularly Chinese schools rose quickly, but now “stalled.” According to Baty, “This new data shows just how hard it is for emerging powers to break into the traditional global elite.”

The three Asian universities fare better than any European institutions, where the top school ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which remains at 22, but now, tied with Canada’s University of Toronto. European universities are also “losing ground.” Germany, the European country with the most universities in the top 100 still has their six, but three of them are ranking lowered than the last edition. Australia’s universities have also dropped in the ranking, although they maintain three in the top 100, two have fallen since last year, the University of Melbourne is the top school at tied for 47th place. In the Middle East, Israel’s highest-ranking school remains the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; it enters the top 100 in the 91–100 position.

Canada has three universities in the top 100, with the University of Toronto, the country’s top school moving up from 24 to tie for 22nd position. Meanwhile, the University of British Columbia is in second place in the country moves up two spots to number 38. McGill University, which usually ranks as the top university in Canadian rankings, is only third in THE’s World Reputation Ranking of all Canadian schools, and also moves up, one place to 41st.

The rankings are entirely based on the opinion of the institutions, as THE explains, “The rankings are entirely subjective — they are based purely on an annual opinion survey.” The methodology for determining the rankings consists of sending the survey to “more than 10,000 top scholars from around the world. Each academic was asked to name up to 15 universities that they believe are the best for research and teaching in their discipline. Votes for institutions based on research prowess were given twice the weight of those for teaching.”

Top 10 World Reputation Rankings

2018 reputation rank — 2017 reputation rank — Institution Country

1, 1 Harvard University, United States,

2, 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

3, 3 Stanford University, United States,

4, 4 University of Cambridge, United Kingdom,

5, 5 University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

6, 6 University of California, Berkeley, United States

7, 7 Princeton University, United States, 7

8, 8 Yale University, United States, 12

=9, 13 University of California, Los Angeles

=9, 9 University of Chicago

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education May 30, 2018: Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

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Harvard remains CWUR World Ranking’s top university in 2018/2019

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Photo: Harvard.edu

The first major university ranking of the year released is the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR), who publishes their list way before the start of the new academic year. On Monday, May 28, 2018, CWUR released their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities in the world, where once again Harvard remained the top university, now for the seventh year running.

The CWUR is one of only two major rankings that are not published by a western country in either the United States or the United Kingdom. CWUR is centered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Although the top schools remained the same, the ranking saw a lot of movement especially in the ranking of the countries and their individual top schools representing a changing landscape in the best global universities.

The 2018 edition is the seventh year CWUR has released their rankings; the relatively new listing first started in 2012. It includes their ranking of the Top 1000 Universities and 61 countries, the largest number. After Harvard, the rest of the top three remains the same as last year with Stanford second and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) third. Two British universities round out the top five as last year, with the University of Cambridge in fourth place closely followed by the University of Oxford rounding out the top five.

The second half of the top ten had a lot of movement, the University of California, Berkeley moved up one spot from seventh to sit at the sixth position. Princeton University also moved up, two spots from the ninth to the seventh position. Columbia University moved down two places to the eighth position. Only one university entered the top ten the California Institute of Technology, Caltech moving up from number 11 to the ninth place. While the University of Chicago fell two spot to round out the top ten. Yale University dropped out of the top ten this year to number 11.

The US dominated the CWUR rankings as it does with most other world university rankings; however, there are less American schools in the top 1000, last year there were 225 this year there are only 213. The CWUR ranking shows how preeminent Asian schools are becoming globally, here they follow the US in the most school represented an honor usually reserved for the United Kingdom. This year’s edition there are more schools that are Asian represented, there are 108 schools from China listed, the number keep rising, with 97 in 2017 and 90 in 2016.

The United Kingdom has improved their standing, but and have lowered the number of universities represented, they have 62 schools listed down from 65, but now have the third most schools in the ranking. The UK has consistently two universities in the top ten, and they are the only other country to break American dominance. Only four universities from the 24 that are part of the Russell Group fell in the ranking.

The UK rise in the country ranking has more to do with Japan losing ground that any improvement in their standing. In the past three ranking Japan’s number of schools represented has dwindled. Currently Japan has 56 schools in the list down from 71 in 2017 and 74 in 2016. Still, Japan has the first school to make the global list outside of the US and the UK with the University of Tokyo up one to at number 12, which also the top ranking Asian school.

France this year takes third place in the world with 58 schools featured, and the Sorbonne University as their top school coming in the top 30 at 29 and replacing École Polytechnique for the honor.

CWUR also includes rankings by country, with lists of the best universities in the major countries in all the world’s regions and they correspond to the rankings on the international list. Therefore, Harvard also tops the USA list, while the number four University of Cambridge is the United Kingdom’s top school. The first university ranking from the European continent is Switzerland’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, which ranks at 28th down one from last year. In Oceania, Australia has the top school with the University of Melbourne at 57, replacing the University of Sydney for the top place.

Canada is only the fourth country to reach the top 20, with the University of Toronto at 17th place moving up from 28 last year. Overall, Canada is in 10th place with 28 universities on the list, but all their top school moving up; the University of Toronto also remains Canada’ top school again this year. McGill retains their position in second place ranking at 37th up from 41 last year. At their heels is third place the University of British Columbia at number 38 up from 55 in the last edition.

In the Middle East, the Weizmann Institute of Science replaces the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as the Middle East and Israel’s highest-ranking university. The title is hardly a victory, the Weizmann Institute ranks at number 45 down from 39 last year. Hebrew University fell over 30 places from 27th last year to just 61st this year. Hebrew U usually ranks as Israel’s top university. Israel has one other school in the top 100 is the Tel Aviv University at 85. Israel has seven schools represented in the ranking.

The key to their methodology is objectivity; all the seven indicators are backed by solid, quantifiable statistics emphasizing graduate success and faculty research. The seven factors are “quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research output, quality publications, influence, and citations.” This year CWUR revised their methodology with “research now accounting for 70% of the total score.” According to the description of their methodology, “The Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) publishes the only global university ranking that measures the quality of education and training of students along with the prestige of the faculty members and the quality of their research without relying on surveys and university data submissions.”

Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) top 10:

1. Harvard University (1)

2. Stanford University (2)

3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (3)

4. University of Cambridge (4)

5. University of Oxford (5)

6. University of California, Berkeley (7)

7. Princeton University (9)

8. Columbia University (6)

9. California Institute of Technology (11)

10. University of Chicago (8)

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 26, 2018: Donald Trump considered the least ethical president in recent history

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POLITICS

Donald Trump considered the least ethical president in recent history

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Official White House Photos by Joyce N. Boghosian)

According to the news media’s reporting President Donald Trump has long been treated as unethical, now a new Gallup Poll confirms the American public agrees. According to a Gallup Poll released on Friday, May 25, 2018, only 37 percent of Americans believe Trump has “excellent” or “good” ethical standards with a larger number at 40 percent saying his standards are poor. Trump is the only president in modern history to have the public think so little of his ethics, but have a higher approval rating than the ethic rating. Only the scandal-filled presidency of Bill Clinton elicited such low ratings.

According to Gallup’s poll, only 7 percent of Americans think Trump has excellent ethical standards, 30 percent say they are good, 19 percent say not good, while a majority 40 percent saying they are poor. Only his predecessor President Barack Obama had a low rating in 2013, but not as low with 50 percent saying his ethical standard was “excellent” or “good” and with 32 percent saying, it was poor. The results show that that the public is increasingly questioning the ethical standards of their president.

Trump’s presidency has been marred by scandal; first Russian interference in the presidential election and special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into the matter. Trump repeatedly calls the probe a “witch hunt” which he wants to be concluded, but so far, there have been “five guilty pleas.” Then since January, Trump has been faced with mounting questions about his involvement with adult film star Stormy Daniels, his personal lawyer Daniel Cohen, paying her off and forcing her to sign a non-disclosure agreement a month before the election. The question remains whether Trump knew about it, considering he repaid Cohen.

Neither has his cabinet behaved with pristine ethics. Trump has a frequent cabinet and staff turnovers, especially in the last six months. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin misused government funds, spending too lavishly, however, Pruitt remains in the administration. The recent nominee for Veterans Affairs Secretary former White House doctor Ronny Jackson was forced to withdraw over a question regarding his prescribing medications. Trump has continued support for both Pruitt and Jackson, emphasized his presidency’s questionable ethics. However, Trump did fire his National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who plead guilty to lying to the FBI, a felony charge stemming from Mueller’s probe.

Unlike Trump’s predecessors, who had higher ethics rating than approval ratings, Trump has a higher job approval rating. According to Gallup, President Trump’s approval rating is 44 percent compared to his 37 percent ethic rating. The only other exception was Clinton in January 1994, when his approval rating was 54 percent, but his ethics rating was 43 percent, the closest to Trump’s. Obama in 2013 had a 27 percent approval rating, but a 50 percent ethics rating.

Gallup asked the ethics questions three times in George W. Bush’s presidency from 2002 to 2005, and during that time, his approval rating fell, but his ethics rating remained higher. In 2002, Bush’s approval rating was 69 percent, while his ethics rating was 74 the highest in history, in October 2005 it was 49 to 55 percent. Bush’s polling was the rare exception, with Gallup asking the ethics question in his second term. The question was asked at bookends, in 2002 after his response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, where he had the highest approval rating in modern history, and in October 2005, just after his mismanaged response to Hurricane Katrina, and flooding in New Orleans that killed 971.

Clinton’s second outing with the ethics rating in October 1994 had him with 50 percent approval rating, but a 57 percent ethics rating. George H. W. Bush had a 63 percent approval rating in May 1989, and a 59 percent ethics rating. The first president Gallup asked the ethics question about, was Ronald Reagan, the question was asked three times in his first term from July 1983 through October 1984. Reagan’s ethical standard remains the same; 64 and then 67, while his approval rating went higher from 44 to 58 percent right before the presidential election. Additionally, the majority of recent presidents had ethics numbers above 50 percent. As CNN noted, “The more popular the president, the more likely people are to say that he runs an administration that is rightly focused on ethics.”

Gallup asks this question very few times during a presidency, often earlier in the first term and not while scandals have consumed a presidency mostly in a second term. Trump’s presidency is an exception, where he was elected amid scandal and questions about Russian interference. The only other recent presidency that has commenced with scandal was Clinton’s, and by the first poll, Clinton had allowed a special prosecutor to investigate the “Whitewater real estate controversy.” The prosecutor ended up being Kenn Starr, the author of the Starr Report used as the basis of Clinton’s impeachment.

Only two of the presidents were mired in scandals during their terms. Ronald Reagan managed to escape unscathed from Iran Contra in 1986. Then Clinton whose scandals with women included accusations of sexual harassment, the Whitewater investigation, and the finally the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to his impeachment and near ouster in 1998. Gallup, however, did not ask the ethic question at the darkest points of the Reagan or Clinton presidencies.

Not asking the ethics questions every year in a presidency at least makes the poll and rating flawed and misrepresenting history and difficult to make comparisons. Either way, Trump’s scandal-filled and mismanaged presidency has definitely affected the public’s view of his ethics, if not the way he performs his duties.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has over a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

News May 21, 2018: Justify wins the 143rd Preakness keeping Triple Crown hopes alive

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NEWS

Justify wins the 143rd Preakness keeping Triple Crown hopes alive

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Associated Press

Amidst the fog, Kentucky Derby winner Justify fended off seven competitors to win the second jewel of the Triple Crown. On Saturday, May 19, 2018,Justify with jockey Mike Smith won the 143rd Preakness stakes by a half a length on a sloppy rain-soaked track at Plimico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. Justify won the shortest Triple Crown race at 1 3/16-mile and $1.5 million purse. Coming in second was Bravazo followed by longshot Tenfold and derby runner-up Good Magic who battled most of the race nose to nose with Justify until the last turn. Justify finished in 1:55.93 seconds, his fifth win in five starts, Smith had his second Preakness win 25 years later and trainer Bob Baffert ties for most Preakness winners, with all his five derby winners winning both legs of the Triple Crown.

Justify broke out of gate seven and kept to the lead, with the champion 2-year-old Good Magic. For three quarter of a mile and seven eighths, the top two horses from the derby duked it out nose to nose in the deep fog and limited visibility. After the last turn, Justify went ahead with Smith using the whip on him, pushing Good Magic in the rail and behind as they headed towards the finish line.

Justify keeps on breaking history. Baffert ties Robert Wyndham Walden, who won seven Preaknesses between 1875 and 1888. Baffert also ties fellow trainer for D. Wayne Lucas for most Triple Crown race wins at 14. Lucas was also trying for his seventh Preakness win with Bravazo and Sporting Chance. While by winning the Derby, Justify became the only horse since 1882 to win the Derby without running as a two-year-old beating Apollo’s Curse.

Baffert told NBC after winning the race, that Justify, “He’s just a great horse to handle all that pressure and keep on running.” Baffert also remakes, “I’m so happy that we got it done. I’ve never had one run that fast here.’’ Baffert also commented on the duel between Justify and Good Magic saying, It was a nail-bite. They put it to us. It was like they had their own private match race (but I’m) so happy we got it done. Such a great horse to handle all that pressure and get it done.” Meanwhile, jockey, Smith commented on Justify’s performance, “He got a little tired. This is his hardest race that he’s had.’’

On Wednesday after the posts were drawn and announced and Justify became the 2–1 odds favorite, Baffert boasted to the press. The Hall-of-Fame trainer expressed, “I like being the favorite. I don’t want to be 50–1. I like knowing that I have a chance to win. When you come in, and you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t know, we’re going to need the Stanford marching band to interfere a little bit,’ then you don’t feel that well. I just feel that when you know that there’s a chance you can pull this off, and when you can win on the big arena, that’s what it’s all about.”

Baffert has a good record; he won the Derby and Preakness with Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002 and American Pharoah in 2015, which ended up being the 12th Triple Crown winner after a 37-year drought. Now justify moves on to the last and most difficult leg of the Triple Crown known as the “Test of the Champion” with the Belmont Stakes in New York in three weeks on June 9, hoping to become only the 13th horse to win all three jewels.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education May 11, 2018: London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

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EDUCATION

London tops QS best cities for students in 2018

By Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

University College London, Flickr

Brexit is no longer a liability for British universities. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the company behind the World University Rankings, released their fifth annual QS Best Student Cities index on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, with London, England at the top for the first time. London replaces Montreal, Canada, who was the top city in 2017, while in the previous ranking Paris, France was the best city. This year sees a decline in North American cities, especially American ones, where President Donald Trump and his anti-immigrant policies have become a bigger issue than Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.

London is home to 17 universities including high ranking top universities; the Imperial College, University College London, the London School of Economics and King’s College. A cultural and historical city, London has a high concentration of “museums, theatres, restaurants, and cinemas.” The rich cultural aspect is inviting for students but also increases the opportunities for research. Job opportunities are plentiful and as a diverse international city, foreign students feel welcome. Although London ranked high in all factors except one affordability; the city has a high cost of living but one worth for students.

Ben Sowter, Research Director at QS, commented on their new top city, saying, “The 2018 ranking highlights the enduring quality of the student experience available in London. The city benefits from outstanding employment prospects, more world-class universities than any other city, and enviable lifestyle opportunities. These factors mean that the capital remains a great place to study despite eye-watering costs – as more than 50,000 student respondents to QS’s survey have made clear.”

Last year’s best city, Montreal, Quebec fell to fourth place this year but still remains the top and only North American city in the top ten. Montreal is still tops for “best overall in student experience, and best city in which to remain after graduation.” Montreal has four universities and 150,000 students. The Canadian city has consistently been in QS’ top eight cities since the ranking started.

In second place is Tokyo, Japan as Asian universities continue to rank higher in world university rankings; Japan moves up from seven. In third place is Melbourne, Australia, moving up two from fifth place the first of two Australian cities in the top ten. In fifth place is former top student city, Paris; the city of lights continues its descent, where last year it was in second place.

In the second half of the top ten is Munich, German one of two German cities in the top 10. Munich moves up to sixth from ninth. The second top 10 German city is Berlin coming in seventh down only one from last year. In eight place is Zurich, Switzerland, who enters the top ten from number 15, along with ninth place Sydney, Australia, moving up from number 13. Rounding out the top 10 is Seoul, South Korea, which moves down from fourth place in 2017.

Despite only ranking at number 13, Toronto, Canada ranks the best in terms of desirability which consists of safety, pollution, and quality of living. Toronto ranks second in Canadian student cities, behind Montreal. Meanwhile, Vancouver, British Columbia falls even out if the top ten to number 17.

American cities fare the worst, with none in the top ten. This is despite the fact that in QS World University Rankings American universities capture nearly all of the top ten including the top four spots. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) topped the ranking, followed by Stanford University, Harvard University in third and the California Institute for Technology (Caltech) in fourth. Although MIT and Harvard are in Boston, Massachusetts, the only American school in the 2017 ranking it falls this year to 14, while the only other American city in the top 30 is New York at number 18. American cities saw declines across the board in “Affordability, Employer Activity, and Student Mix.”

The methodology to determine the list looks at six factors, university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity, affordability. A seventh factor was added in 2017, student view, a global “survey of students and recent graduates.” QS surveys 50,000 students, and looks past 489 universities cities, ranking only the top 100.

QS World University Rankings was originally a collaboration between the education and career company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) with the Times Higher Education (THE) to create a world university ranking in 2003. For five years their World University Rankings list was published on THE, with QS supplying the data. In 2010, Times Higher Education decided to break off the partnership and pair up with Thomson Reuters to produce their ranking list. The decision was mostly because of the heavy reliance on using peer reviews to determine the rankings. The QS World University Rankings first appeared in its present format in 2010.

Best Student Cities 2018

1. London 3
2. Tokyo 7
3. Melbourne 5
4. Montreal 1
5. Paris 2
6. Munich 9
7. Berlin 6
8. Zurich 15
9. Sydney 13
10. Seoul 4

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 10, 2018: Town and Country apologizes to Monica Lewinsky for uninviting her to summit over Bill Clinton, is it enough in the #MeToo era?

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POLITICS

Town and Country apologizes to Monica Lewinsky for uninviting her to summit over Bill Clinton, is it enough in the #MeToo era?

By Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS

Flickr

When is an apology enough? A day after former White House intern and anti-bullying advocate Monica Lewinsky “cryptically” announced on Twitter that she had been uninvited to a social change event by a magazine because former President Bill Clinton would be attending, the magazine apologized. On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Town and Country magazine apologized to Lewinsky via Twitter with a short concise message. Lewinsky’s tweets have gone viral with thousands of retweets and likes. The situation exploded so much that Clinton’s press secretary also commented on Twitter. The reprehensible and insulting act by the magazine was so archaic in the age of #MeToo movement that brings about the question was it enough to make amends?

On Thursday, Town and Country gave a quick apology to Lewinsky on Twitter, writing, “We apologize to Ms. Lewinsky and regret the way the situation was handled.” The public has not received the apology very well with many responding to magazine injustice chastising them. In her tweets, Lewinsky did not name there magazine instead, Huffington Post revealed Town and Country was the magazine that snubbed her from their invitation-only philanthropy summit. The apology was hardly enough and from their online publication and Twitter yesterday they were quite excited about having Clinton at their summit. Lewinsky must have agreed it was not enough, because she did not respond on Twitter.

The event, Lewinsky was referring in her tweets to was posh Town and Country magazine’s fifth annual philanthropy summit in New York at Hearst Tower. The magazine described those who were attending as “activists, game-changers, and leaders across the field of philanthropy, education, healthcare, and gun control.”

The magazine tweeted early in the day about Clinton’s attendance, writing, Welcome to the 2018 #TandCPhilanthropy Summit! Watch LIVE as @BillClinton of @ClintonFdn introduces @Emma4Change … https://t.co/IoNfCmwIFU — TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) May 9, 2018. Clinton introduced March for Our Lives panelists, which included including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, shooting survivors and gun control advocates students Emma González and Delaney Turr for the panel, “Rewriting the History of Violence.” The magazine has since listed a video of the former president’s introduction.

After trying to separate himself from the scandal that nearly brought down his presidency and led him to be only the second president ever impeached, Clinton quickly had his press secretary Angel Ureña disassociate him from the uninvite. Ureña took to Twitter on Wednesday evening, writing, “President Clinton was invited to address the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit. He gladly accepted. Neither he nor his staff knew anything about the invitation or it being rescinded.” The tweet, however, insultingly failed to mention and acknowledge Lewinsky by name. The most important point was to make Clinton unaware of the situation to the public, reminiscent of when he was president.

On Wednesday, Lewinsky wrote on Twitter, “Please don’t invite me to an event (esp one about social change) and — then after I’ve accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited. It’s 2018. Emily Post would def not approve.” Lewinsky then posted that it was a magazine that disinvited her, adding they offer to let her write an article in their publication. Lewinsky tweeted, “p.s. … and definitely, please don’t try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag.” The original tweet has gone viral with over 170,000 likes.

Twenty years later and the whole issue with the disinviting is reminiscent of the bullying in the news when the scandal broke in 1998. Whereas Lewinsky was not believed at first, Clinton retained high poll numbers as she was vilified. Even after Clinton admitted he lied to the American public, he escaped impeachment, while Lewinsky became late-night fodder. She escaped the public eye for years, re-emerging in 2014 as a Vanity Fair contributor, where she wrote about the scandal and subsequent bullying in the article entitled “Shame and Survival.” She has since worked as a writer and anti-bullying advocate focusing particularly on cyberbullying and online harassment because she calls herself “patient zero,” the first to suffer from cyberbullying on a wide scale. In a 2015 TED Talk Lewinsky, expressed, “What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.”

The #Metoo has revisited not only the prevalent sexual abuse and harassment that was pushed under the rug but also the meaning of consent especially when there is a difference in power between the two parties. The lopsided power in employment, at universities, relationships between bosses and employees and professors and students particularly. In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement.

Recently, Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” It impossible to believe a recent university graduate and former White House intern had a choice in her relationship with the president of the country and most powerful man in the free world. The direction of the relationship was always directed by the more powerful one, no matter what.

Since the #MeToo movement began in the fall of 2017, with the outing of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, powerful men in all industries; entertainment, journalism, politics academia, and business have seen their stars fall as women came forward accusing them of sexual assault or harassment. Legal vindication came with actor Bill Cosby finally being convicted in April of his sexual assaults. The movement has given women once silenced and their credibility destroyed by these men a voice and power, now a simple accusation is enough to destroy and turn the tables on the men. Somehow, for all the accusations of misconduct, Clinton has escaped this fate and was favored despite his gross abuse of power.

Town and Country’s apology was almost as bad as offering Lewinsky a consolation prize for uninviting her to write in their publication. The #MeToo movement has seen many superficial apologies meant to spare reputations as opposed to genuine ones meant to actually make amends. In general, in this climate, they have not been well received by the victims or the public. Clinton has escaped the leper status and given another chance, not only because of the power of being a former president but because of his apology to the nation on August 17, 1998, where he admitted “I sinned” with his affair with Lewinsky and apologized to her for his actions. Right or wrong, his apology has given him a pass with a majority of the American public and most probably the main reason he was spared from being convicted by the Senate in their impeachment vote, and let him escape being forced to resign from the presidency in 1998.

The #MeToo movement has seen very little similar apologies whether sincere or not, there has been little “genuine repentance” as Clinton said was necessary. To apologize is to admit defeat and that one is wrong, an almost impossible task for powerful men, who always believe they are right and everyone else is wrong. An April 2018 article by the Associated Press asks just that “Can there be forgiveness, second chances in the age of #MeToo?” According to experts there can be if they are genuine and recount exactly what they did wrong to their victims.

The article’s author Michelle R. Smith claims, “Forgiveness must be possible if society wants to reduce instances of sexual misconduct, but experts say, it will take work and willingness to change from both the perpetrators and society at large.” Jennifer A. Thompson, an assistant professor of applied Jewish ethics and civic engagement at California State University also believes it is possible. Thompson explains that in the Jewish tradition, “You have to go to the person you hurt and ask, ‘What can I do to make this right?’” Thompson believes that model of redemption could work in the age of #MeToo.

Lesley Wexler, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Law concurs, and believes in “restorative justice.” Wexler told the AP,“Part of what should be happening here is personal. Making amends to the victim, restoring the victim. And a separate part is acknowledging that the nature of this harm isn’t just the individual, you are a community. That suggests you also need to be public about what specifically was wrong and what you can do better.” The same can apply to Town and Country, they need to genuinely apologize to Lewinsky, they need to do better or else they sound like all the accused men of the #MeToo movement, just looking to save themselves.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 10, 2018: GOP closing in on Democrats in new 2018 Midterm elections poll with Trump the main issue

HEADLINE NEWS

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POLITICS

GOP closing in on Democrats in new 2018 Midterm elections poll with Trump the main issue

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

In less than six months before the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats are losing their poll advantage against the Republicans. In less than four months they lost a significant advantage, that indicates that the election could still go either way. On Wednesday, May 9, 2018, CNN / SSRS released a new poll on the midterm elections, that indicated 47 percent of “registered voters” supported their local Democratic candidate versus 44 percent saying they support the Republican candidate. In February, Democrats had a huge 16 point lead, that shrunk in March to six percent and now is three percent, within a poll’s margin of error. President Donald Trump’s approval rating is partially the cause as Democrats have yet to focuses on an issue to rally voters aside from their opposition to the president.

According to the latest poll, American voters still do not know if the GOP should retain control on Congress; the House of Representatives and Senate. Democrats only have a slight edge when it comes over who “the country would be better off” with 31percent versus 30 percent saying the GOP. While 34 percent saying it does not matter who controls Congress, with nearly half of independent voters 48 percent among them.

Still, more Democrats are very enthusiastic about the election versus Republicans, 50 to 44 percent; Republicans have boosted their enthusiasm factor up from 36 percent in March. As CNN notes, “53% of those who are very enthusiastic about voting say they’d back the Democrat in their district vs. 41% who say they favor the GOP candidate.” Ten percent more of enthusiastic voters want that Democrats to control Congress. Enthusiasm is always an important factor in elections as it brings voters to the polls, the extra incentive is necessary especially in midterm elections.

This year’s midterms are definitely a referendum on President Trump, with 64 percent claiming Trump is a very or extremely important factor in their voting this fall, while among enthusiastic voters that numbers jump to 78 percent. Enthusiastic voters are the ones that oppose the president the most with 51 percent wanting a candidate who opposes his policies, versus 46 percent, who want a candidate that agrees with him. Still, those numbers are down from January, 52 percent of voters would support a candidate who opposes Trump versus 41 who support him, the numbers are now 48 to 43 percent.

Helping the Republicans is that Trump’s poll numbers among all Americans are actually holding “steady” at 41 percent approving and 53 disapproving the same as in the last poll in March. The president’s numbers are far better among voters, with a 44 percent approval rating and a 51 percent disapproval rating. However, he is gaining points in his handling of the issues. Meanwhile, six in ten Americans find the country is going in the right direction, 57 percent up eight points from March. More Democrats find the country is going in a good direction, 40 percent up from 25 in February.

Trump’s numbers are improving because of increased Democratic support, especially on the issues. The economy is the issue where Trump has the best approval rating, at 52 percent up from 48 percent. Eleven percent more Democrats approve of the president’s handling of the economy now with 26 percent. Trump’s number is also improving on foreign trade 43 percent up from 38, and immigration 40 percent up from 36. His approval rating has also improved on foreign affairs to 42 percent up from 39 percent. Some of these numbers are the best since his first 100 days in office.

Trump’s best issue in the polls, the economy seems to be the most important issue to voters with 84 percent calling it extremely or very important, that number has grown from February, where 79 percent felt that way. Taxes is a rising issue with 73 percent saying is important, up from 67 percent. Immigration also remains hot-button issue, 76 percent up from 72 percent of voters calling it important. Gun control remains an important issue, 76 percent of all voters consider it important, only down two points from February, when there was a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The 15 point divide between the two parties has virtually faded with 79 of Democrats and 76 percent of Republicans calling it an important issue. The rest of the issues have declined in importance; health care down 80 from 83 percent, sexual harassment 58 down from 64 percent, and even the Russia investigation are losing importance 40 down from 45 percent. The changes in importance on issues is mostly partisan based.

The Congressional party leaders in the House on both sides fare worse in their popularity than the president. Only 30 percent view Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi favorably versus 49 percent unfavorable, with only 57 percent of Democrats having a positive view of their leader. Outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan fares better with 38 percent viewing him favorably versus 46 percent unfavorably. Ryan numbers are better mostly from greater GOP support, with 67 percent of the party having a positive view of the speaker. Despite voters feeling about their leaders, the Democratic Party is viewed more favorably, 44 percent to the GOP’s 39 percent.

While voters usually want candidates that share their views, Democrats care about less about this than Republicans, 76 to 67 percent. Democrats have been facing problems trying to decide which issue they should focus on in the midterm campaign. Most, however, agree an anti-Trump campaign will not be enough. Princeton University historian and CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer told The Hill, believes that vagueness on the issues helps the party, “Politically, their preference is to have some agenda items and some broad ideas that the party will fight for, and enough vagueness that it’s hard to be pinned down. It’s literally a document to rally people, and I think the good ones are written that way.”

Writing in an editorial on CNN, entitled “Democrats, focus on midterms — not Trump impeachment talk,” Zelizer cautions “The biggest challenge for Democrats is to avoid letting anti-Trump fervor drown out their own message.” Democrats need 23 seats to gain control of the House and at least a seven-point poll advantage over the GOP, which they lost in this latest poll. Trump’s improved polls numbers are a hamper to any anti-message against him, get is now also no longer the most unpopular president, his poll numbers are similar to Democratic President Jimmy Carter in May 1978, still, not the most promising comparison to the one-term president. With Trump’s numbers in a “Goldilocks zone,” where he can neither harm nor help his party, and Republicans will have it easier as a result to retain power, while Democrats will have to work harder for control of Congress.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 9, 2018: In the #MeToo era Town and Country magazine uninvites Monica Lewinsky from event because Bill Clinton attends

In the #MeToo era Town and Country magazine uninvites Monica Lewinsky from event because Bill Clinton attends

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

The age of #MetToo is not enough to change the age of old views of sexism and abuse of power. History keeps repeating itself for former White House intern Monica Lewinsky as she yet again is at the receiving end of discrimination because of her past involvement with former President Clinton. On Tuesday, May 9, 2018, Lewinsky took to Twitter to announce she had been disinvited from an event on social change because Clinton would now be attending. Lewinsky tweeted about the incident but did not name the magazine, hosting the event, which is believed to be Town and Country and their philanthropy summit.

The affair and resulting scandal led Clinton to be only the second president impeached. Twenty years later the #MeToo movement has been outing sexual abuse and harassment from men in positions of power who abused it, then silenced these women or tarnished their credibility. It is shocking in this era for this type of preferential behaviors to still occur nevermind past an event on social change.

On Twitter Lewinsky wrote, “Please don’t invite me to an event (esp one about social change) and — then after I’ve accepted — uninvite me because Bill Clinton then decided to attend/was invited. It’s 2018. Emily Post would def not approve.” Lewinsky then posted that it was a magazine that disinvited her, adding they offer to let her write an article in their publication. Lewinsky tweeted, “p.s. … and definitely, please don’t try to ameliorate the situation by insulting me with an offer of an article in your mag.”

The tweet has gone viral, with the original tweet been retweeted over 4,500 times and liked over 27,000 times. The second post was retweeted over 400 times and liked nearly 5,000 times. The comments, however, have not all been supportive, with many taking her issue with her bringing up Emily Post’s rules of etiquette considering her affair with Clinton. The bullying in itself is symptomatic of the era of social media but disregards the change in philosophy the #metoo movement has brought about.

In 1998, almost every time President Clinton was mentioned in the news so was Lewinsky then 24 years old. For over six months from the time Matt Drudge broke news of the Clinton-Lewinsky involvement until mid-August when the president finally admitted to the affair and apologized and then with the September release of the Starr Report, throughout the fall when House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton for “high crimes and misdemeanors” perjury and obstruction of justice through to early 1999 when the Senate finally acquitted Clinton, one could not read or watch the news without Monica Lewinsky being discussed, analyzed, mocked and ridiculed. Lewinsky became involved with Clinton in November 1995, when she was a 22-year-old White House intern and the “encounters” and affair continued on into 1997. The relationship became public knowledge through the taped revelations of informant Linda Tripp in the midst of the Paula Jones sexual harassment case after Clinton had asked Lewinsky to lie in her deposition for the case about their involvement.

Twenty years later and the whole issue with the disinviting is reminiscent of the bullying in the news when the scandal broke. Whereas Lewinsky was not believed at first, Clinton retained high poll numbers as she was vilified. Even after Clinton admitted he lied to the American public, he escaped impeachment, while Lewinsky became late-night fodder. She escaped the public eye for years, re-emerging in 2014 as a Vanity Fair contributor, where she wrote about the scandal and subsequent bullying in the article entitled “Shame and Survival.” She has since worked as a writer and anti-bullying advocate focusing particularly on cyberbullying and online harassment because she calls herself “patient zero,” the first to suffer from cyberbullying on a wide scale. In a 2015 TED TalkLewinsky, expressed, “What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.”

The event, Lewinsky was referring to was posh Town and Country magazine’s fifth annual philanthropy summit in New York. The magazine tweeted early in the day about Clinton’s attendance, writing, Welcome to the 2018 #TandCPhilanthropy Summit! Watch LIVE as @BillClinton of @ClintonFdn introduces @Emma4Change … https://t.co/IoNfCmwIFU — TOWN&COUNTRY (@TandCmag) May 9, 2018. Clinton was to introduce Parkland shooting survivor and gun control advocate Emma Gonzalez.

Among the other panels at the summit, was “Activism as the New Philanthropy,” “Rewriting the History of Violence,” “The Politics of Patronage,” “The Future of Cancer Care,” “Conscious Capitalism,” and “How to Make Philanthropy a Family Tradition.” Among the attendees and panelists was a mix of advocates and celebrities. According to Town and Country, they consist of “Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize, Tony-, Emmy-, and Grammy Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor will headline the event along with his family. Additional panelists and speakers include model Karlie Kloss, television anchor and O, The Oprah Magazine editor at large Gayle King, actor Bradley Cooper, entrepreneur Sean Parker, and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes.” The magazine also honored “ Chef and food activist José Andrés, the James Beard Foundation 2018 Humanitarian of the Year.”

The #Metoo has revisited not only the prevalent sexual abuse and harassment that was pushed under the rug but also the meaning of consent especially when there is a difference in power between the two parties. The lopsided power in employment, at universities, relationships between bosses and employees and professors and students particularly. In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement.

Recently, Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)” It impossible to believe a recent university graduate and former White House intern had a choice in her relationship with the president of the country and most powerful man in the free world. The direction of the relationship was always directed by the more powerful one, no matter what.

The fact that 20 years later, Town and Country and the social media is still acting the same towards Lewinsky, shows that the #MeToo movement is not advancing women’s plight and credibility as much as they believe. No matter if Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, and other celebrities, politicians, and journalists fall as result; Bill Clinton is still coasting on the power of the presidency. Democratic New York Senator and former Clinton ally Kirsten Gillibrand caused shock waves when this past November when she told the New York Times she believed Clinton should have resigned during the scandal in 1998. She was right, he should not still have the esteem after his treatment of women not only Lewinsky but including an accusation of rape from early his political career.

Clinton, the aggressor is being treated like a victim, needing Town and Country to impose a restraining order to protect him from Lewinsky. The mentality and preferential treatment are reprehensible, not only is it reminiscent of 20 years ago, but in an era long before the feminist movement, and Lewinsky is still bearing the Scarlet Letter A, while Clinton is revered. For the #MeToo movement to truly cause change, situations like this should never occur and all women should oppose it and speak out against such second-class treatments.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 7, 2018: First Lady Melania Trump’s poll numbers surge as she unveils Be Best initiative

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POLITICS

First Lady Melania Trump’s poll numbers surge as she unveils Be Best initiative

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

White House Twitter

While her husband’s poll numbers stagnate, First Lady Melania Trump’s polls numbers are surging to heights only in President Donald Trump’s dreams. According to a CNN / SSRS poll released on Monday, May 7, 2018, Mrs.Trump now has a 57 percent favorability rating, up 10 percent from January. Mrs. Trump’s numbers are better than her husband has ever experienced. The good news in the polls comes as the first lady unveiled her “Be Best” child welfare program in a Rose Garden ceremony.

The first lady’s rise in popularity coincides with President Trump’s scandals, particularly the revelation he had an affair with adult film actress Stormy Daniels in 2006 just after the birth of first couple’s son, Barron. First Lady Melania is benefitting from the same surge in public approval from members of all political parties as former First Lady Hillary Clinton did 20-years ago when President Bill Clinton was embroiled in a scandal involving an affair with former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

According to the new CNN poll, the first lady has a 57 percent approval rating, while only 27 of respondents have a negative view of her. The numbers have risen because of Democrat approval of the first lady, with 15 percent having a more favorable view of her since January. The numbers have only increased by five percent among Republicans. Despite the increase, still, a majority of Democrats have an unfavorable opinion of Mrs. Trump, 40 to 38 percent.

Melania’s number has risen because of increased support from the nation’s women with an addition of 13 percent, to just seven percent of men. In total, 54 percent of women view the first lady favorably, with only 30 percent not. Melania’s last best polling was in March 2017, when she had a 52 percent favorable rating versus 32 unfavorable. Although first ladies usually have higher favorability than the presidents, the difference between President and Mrs. Trump’s poll rating is more glaring. Trump only has a 41 percent approval rating with a 53 percent disapproval in the same CNN poll.

CNN cites the “sympathy” factor as the main reason Melania’s numbers have increased. Unlike her predecessor, when news emerged of each affair the president had during their marriage, the first lady did not show a united front and did do not stand by her man as Hillary Clinton famously quipped in a 60 Minutes interview during the 1992 presidential campaign. Instead, Melania asserted her independence from her husband. In January, after news of the affair with Stormy Daniels become public, the first First Lady did not join the president on his trip to the economic forum in Davos, Switzerland and she traveled herself to the capital for Trump’s first State of the Union address.

In February, when news broke that the president had another affair with Playboy model Karen McDougal in 2006, the first First Lady chose to travel to Andrews Air Force base to travel with the president. Melania Trump did not want to walk across the White House lawn to Marine One with the president, a photo-op so common in the Clinton era, during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. In between, especially during the recent state visit from France, Mrs. Trump avoided taking her husband’s hand. Through it all, she has not commented or defended her husband as Hillary famously did so in early 1998. Her stoic silence had garnered her sympathy from the American public.

Despite, the bump in favorability, her husband’s image still tarnished Melania and her numbers are not yet reaching her predecessors at this point in their first term. According to a CNN poll from September 2010 poll, Democrat Michelle Obama had a 62 percent favorable rating and only 25 percent unfavorable. Republican Laura Bush fared even better when a May 2002 CNN / Time poll had her with as 67 percent favorable rating, only 8 percent unfavorable, with 25 percent undecided.

Her poll bumps most resembles Hillary Clinton, whose husband President Bill Clinton faced his whole presidency with scandals and accusations. According to the Pew Research Center, Hillary had a 57 percent favorable rating in July 1994, the same point in her husband’s first term, and after her foray into healthcare policy. However, after the Lewinsky scandal broke and impeachment ensued Hillary’s numbers hit a record high. In March 1998, her favorable rating was 65 percent, in October it fell to 58 percent to rebound to 66 percent in December; a term high as impeachment hearing was going on in Congress. At the same time, President Clinton’s numbers fell to 51 percent.

First Lady Melania Trump’s high poll numbers come as she is coming into her own as the first lady. Two weeks ago she planned every aspect of her first state dinner welcoming France’s President Emmanuel Macron and first lady Brigette. Today, she unveiled her initiative “Be Best” in a Rose Garden speech. According to the White House, “BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, social media use, and opioid abuse.” The child welfare program emphasizes the problems children face with their physical and emotional health, drugs particularly the opioid crisis and cyberbullying on social media. Althotheirhere first lady is announcing her initiative 18-months into her tenure, she has spent her time on events concerning children. She announced in one of her rare presidential campaign speeches in 2016 that she would be focusing on cyberbullying as First Lady.

In her 10-minute speech, with her husband present Melania unveiled her program. Mrs. Trump expressed, “As a mother and as the first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide.” The first lady also explained where the initiative’s name originates, “I feel strongly that as adults we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life.”

The most controversial part of the first lady’s program is cyberbullying. Here again, Melania is showing her independence from her husband. The president is well known for his insults on the campaign trail and especially on Twitter and he is considered the nation’s bully-in-chief. The first lady almost seemed to be schooling her husband discussing the initiative, saying, “As we all know, social media can both positively and negatively affect our children. But too often, it is used in negative ways. When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can affect positive change.” That independence from her husband, his scandals, vices, and policies, are why Melania Trump is setting herself apart and gaining the public’s trust.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

News May 5, 2018: Justify makes history beats Apollo’s 136-year-old curse to win the 144th Kentucky Derby

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NEWS

Justify makes history beats Apollo’s 136-year-old curse to win the 144th Kentucky Derby

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Kentucky Derby Facebook

It was a history-making day at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May. On May 5, 2018, the odds-on favorite Justify won the 144th Kentucky Derby. Still, Justify beat the odds stacked against him, winning on the rainiest day in derby history on a muddy track after three inches of rain, while becoming only the second horse in history to win the derby after not running during his two-year-old season. The 2017 champion two-year-old and Eclipse award winner Good Magic came in a surprise second, with Audible coming in third. This is the first year the Kentucky Derby’s purse was doubled to 2 million. While trainer Bob Baffert picked up his fifth derby win, the second most in history.

The undefeated Justify won all three races he ran in 2018, including the Santa Anita Derby, a major Kentucky Derby prep race. Hall of fame jockey Mike Smith, 52 rode Justify to his second derby victory. Breaking from the seventh gate, the 3-1 odds-on favorite, rode in his comfort spot of second place in the backstretch behind Promises Fulfilled. Then Justify went to first at the 3/4-mile marker and never looked back. Early on rival Bolt d’Oro tried to catch up, then fell back. Towards the last turn, Good Magic had a good try, but in the end, barely beat Audible for second place. Even in the steady heavy rain, Justify did not have any mud on his face as he crossed the finished line by two and a half lengths, finishing the 1 ¼ mile race in 2:04.20. He earned $1,432,000, the largest purse for a Kentucky Derby winner.

Justify was one of two horses running in this year’s derby, who did not have their maiden race as a two-year-old, the other was Magnum Moon. There has not been a horse since the gelding Apollo, who won the Kentucky Derby in 1882, to win without starting as a two-year-old. The draught has become known as the Curse of Apollo. In the intervening 136 years, 61 horses have made the attempt and failed. Eight came close, two finished second, while five finished third. ESPN noted, “The best of that lot were arguably Hall of Famers Coaltown (lost to 1948 Triple Crown winner Citation), Forego (lost to Triple Crown winner Secretariat in 1973) and Curlin (lost to Street Sense in 2007).” Justify did not race because he needed to grow into his massive size. Like Apollo, Justify is a chestnut, but with a white blaze.

The curse had practical reasons up until the turn of this century, where horses ran races in the double digits before reaching the derby. Now key races allow horses to accumulate points, and they are given more time in-between races. The last Kentucky Derby winner to have more than 10 starts was California Chrome in 2014, who was a two-time Eclipse award-winning horse of the year. Justify’s three wins are in line with another famed derby winner Big Brown in 2008.

Baffert tried to compare Justify to his other recent great horses, 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and Breeder’s, Pegasus and Dubai World Cup winner Arrogate. Baffert told the press, “Him and American Pharoah and Arrogate, these horses are cut from a different… They are just so great.” Baffert also complimented his champion horse, saying, “I was just in awe of the performance. That’s the best Kentucky Derby-winning performance that I brought up here.” Jockey Smith, who has won 5,000 races including the 2005 derby on Giacomo, also did not mince words of praise. Smith expressed, “I can’t describe how special this horse is, I don’t have the words for it.”

This is the sixth year in a row the favorite has won, the longest stretch in history. If Justify is anything like Baffert’s last derby winner American Pharoah, he might just end up winning the Triple Crown. The next jewel is the Preakness Stakes on May 19, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, and then the Belmont Stakes on June 9 in Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

May 4, 2018: Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

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EDUCATION

Quebec has lowest high school graduation rate in North America

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Wikipedia Commons

When a bachelors degree has become the standard to get a good job, one location in the North American continent lags behind in their high school graduation rate. Only 64 percent of public high school students graduate in the Canadian province of Quebec according to The Institut du Quebec studyreleased on Tuesday, May 1, 2018,, in partnership with the Conference Board of Canada and HEC Montréal. Mia Homsy, the director of the Institut du Québec co-wrote the study with economist Simon Savard. While the number only rises to 69 percent when private school students are counted. The study looked at the graduation rates for students that complete their studies within a five-year period divided between public and private schools and overall going back to 2008 through 2015. When looking at the public school numbers Quebec, it has the lowest graduation rate in the entire continent, Canada, and the United States.

Quebec’s high school system is different than anywhere else in Canada and the US. Students start in grade seven or second one and go to grade 11 or secondary 5, a full grade less than us the norm. This is because before entering university in the province, high school graduates are required to attend a junior college called Cegep where they can take either the pre-university stream or a career diploma. Additionally, Quebec’s school system is not only divided by public or private or in the US charter schools but by language where students either go to an English or French system, with the majority in the French as it is the provinces official language. The graduation rates are greatly affected by the language disparities.

The study found that in Quebec that the overall graduation rate was between 68 and 69 percent, with 64 percent graduating within five years in the public school system and nearly 84 percent from private schools. In the last ten years, Quebec’s rates have dropped from 65 to 64 percent, while neighboring province Ontario’s rate increased from 72 to 84 percent. Ontario has instituted a number of reforms that have contributed to their increased rate including starting school at four-years-old while making attendance mandatory until 18 the age of students graduating grade 12 and requiring teachers to continue their education. During high school, they have made it easier for students who fail to redo just a part of the subject with a credit-recovery program. They also have a hands-on learning program and the option to take specialized courses, which keeps students interested. Students are the most at risk of dropping out in grades 9 and 10.

Quebec argues that they have determined their graduation rate is 71 percent for 2014 according to their calculations. They are also objecting to the comparisons with Ontario. One of the reasons is the different marks required to pass in Quebec it is 60 percent versus 50 percent in Ontario. Education Minister Sébastien Proulx was angered by the report. Proulx told the press, “I’m not saying these distinctions justify anything. What I’m saying is that you have to compare apples to apples.”

The overall public high school graduation rate for Canada is 77 percent. The graduation rate in Quebec is 8 percent lower than the next province Saskatchewan, whose rate is 72 percent. In addition to Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick all have an 84 percent graduation rate. Canada and its provinces all pale to the graduation rates in the US. High school graduation rates in the US have reached an all-time high, in the 2014-15 year, the same last year in the Canadian study, the rate was 83.2 percent for public high school graduates who complete their studies in the normal four-year period. There numbered have been rising in the US for the last five years reported. The highest rate was in Iowa with 90.8 percent, while the lowest was in the District of Columbia at 68.5 percent, which was still four points higher than Quebec’s public school rate. The rate increased to 84 percent in 2016.

Unlike in the United States where graduation rates are determined more by poverty, in Quebec language, gender and disability are the factors that are lowering the rate. Only half of the boys that go to high school graduate. The biggest problem is with male students, where only 51.4 percent graduate within five years as of 2014. Quebec public schools have the largest disparity between the genders, 14 percent, with 71 percent of females compared to 57 percent of males graduating by the time they are 18. The national average in Canada of students, who complete their studies by age 19 since there is a grade 12, is 81 percent of females, and 71 percent of males. While in Ontario, it’s 87 percent of females and 82 percent of males graduating high school.

The numbers shrink in Quebec, when looking at the students graduating on time, to 67 percent of females and only 51 percent of male students. The differences increase when comparing the school language systems. In the Anglophone board, there are the largest graduation rates in the public system with 80 percent of female students and 70 percent of males. Proulx also believes French parents are not emphasizing the importance of education enough which is why students do fare as well in the Francophone schools. The education minister told the press, “We need people to get involved. Historically, on the francophone side, yes we’ve had school dropouts but there is also a parental-dropout problem. It is not valorized enough. We have to look at ourselves in the eye as a society.”

Disabilities is another factor. While only 31 percent of students with disabilities graduate although they represent 30 percent of all students in the province. Special needs students also face a gender disparity with 70 percent being males. One of the problems leading todropouts is the province does not mainstream the students enough.

One of the reasons that the rate is so low in public schools is because the provincial government continues to cut their funding, with 1.5 billion less in the budget from 2010 to 2016. Quebec spends less on its students than Ontario. The teachers’ union Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE) commented to the press, “How could the authors of the report claim that the chronic underfunding of the public school system in Quebec hasn’t hurt Quebec students.” The federation represents 34,000 teachers. The teachers saying they are teaching with austerity measures. This is despite the province investing 1.8 billion to increase the graduation rate to 85 by 2030.

The co-author of the study and the director of the Institut du Québec, Mia Homsy thinks Quebec needs to do more or else they will continue to lag behind. Homsy told the Globe and Mail, “We have to do a better job of following our students, we have to rethink every decision we’ve made in the past decade. Something’s not working but nobody knows what the problem is. It’s a black box. And as long as advanced data are lacking, Quebec’s long-term efforts to catch up will be incomplete.” Among the basic suggestions, Quebec needs to cut class sizes, make kindergarten for four-year-olds olds mandatory, integrate special needs students, and keep better records of data for starters.

Although, high school students in Quebec do not complete their studies in five years, most eventually receive it. Within seven years the graduation rate is 80 percent and among those aged 25 to 34, 89 percent have a degree. Still, Quebec is behind British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, where the provinces have a 93 percent high school graduation rate by 34-years-old. However, the later one completes their studies the fewer opportunities for higher education and reaching one’s earning potential. Quebec has one consolation, the dropout rate has decreased from 20 percent in 1999-2000 to 12 percent in 2015.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

April 23, 2018: McGill students and principal resolve professor sexual misconduct issue?

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EDUCATION

McGill students and principal resolve professor sexual misconduct issue?

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

In an anti-climactic end, McGill University students have resolved their complaint with the university’s administration over mishandled complaints of professor sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, April 18, 2018, Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) leaders met with Principal Suzanne Fortier where they decided an action plan to move forward. The headway comes after three weeks of SSMU leaders and McGill students protesting the way the university officials have been handling complaints against five professors in the Faculty of Arts accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior with students.

The meeting was not all planned. SSMU Vice President of External Affairs Connor Spencer and other SSMU executive leaders crashed a meeting Principal Fortier that was exclusively for the incoming and outgoing SSMU presidents. Spencer only discovered there was a meeting because the news medias contacted her. Spencer spoke to CBC News telling them about her surprise. Spencer recounted, “I found out about it because media contacted me last night asking to talk to me after the meeting with student leaders, to which I responded [that] I had no knowledge of such a meeting, and they must have gotten the date wrong.”

Spencer had been the voice of the protest and movement against the administration. She headed the walkout, was the first listed in the open letter signature and was the one who spoke to the media to get the message to the public. SSMU’s outgoing president has not been vocal about this issue. Spencer was upset that in order to be at the meeting she and other student leaders had to crash the meeting to get their voice heard on the issue. Spencer told CBC News, “It’s really sad that those of us who are doing this work had to crash this meeting.

The meeting commenced with “high tension,” but progress was made. Spencer explained it helped to be able to speak face with the administration. Spencer told CBC, “By giving us space to express what students were concerned about, we were able to leave on a much more neutral footing and an understanding of where each side is coming from.”

The outcomes were far different than the hardline demands the students had been requesting, there will be no external investigation or even investigation as Concordia conducted after the student outcry in January. Neither will any of the five professors be put on leave or not teach next fall. What the SSMU leaders were able to secure were meetings to discuss the issue every two weeks. The administration also promised they would address professor-student relationships, a key issue. The McGill Senate consisting of “faculty, staff, students, administrators and board members” would decide on the policy.

After weeks of dodging and refusing to publicly comment to the media, McGill finally issued a statement, Wednesday evening. The administration expressed, “Everyone acknowledged that they are pursuing a common objective — to ensure that the campus is and remains a safe place for all members of the McGill community — and are committed to the principles of procedural fairness.”

The meeting occurred a day after McGill student leaders filed a complaint against the university with the Quebec Ministry of Higher Education. On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, both undergraduate and graduate student societies, the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) and Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) joined forces for a letter and sent it by email to Quebec’s Minister of Higher Education, Hélène David about the university’s administration officials mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints.

The student’s letter amounted to a complaint against the university saying, they were in violation of Bill 151, that requires all universities in Quebec to have an integrated sexual violence policy, including dealing with professor-student relationships, which at the center of the controversy at McGill. For a week now the SSMU has been warning administration officials about this next move, but the university has failed to heed to demands. The letter to the Ministry of Education came after the SSMU published an open letter, the students staged a walkout, and they held a town hall meeting closed to the public and media.

McGill students were also supported by the faculty in their fight against the administration. About 150 professors signed an open letter and sent it to administration officials on Monday, April 16, 2018, supporting the students’ grievances against the administration. The 148 professors made it clear that they support the SSMU’s call for an external investigation, their timeline to have it completed by June and the establishment of a single sexual violence policy covering both misconducts by students and faculty. The professors, who signed came from all the university’s faculties, not just Arts.

On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexually violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

Three weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published an open letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2300 students and over 100 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts.

McGill students wanted an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They wanted the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wanted the findings by this June. They were also demanding McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions among both the students and faculty. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok. Students have been writing anonymous accounts of the misconduct for years in the McGill Daily. This past year, however, the protests are louder because one of the accused professors are up for tenure, which led to student letters to his department and a grassroots protest movement this past fall semester.

Despite the knowledge of the misconduct, students, however, are and have been discouraged from filing complaints by the Faculty of Arts. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships. Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power.

Although, Spencer is declaring a victory, what the students received from the administration pales to their demands. The external investigation by a third-party going back five years, which was central to the student’s demands is long forgotten. There is no immediate ban on professor-student relationships. So far no word on the five professors teaching next fall semester, and what happens to the professor who was bedding his students as he was up for tenure? They will keep up their careers as the students, who suffered under them live with the fallout of their actions. McGill is handing the students a raw deal, there will not be any quick action for an investigation, and a new policy like Concordia, nor swift dismissals.

Exam period destroyed the pace of the movement, with students more concerned about exams and marks than justice, even the news media lost interest, with only CBC News following through to the end. No matter what concessions until those professors lose their powerful posts, there will be no justice. Otherwise, next year they will be again trolling for the next target. Next fall, the students have to demand more than what they received and not cower, McGill owes their students to feel safe, not create a playground for professors on the make.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

 

Education April 17, 2018: McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

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EDUCATION

McGill professors sign an open letter supporting students over complaints of sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are getting some support from their professors in their fight with the administration over sexual misconduct by professors in the Faculty of Arts. About 150 professors signed an open letter and sent it to administration officials on Monday, April 16, 2018, supporting the students’ grievances against the administration. The letter comes after the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) published an open letter demanding an external investigation, and staged a walkout protesting the administrations’ inaction over the misconduct of five professors in the Faculty of Arts. Tomorrow, Tuesday April 17, McGill students will be hosting a town hall meeting to discuss the issue.

The 148 professors made it clear that they support the SSMU’s call for an external investigation, their timeline to have it completed by June and the establishment of a single sexual violence policy covering both misconducts by students and faculty. The professors, who signed came from all the university’s faculties, not just Arts. They declared, “We stand in support of the students who have come forward with their experiences and with the student representatives and advocates who have supported these students.”

The professors wrote in the letter, “As teachers, we have a commitment to upholding a learning environment where students feel safe, supported and able to challenge themselves. It would be in violation of this duty for us not to add our voices to those of the students.” The professors also acknowledged that professor-student relationships should be prohibited. They wrote, “We believe that sexual relationships between students and faculty who are in a position to influence their academic and professional progress should be banned.”

The professors also reminded the administration that the issue affects the entire McGill community and the universities reputation. The professors pointed out to the administration, they have to “publicly acknowledge the fact that this issue affects the entire McGill community and the university’s reputation.”

The professors claim that the university has to keep in check professors that abuse their power because it also affects other faculty members. They indicated, “The lack of transparency concerning how complaints are handled against faculty members, who abuse their positions of power in this way, creates a toxic work and learning environment, and often places an invisible burden on other faculty members.”

History professor Shannon Fitzpatrick spoke to CBC News about the faculty’s open letter. Fitzpatrick finds it troubling that the administration is ignoring students complaints. Fitzpatrick told CBC, the administration is “actively shutting down a line of communication. That to me goes against the university’s mission of critical inquiry into social problems.”

Last Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexually violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

Two weeks ago, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published an open letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts.

McGill students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. They are also demanding McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; they act by Monday, April 23, or the SSMU will file a complaint at the Quebec Ministry of Education that McGill is in violation of Bill 151, the law requiring a single sexual assault policy for Quebec universities.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions among both the students and faculty. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok. The McGill Daily in their article, “We have always known about McGill’s predatory professors” wrote that the survey they conducted confirmed decades of sexual misconduct and that students have used a word-of-mouth system. The Daily sent out this survey April 9, receiving “dozens” of testimonies from the word-of-mouth system going back to 2008 according to the article. Unfortunately, professors have been blurring the lines for many years before at McGill, and there have been more than the five at the heart of students’ protests now.

Students have been writing anonymous accounts of the misconduct for years in the Daily. This past year, however, the protests are louder because one of the accused professors are up for tenure, which led to student letters to his department and a grassroots protest movement this past fall semester.

Despite the knowledge of the misconduct, students, however, are and have been discouraged from filing complaints by the Faculty of Arts. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships. Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power.

Tomorrow students are going to continue their protest with a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. The meeting will allow students “to share stories, concerns, thoughts and questions” and to discuss what else the SSMU can do to convince the administration to act. The event is closed to the public and the media, and can only be attended by current McGill undergraduate and graduate students.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

April 12, 2018: In the age of #MeToo women are still living in a man’s world

In the age of #MeToo women are still living in a man’s world

My personal experiences navigating a career in a man’s world.

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

This weekend I had a wake-up call, that men are still running the world, despite how far women think they have gotten. We are now living six months into the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, that were supposed to radically alter how women are treated in the workforce, free of harassment with the glass ceiling shattering more. Women are hailing it a real feminist moment, shouting the change it is inspiring. However, how much has really changed? This past International Women’s Day, my local radio station played Helen Reddy’s I am a woman, and the male host asked the same question, has the feminist movement really altered, women’s place in society, have we come far from 1972 when Reddy’s Women’s Liberation Movement anthem roared on the radio? From my experience as a writer in a man’s world, I can say not really.

Last week, I published a blog post on Medium on Ph.D. oversupply, attrition, and third-tier universities in the US. When I went online just five days later, low and behold I see a similar article on Ph.D. attrition in Canada and alternative careers published in a major Canadian news source written by a man. I found the timing too coincidental when most of the source material I used for my article was five years old. If I was a man this coincidence would never have occurred, no author would dare find inspiration from a man’s article and publish a similar one so soon.

Throughout my education and career, and even relationships, I have faced discrimination from men, who found ways to keep me as a woman in my place. I know my experiences are not unique, and a movement that started against Hollywood producers cannot change the landscape overnight, but for many working in a man’s world, it sometimes feels like a time warp. Unfortunately, men in power still see an educated and career-minded woman either as a threat or someone to use to their advantage. Ironically, these actions came from men, who call themselves feminists or liberals, who preach about equality, but do not practice it.

While at university and after I found one of my professors, who became a friend and mentor, and like the journalist, this past weekend, used my comments and ideas as inspiration for some of his own writings. Once he even took my idea for my thesis and dissuaded me from writing on the subject only to expand on the idea years later as a co-author of a book on the same topic. At the time, he told me the topic was too dangerous to do at that particular university I attended, where it was a political hotbed, but apparently, it was not dangerous for him. That was not the only the only time he borrowed from me. After I completed my studies I often would see ideas from our conversations, and years later from articles I wrote. He was able to get away with it because he had the doctorate and the tenure-track professorship, I was just a former student and a woman.

At work, the sexism and discrimination were most prevalent. As high as I went, like Hillary Clinton, the glass ceiling was there, preventing me from reaching my full potential. After graduating with my Master’s degree. I began as an intern at an academic online publication, I soon started rising through the ranks, a year later I was the first woman on the masthead. Soon, I was second only to the editor on the masthead, and the editor of an influential feature. Even as I worked there, readers complained of the lack of women featured. I felt grateful, but I soon could understand the complaints, as a young undergraduate and a man soon eclipsed me and I was pushed down and out. I am still the only women to have been that long on the masthead, as the publication returned to a good ole boys club.

This was not the only time I was replaced by a man for a position. I worked writing news summaries for a specialty magazine. After a couple of months they decided to go with a man to continue the writing, although he had no experience in the magazine’s topic. The boss, a man, however, soon tapped me to personally work for him writing as the history of a western mining town, as he collected artifacts and documents from the time. Writing your first book should be momentous, it was until you find out at the end, your boss has no intention of publishing it, even though he had a publication company, and finds you ungrateful when you express your displeasure.

Even in my relationships, I have encountered that sexism and seen the injustices women live with and men benefit from. I was recently engaged to a man, who was pursuing a Master’s degree and applying to doctoral programs. While we going together he showed me his essays, and then looked for my writing experience to help him complete his work. And he needed help, based on his writing if he would not have been a man he would never have gotten this far academically. To sweeten me up he gave me the line “it’s for our future.” No, it was for his benefit and his alone, he gets the degrees, not me. In the midst of the #MeToo movement, this man wanted me to be the little wifey, who works the husband through school, not a chance.

As a journalist and writer pushing myself through in a man’s world has been daunting and filled with lack of respect. Sometimes I feel although we are in 2018 we are not much farther than when the first wave of feminism and the Women’s Liberation movement took place in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and Helen Reddy’s song topped Billboard’s charts. Recently, I rewatched a miniseries, The ’70s that aired when I studied the same era in my first year of university, nearly 20 years ago. After my experiences, I felt just like one of the main characters, Eileen Wells, who saw a job she was promised go to a younger man with less experience, she fought the injustice and still lost. It should not be that way, but it still is. Although as a feminist, I have faith in the new wave of feminism sweeping over, as a realist, I know as long as men have the power women cannot break through, and that change will take more time then we want to admit.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 11, 2018: McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

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EDUCATION

McGill students protest enough is enough to the administration in walk-out over professors’ sexual misconduct

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

McGill University students are taking their protest to professors’ inappropriate behavior going unchecked to the next level. On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, a week after publishing an open letter to the university administration, students staged a walkout over the administration ignoring repeated calls over professors’ inappropriate and sexual violating behavior in the Faculty of Arts. McGill students were joined by neighboring Concordia University students, who have been dealing with complaints against professors in their Creating Writing program, which go back nearly 20 years. Around 1,000 students walked out of their classes at 2 p.m. and protested in front of the James Administration Building at McGill’s downtown campus in community square. The joint protest was organized by both schools students societies; Concordia Student Union and Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU).

The Facebook event entitled, “McGill and Concordia Student Walk-Out over Handling Complaints” stated the united protest’s purpose, “We all demand an acknowledgment of the extent of the problem. And we demand change.” The hashtags for the walkout was #EnoughisEnough and #NoMoreOpenSecrets, referring to the five professors, whose misconduct is called an open secret among students and other faculty members. Students chanted, “we will not be silenced” and “this will not blow over.”

The students also held up eye-catching signs, which read, “Who are you protecting?” and “Do you care about survivors?” Many had common taglines from the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements against sexual violence and harassment including, “Enough is enough,” “Time’s up,” and “No More Secrets.” Other signs eluded to the professors’ misconduct, saying, “No I don’t want to go office hours at Gerts,” the bar in McGill’s student society building, where one of the accused professors holds his office hours.

Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) has been leading the calls and protests against the professors’ misconduct. Spencer spoke to the crowd and asked them, “Can everyone here who has been warned or heard of an abusive professor during their time here please raise their hand.” Practically everyone present raised their hands, to which she replied: “That, is why we are here today.”

Last Wednesday, April 4, 2018, the SSMU published a letter addressed to the administration calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have been dealing sexual violence and harassment complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by over 2000 students and over 85 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts and they are demanding a third-party investigation to look at complaints for there past five years and for McGill to have an inclusive sexual violence policy that addresses professor-student relationships and misconduct complaints against professors.

For the past few years, there have been rumblings about five professors that have misused their positions. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”
Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok, while students are being discouraged from filing complaints. The complaints process at McGill has not and still does not deal with complaints against professors, especially those who engage in relationships with students, despite a revised sexual violence policy passed in 2016.

McGill students have been looking to Concordia for inspiration and to show McGill, an investigation is needed and a policy enforced to address professor-student relationships, Seeing the quick action at Concordia, made McGill’s students take an active and official stand against the administration’s lax treatment of professors who abuse their power. This past January at Concordia University, former students, and graduates of the school’s creative writing program came forward against four professors without tenure with allegations going back two decades. The university acted swiftly and dismissed three of the living professors, then launched an investigation. Within two weeks the university issued guidelines on how to deal with professor-student relationships acknowledging there is a “conflict of interest” and an “imbalance of power.” Despite decisive action now, Concordia students have been complaining for years, writing a letter in 2015, that the administration ignored, while students feared these professors harassment and predatory behavior.

Spencer told CBC’s Daybreak why the SSMU wanted Concordia students involved. Speaking to host Mike Finnerty, Spencer said, “I think McGill is trying to work within its own bubble. That’s why it’s important we bring Concordia, and what happened on their campus, to our campus.” Asma Mushtaq, academic and advocacy coordinator for the Concordia Student Union spoke to the Montreal Gazette why it was important to get involved. Mushtaq told them, “Concordia has allowed for open secrets to persist and fester for too long.”

The two universities’ students have different requests of their respective administrations. At McGill, students want an investigation conducted by a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June. Now the SSMU has added a threat to motivate the administration; the act or they will ask the Quebec Ministry of Education to intervene.

At Concordia, where an investigation is already underway, the students want to be involved and their voices heard. They also wanted recommendations from the independent Our Turn Report included in Concordia’s revised sexual violence policy. The report graded the sexual assault policies at different campuses with recommendations.

McGill’s administration has yet to respond to the SSMU’s latest tactics. Concordia’s officials were quicker to comment. The statement claimed that they do want student input in the investigation, and wants them to participate “through any avenues open to them,” saying their “Their input is vital to the work we are doing.” McGill’s Spencer, however, said it best in thanking students, who walked out today, declaring, “This is not over,” as much as professors and administration officials want, the students are not going to continue to live in fear as certain professors continue their abuse of power and hunt for their next victim among the student body.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 8, 2018: McGill University now has their #MeToo movement moment as students protest lothario professors 

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EDUCATION

McGill University now has their #MeToo movement moment as students protest lothario professors

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Montreal universities are now being drawn into the #MeToo movement forced to confront years of sexual harassment and assault that was pushed under the table. First, it was Concordia University, now McGill University is getting barraged for their handling of complaints. On Thursday, April 4, 2018, the Student Society of McGill University (SSMU) published an open letter calling for an investigation into the way the university and Faculty of Arts have dealing sexual violence complaints against professors. The letter has been signed by nearly 1,500 students and over 50 clubs and other student societies. The letter accuses administration officials of ignoring complaints against professors in the Faculty of Arts and they are demanding a third-party investigation. The letter and calls are a long time in the making as students and professors have been writing and commenting about the actions of these professors in the Faculty of Arts, who engaged in so-called consensual and unwanted inappropriate behavior against students for years.

The president of SSMU and its societies and five vice presidents addressed the letter to Principal Suzanne Fortier, Provost Christopher Manfredi, and Dean of Students Chris Buddle. The letter recounted the situation at the university but did not name any professors, although students have been naming the professors in unofficial capacities for years. Neither does the letter describe the professors’ actions, although the chatter is quite loud on online forums, personal blogs, and the student press, everyone on campus knows who these offenders are.

The letter claims, “These professors continue to teach and to supervise, in some cases teaching mandatory first-year courses, leaving vulnerable the students who have not yet been warned about the predatory behaviors of certain professors. It has also been the case that student representatives over this past year have brought up these concerns multiple times to many different members of the administration. It was clear that the majority of the administration who were met with knew which professors students are concerned about. And despite our expressing anxiety over the safety and well being of a particular student in one case – no action was taken.”

Connor Spencer, vice-president of external affairs for the Students’ Society of McGill University had a press conference on Thursday, April 5, clarifying the allegations. According to Spencer, there are five professors that have misused their positions. The professors are in five different departments in the Faculty of Arts; history, philosophy, political science, psychology and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Among the offenses are “holding office hours in bars with underage students, to routinely sleeping with students who are in their classes, to being in abusive relationships with students they’re supervising.” Additionally, the professors would “make sexually suggestive comments in person and in e-mails.”

Apparently, the situation with these professors is an “open secret” everyone knows what is happening, but nothing is being done to stop these professors from running amok, while students are being discouraged from filing complaints. Spencer told CBC News, “Everyone’s aware of where the problems are, and no one’s doing anything to address it, year after year.” Spencer explained to the Globe and Mail, “Everyone knows the names of the professors and it’s shared among students.” The problem has been happening for at least five years with these specific professors. Spencer recounted that female students have been warning incoming students with a list of professors “whose classes I was not to take.” Female students were warned to never be alone with these professors. Spencer told the Globe and Mail, “If she did take their courses, she was told never to go to their offices ‘if I wanted to keep myself safe.’”

Despite everyone in the university, from the students to the administration know about the problems, the administration refuses to take any actions, because of the lack of formal complaints. Spencer recounted to the Globe and Mail, “We’ve spoken about specific cases with administrators in meetings and still nothing has been done, even though they know that these are reoccurring issues.” Spencer told the Montreal Gazette the SSMU wants the university to take the problem seriously, “We are hoping with this open letter to change the culture of understanding and show (the administration) they need to investigate when there are serious problems that compromise the safety and well being of students … whether or not there are official complaints.”

The SSMU’s letter is a means to force the administration to launch an investigation. The SSMU letter also asked for a remedy to the ongoing problem, their solution a third-party investigation into the method McGill deals with complaints. They want the third-party to review and interview students who made informal and formal complaints to the Dean of Arts against professors for the last five years and review if tenure committees are aware of any complaints. The SSMU wants the findings by this June.

The SSMU made the request in their letter, “We understand that the Faculty of Arts is not the only faculty that has a problem with professors who abuse their power, and we hope that an external investigation into Arts will set a precedent so that in the future McGill will act when they become aware of departmental issues and that above all they will begin to prioritize the safety of their students before the legal liability or reputation of the institution.”

When asked to respond by the press Vice-Principal Louis Arseneault (Communications and External Relations) declined to comment. Arseneault only gave a generic politically correct response in a statement, saying, “McGill University has put in place staff, resources, policies, and opportunities for individuals and groups to come forward with their concerns and complaints. These are matters we take very seriously. Every report or complaint of sexual misconduct, abuse of authority through sexual misconduct or ‘predatory behavior’ that contains sufficiently detailed facts is investigated. If there are findings of sexual misconduct of any kind, appropriate measures are taken, following due process.” Arseneault cited privacy laws in the investigation, stating, “Because of Quebec law concerning privacy, the University cannot disclose when it is conducting investigations, nor reveal any results. Thus, the fact that results are not disclosed is not evidence that investigations did not occur or that they were faulty.”

Provost and Vice-Principal Manfredi also sent a personal response to Spencer, insisting, “Every report and complaint of misconduct that contains sufficient details is investigated.” Manfredi told Spencer, “As you know from your own work on the Sexual Violence Policy Implementation Committee and from McGill administrators’ ongoing, direct engagement with SSMU executives – yourself included – McGill has in place extensive resources, skilled staff, and robust policies to address matters of sexual violence and to support survivors.”

Despite the university being on defensive as to investigating sexual misconduct complaints, the process deters students from filing a complaint or if they start they usually stop. As Spencer pointed out, “it’s so labor-intensive and retraumatizing.” As with women who file complaints against men in positions of power many are worried they would not be believed. The university has also in past situations attempted to discredit claims that are filed as a deterrent for students filing complaints. The complaints process is also steeped in confidentiality, it is meant to help the students, but does more to protect an accused faculty member.

Student Geneviève Mercier-Dalphond writing in a March 2016, McGill Daily article entitled, “The vicious circle of professor-student relationships A follow-up investigation of McGill’s policies on sexual harassment” discussed the problems confidentiality in the process causes. Mercier-Dalphond explained, “On a broader level, it sends a message that normalizes student-professor relations, and sets an example for other professors that they can get away with this kind of inappropriate behavior.”

In December 2016, McGill revised their sexual violence policy, Policy against Sexual Violence, to comply with Quebec’s new Bill 151, requiring schools to have a consolidated sexual violence policy (SVP) including addressing professor-student relationships by 2019. The new SVP deals with violence by the whole McGill community, especially students and operates under the Student Code of Conduct. The policy can “reprimand, expel or suspend a student.” The new policy was three years in the making, and was supposed to have a “survivor-centered approach.” Additionally, the policy “establishes measures that McGill will adopt with respect to prevention, education, support, and response to sexual violence.” The university also created a new sexual assault center, “dedicated to sexual violence education and response.”

At the time the new policy was passed by the university senate; the students still had misgivings about how complaints would be handled under the new rules. Erin Sobat, the vice-president of university affairs for the SSMU during the 2016-17 academic year commented at the time to CBC News, “What it doesn’t do is address the disciplinary process past the process of filing a report.” Labour laws in Quebec, prohibit the publication of the procedures.

The new policy also failed to address professor-student relationships, and complains against professors; a central problem at the heart of the complaints against one of the professors the open letter is directed. The new SVP says very little about these relationships, writing, “an abuse of a relationship of trust, power or authority, such as the relationship between a professor and their student,” and agreeing they cannot be consensual. The only way to file a complaint against a professor is by filing a complaint about “harassment, the violence of coercion.” The complaints are then processed through the Regulations Relating to Employment of Tenure-Track and Tenured Academic Staff. Labour laws in Quebec, prohibit the publication of the procedures. The process is so complicated that it dissuades students from filing. Connor explained to the Montreal Gazette, “You have to consult at least six documents full of policy jargon after you’ve just experienced a trauma, and you are not really sure about wanting to do this, anyway. That would discourage anyone from coming forward.”

In December 2017, the McGill Tribune editorial board wrote an opinion piece opposing the lack of policy for such complaints entitled, “McGill’s sexual violence policy lacking on professor-student relationships.” They emphasized what an important gap this is in policy since these relationships cannot be consensual. The board pointed to the conflict of interest with such relationships and indicated why. The board expressed, “Of more dire ethical concern is the question of consent in these relationships. The power differential between students and professors is enormous—whether acting as an intro-course lecturer or a master’s research supervisor, a professor has substantial control over their students’ success at McGill, and, by extension, their career prospects upon graduation. Given this compromised capacity to object to unwanted sexual advances, it is unethical for a professor to initiate any relationship with a student directly beneath them.”

The #MeToo movement is altering the definition of consent, especially there is a difference power between the two parties in evolved, such as professors getting involved in relationships, and sexually with their students. Students who believe they are getting involved consensually with professors seem to forget, with such a power difference, these relationships can never truly be consensual, because there is no equality. Mercier-Dolphand in the McGill Daily explained, “The student’s power in this dynamic is not comparable, and talking of equality between consenting adults, in this case, ignores the power differential on which the relationship is built.”

Recently, even former White House intern Monica Lewinsky in a March 2018, Vanity Fair article entitled, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” re-examined her relationship with former President Bill Clinton. Lewinsky persistently claimed it was consensual and she was not a victim, but she is currently reconsidering it in light of the #MeToo movement. Lewinsky expressed, “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)”

A former Associate Dean of Arts at York University, Shirley Katz wrote a policy paper on the very issue published in University Affairs in 2000, entitled “Sexual Relations Between Students and Faculty.” To Katz, there cannot be consent because of professors’ “power over students” as the nature of the role. Katz concludes the power difference is always there making consent in the traditional way impossible for students. Katz wrote, “because the professor’s powers affect the student’s life in a significant way, […] the student cannot say no to the relationship, so her consent is actually coerced compliance.”

Jason M. Opal, associate professor in the Department of History and Classical Studies at McGill commented in the 2015 McGill Daily article, “Let’s talk about teacher,” a student’s anonymous recount of her sexual relationship with one of the professors accused of inappropriate behavior. Opal concurred the power dynamic affects consent. Opal wrote there are “profound inadequacies of ‘consent’ as a moral and social category.” Continuing, he said, “consent is better than coercion: that is the best thing we can say about it. Opal concluded that the professor-student relationship is “inherently problematic, usually exploitative, and often predatory.” The unequal predatory nature is the reason professors involved have to face sanctions and punishments from the university because they have an obligation to protect their students.

Some of the accounts coming from McGill describe sexual relationships, but they are not the only inappropriate ones. Others blur the line, friendships and emotional relationships that can tether on sexual harassment or impropriety but avoid the messy sexual dynamic that is easier to prove crossed a line. Even if broken boundaries are easily proved, the university has not been kind to students filing complaints against professors after such relationships. They are not given the same weight as unwanted and forced sexual harassment and assault committed by other students. Universities have been enacting policies that prohibit any personal relationships between students and professors, especially if they are in a position to grade them for some timer already. McGill has yet to address the issue even after revising their sexual assault policy.

Students had a right to be concerned about the revised SVP seeing what is transpiring with the five Arts professors and the way complaints have been brushed aside. The SSMU has been working on an additional policy covering misconduct from students in McGill’s clubs and societies. Closing the “loophole” would make students more comfortable making complaints against fellow students. It would allow the SSMU clubs and societies to remove or sanction someone that has a complaint filed against them, even banning them from the SSMU building. Additionally, it would provide mandatory training in defining and preventing sexual assault for all SSMU associated university clubs and societies.

For over two years there have been rumblings of complaints of transgressions by professors in the Faculty of Arts, particularly, the Department of Political Science, incidentally Provost Manfredi’s old department and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Apparently, there are claims that there is a serial sexual harasser in the department of political science and a serial lothario in the Institute of Islamic Studies. This professor in the Islamic Studies is a central reason for the students and SSMU’s uproar over the university’s mishandlings of professors’ inappropriate behavior.

Former McGill political science professor Stephen Saideman, who taught at the department from 2002 to 2012 wrote about the actions of a professor in his department. Saideman repeatedly wrote about this particular professor in a number of blog posts. In his blog post entitled, “McGill’s Shame Continues” from March 2016, he specifically revealed that this professor was teaching Middle East and peacebuilding studies in the department. Saideman explained in his post why he did not expose the name of the professor. The former McGill professor commented, “I have repeatedly referred to a particular serial sexual harasser […] but obliquely so. Why obliquely so? Because I am not sure what the consequences are for me of violating the confidentiality agreements of a place I used to work and because I didn’t want people to speculate about who received this guy’s unwanted attention.”

A student did successfully file a complaint this particular professor; however, the so-called punishment was hardly enough to deter him from continuing harassing students. Saideman recounted, “[the University] did find in favor of the student, and the provost found that something inappropriate happened at the time, but that it did not fit the definition at the time of sexual harassment. I do believe this is a failure on the part of that provost.” All the university did be change the professor’s office to one where he can be monitored and prevented him from taking on graduate students. In barely any time, the department lapsed, he was back in his old office and supervising graduate students, even female ones.

In 2016, Saidemen claimed the major problem with the complaints process was confidentiality and the university refusing to name guilty professors. During his time at McGill Saideman used to discourage students from studying that area, as the only means of deterrence he could do. Saideman told the McGill Daily, “The core problem is how McGill has handled it. It was all treated confidentially, which has the effect of protecting the perpetrator…. the job of the University is to protect students.” Saideman was surprised that he was still teaching, saying, “I simply don’t understand why McGill has not fired him yet.”

Another story that brought out the problem of the professor accused of sleeping with his students was an anonymous article in the McGill Daily of a student recounting her nearly two-year affair with this professor, the one supposedly from the Institute of Islamic Studies The article published in September 2015 was entitled, “Let’s talk about teacher I slept with my professor and here’s why it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.” The explicit article described how this professor-student relationship developed from office-hour meetings to a working and sexual relationship that tore this student apart with the conflicting roles they played. In her recount, the working relationship played a prominent role in their developing relationship. The working relationship was the legitimate way for them to spend time in his office behind closed doors; a common excuse professors use to justify publicly their inappropriate involvement with a student. After the second year, the student discovered he had been sleeping with other students as well she was not the only one, but one of many.

The student described this professor as she saw him after everything ended, “He was a predator. He was a manipulator. He was a liar. He was using young women as vessels for self-validation. He was abusing his power, and he had no intention of stopping.” She also discovered this professor, “slept with, propositioned, sent inappropriate emails to, or generally made uncomfortable” other female students. The complaints process was daunting and these students feared retribution and reprisals that are so common so they did file. The article published nearly three-years-ago indicated that at that time there were problems also with five professors in different departments, “who had reputations of either serially harassing or sleeping with their students.” The student recounted, “Where some professors were concerned, students spoke of the incidents like they were common knowledge.”

At that point, there were no formal complaints filed against that professor. This fall the students were fed up with this Islamic Studies’ professor at the heart of this scandal as he was up for tenure this academic year, so they initiated their own grassroots protest. At the start of this academic year, stickers were posted in the women’s bathrooms with the Islamic Studies professor’s name, warning other female students. According to the McGill Daily, “Noting that the professor is up for tenure this semester, the stickers urged students to send testimonies of abusive behavior from faculty and staff to zerotolerance@riseup.net.” The professor in question responded with a denial, saying, “Anonymous accusations have been posted around campus about me that is categorically untrue and constitute defamation. I am deeply committed to doing my part to make every student feel safe in my classroom and on McGill’s campus.”

The university administration seemed to have backed up the professor with Angela Campbell, the Associate Provost (Policies, Procedures, and Equity) writing a defending statement that admonished the students who revealed the professor publicly. Campbell stated, “The University takes all complaints of misconduct seriously.” Continuing Campbell expressed, “Survivors can and should report through the appropriate channels,” and “McGill’s administration disapproves of attempts to address such matters through anonymous posters such as [the stickers] found on campus and is taking measures to remove these.”

Additionally, in the Winter 2017 semester the 2016-2017 executive leaders of the World Islamic and Middle East Studies Student Association (WIMESSA) Sent an open letter objecting to the professor to Robert Wisnovsky, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies. The letter read, “We (WIMESSA execs) believe that the department is partially not taking this seriously, because they don’t think many undergrads personally care,” read the preamble to the open letter. “There is also no ‘paper trail’ of student concern which makes the department less accountable to the university.” WIMESSA asked the department not to grant the professor tenure, writing, “It is disconcerting that such an abuse of power appears to be going unreprimanded. As it stands, women are at a disadvantage within the Islamic Studies department, and this inequality needs to be corrected. For these reasons, WIMESSA vehemently encourages the impending tenure committee to deny [the professor] tenure.”

The program director never publicly responded, and this year’s WIMESSA executives issued a statement. The statement backtracked and avoided mentioning the particular professor. The executives wrote, “In light of recent events regarding the Islamic Studies Institute, we want to extend our services to the community and support our students in any way we can. […] Sexual violence is a serious issue that we do not tolerate and we recognize the institutional violence that this inherently causes. […] This is a matter that we are taking very seriously and we are working as much as we can within our power to ensure transparency and accountability.”

It is too easy for the lines to be blurred in academia. For professors they are presented with wide-eyed naive students in awe, many enamored with the professors’ charm, sophistication, and brilliance, and they easily take advantage of the situation. Many of the young faculty members are often less than then ten years older than the students they teach, for others they never want to see themselves as older than the students. They behave as friends, buddies cross the line into sexual harassment, sexual relationships, but the power dynamic is always there. Professors and students never equal and it is inappropriate for them to think it is even possible.

Research has proven that power alters the minds of men, making them believe they have the right to behave in the controlling manner that leads to sexual harassment and assault. They believe they have a privilege to behave the way they do and many fail to see how wrong they are. The #MeToo movement in a short six months has swept through the entertainment industry, politics, business, and journalism. The movement gave a voice and credibility to women who for years had experienced harassment, abuse, and assault in the hands of men in positions of power and then suffered in silence fearing reprisals.

Now it is sweeping academia, but there are setbacks. Tenure has always given professors an extra boost in their power, giving them an air of invincibility. Tenure has and is still protecting professors preventing universities from firing professors who behave inappropriately with students. Professors, however, believe universities owe their students to deal with the accused professors, not just fire them, which would allow them to continue their behavior elsewhere. The SSMU’s open letter wants an investigator to examine tenure and tenure-track professors as well, to see if complaints against professors are presented to the tenure committee and to see whether tenure status “can be reassessed following formal complaints against a faculty member.”

The students realize tenure cannot be overturned and the system changed overnight, but they do believe there should be consequences for tenured professors. Spencer commented to the Montreal Gazette, “Right now if a prof has tenure, they are untouchable. Some of the profs (who are the subjects of repeated complaints) have tenure and some don’t. For the ones who do have tenure, why would anyone bring a complaint forward? … It’s not about, one complaint, therefore fire them, but we need to explore what a procedure for processing complaints against a tenured prof looks like.”

In Montreal, there have already been cracks in that invincibility. This past January at neighboring Concordia University, former students, and graduates of the school’s creative writing program came forward against four professors without tenure with allegations going back two decades. The university acted swiftly and dismissed three of the living professors, then launched an investigation. Within two weeks the university issued guidelines on how to deal with professor-student relationships acknowledging there is a “conflict of interest” and an “imbalance of power.”

The events at Concordia inspired SSMU to take action now, and force the university to confront the way they have been dealing or not dealing with complaints against these five repeat offending professors. Spencer commented the press, “We were told that it couldn’t happen, and then we looked over at our neighbor and they were doing it, so we didn’t accept that anymore…I thought, ’If not now, then when,’ If something doesn’t happen now, I don’t know when it’s going to happen.”

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 4, 2018: Too many Ph.Ds not enough jobs why academia needs to be more selective

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EDUCATIO

Too many Ph.Ds, not enough jobs, why academia needs to be more selective

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

As students receive in their acceptance letters and notifications for the upcoming academic year, and universities post a high number of applications and lower acceptance rates for undergraduate study, how do these trends affect graduate studies? For years already there have been reports on the oversupply of doctoral students while tenure-track university jobs shrink. Is it time for graduate studies to take a page from undergraduate trends and accept fewer students at the graduate level?

There are widespread problems with both the way these programs are run and with the students enrolled. Former Harvard University president Derek Bok lamented on the problems in doctoral study in the United States in a November 2013 article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled, “We Must Prepare Ph.D. Students for the Complicated Art of Teaching.” Bok described the worst offenses, “Graduate schools can justly be condemned as the worst-designed and worst-administered of any major academic program in our research universities. There are far too many Ph.D. programs, many of them of mediocre quality. Dropout rates are embarrassingly high. More than 40 percent of graduate students fail to earn doctorates within 10 years, a number far greater than in other advanced degree programs. Students take too long to finish, with almost 30 percent in the social sciences and 40 percent in the humanities lingering for more than seven years before earning their degrees.”

Doctoral students have a great dissatisfaction with the problems plaguing the Ph.D. process. An article in the Economist in 2010, entitled “Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time The disposable academic” claims, “Some describe their work as “slave labor”. Seven-day weeks, ten-hour days, low pay and uncertain prospects are widespread.”

The article claims that there is a problem with the research doctorate education that is creating an unneeded oversupply. Written in 2010, it claims that in the United States, 64,000 students graduated with doctorates. From 2005 to 2009, 100,000 received doctorates, but there were only 16,000 professorship positions open. The Economist writes, “an oversupply of PhDs. Although a doctorate is designed as training for a job in academia, the number of Ph.D. positions is unrelated to the number of job openings. Meanwhile, business leaders complain about shortages of high-level skills, suggesting PhDs are not teaching the right things. The fiercest critics compare research doctorates to Ponzi or pyramid schemes.”

The article claims one of the reasons universities continue these programs is because they provide cheap labor in the university, in research and teaching. “Universities have discovered that Ph.D. students are cheap, highly motivated and disposable labor. With more Ph.D. students they can do more research, and in some countries more teaching, with less money.” Money is the prime motivator for most universities when it comes their doctoral students, from tuition and the cheap labor they provide. The process is disheartening, especially among students that should not be in the programs, to begin with.

One of the main problems is attrition, the longer students take to complete the degree, the more likely they are to drop out. According to the Economist, “Only 57% of doctoral students will have a Ph.D. ten years after their first date of enrolment. In the humanities, where most students pay for their own PhDs, the figure is 49%.” The Economist points out that of those that drop of their doctoral program, most do so early on, but in the humanities, they linger for years, before stopping their degree. The main reasons for stopping include, “Poor supervision, bad job prospects or lack of money cause them to run out of steam.”

Leonard Cassuto also looked at the problem and reasons for attrition. In his Chronicle of Higher Education commentary published in July 2013, entitled, “Ph.D. Attrition: How Much Is Too Much?” Cassuto points out that “A disturbing 50 percent of doctoral students leave graduate school without finishing.” Cassuto indicates there are three types of doctoral students. The first type is “those who can’t get it done because they’re not up to the demands of the task.” The second type is “those who have the ability to finish but choose not to,” while the third type completes their degree. Cassuto believes if an academic committee keeps up to standards very few would not complete their degree due to lack of ability, because those accepted would have the skills to do so. He also believes a “well run department” matters in admitting students that are up to the task. The problem is in many lower-tier schools the desperation for students often hinders committees and departments’ admission decisions.

The Economist also had solutions to the attrition problem, mostly incentives and penalties against the professors. According to the Economist, “Measurements and incentives might be changed, too. Some university departments and academics regard numbers of Ph.D. graduates as an indicator of success and compete to produce more. For the students, a measure of how quickly those students get a permanent job, to what they earn, would be more useful. Where penalties are levied on academics who allow PhDs to overrun, the number of students who complete rises abruptly, suggesting that students were previously allowed to fester.”

Lowering the number of graduate student at lower-tier schools might also be an answer. While elite and top-tier universities only accept the students that would be the most successful for the rigors of graduate education, those at lower-tier schools are often not. Despite the overcrowding mostly from lower-ranked schools, they continue accepting too many underqualified students, because if they would not they would go out of business.

On a personal note, recently I had the chance to read the writings of a graduate student at a college whose Political Science department where they were studying did not even rank according to US News and World Report’s graduate school rankings. The writing was hardly graduate-level caliber, the essays were riddled with grammatical and sentence structure errors, and they did not even know the basics of constructing a thesis statement. The student’s work was not even up to the standards expectant of undergraduates at most top-tier colleges and universities. Why were they then in a masters program and had applied for doctoral study for the upcoming year? Why had nobody stopped their studies before? Because the college needed the students and tuition money to continue offering their program. The situation is not unique, it symptomatic of many lower-tier schools and graduate programs.

Doctoral graduates from lower ranked schools face more employment setbacks that their peers at elite top schools and graduate departments. The problem is now years in the making. A December 2012 report proved that graduate of the top doctoral programs is their ones getting the bulk of the available tenure-track positions. The study conducted by Robert Oprisko of Butler University, and published in the Georgetown Public Policy Review entitled, “Superpowers: The American Academic Elite” looked specifically at doctoral graduates from political science programs using 2009 program rankings.

Oprisko determined that only students graduating from top 11 programs where benefitting career-wise after completing their doctorate. The study found that just 20 percent of those receiving tenure-track posts come from the top four schools Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford and top public school and number four, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Oprisko points out in this study that even lower-ranked universities want to hire graduates of the top programs, which Oprisko says, “This practice reinforces the perceived inferiority of their current institution.”

Audrey Williams June writing in a December 2012, Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “Ph.D.’s From Top Political-Science Programs Dominate Hiring, Research Finds” explained the findings. Williams June wrote, “The median institutional ranking of institutions in the study is 11, which Mr. Oprisko said implies that 11 institutions contributed half of the political scientists who filled tenured or tenure-track positions at research-intensive universities in the United States. That means that graduates of the more than 100 other political-science programs competed for the remaining 50 percent of job openings.” Oprisko finds “Students who come from less-prestigious institutions don’t really get a chance.”

Oprisko notes, according to Diane Rubenstein of Cornell “the perception is that good students only come from a handful of schools.” Justice Clarence Thomas takes issue with this perception, holding that graduates from schools ranked lower are not “third-tier trash.” Sometimes, however, lower standards from these schools both at the school and program level fosters third-rate doctorate.

Leonard Cassuto also looked at the academic prestige of doctorate graduate at top-tier schools and program then questioned “What Are Low-Ranked Graduate Programs Good For?” in the Chronicle of Higher Education in January 2013. To Cassuto it is graduating from the top 40 ranked programs which matter, writing “Political scientists, like AM-radio disc jockeys of old, prize the top 40.” Cassuto indicates programs outside the elite are defensive and he had an email from a director at a regionals school that argued, “As a Research, I University, our students, for the most part, are very much interested in continuing to do research.” At that point, she blamed the economy for their graduates being overlooked in the job market.

Many graduates of lower-tier programs often end up in jobs outside of academia or as teachers in community colleges or other teaching-only institutions. The problem is most of the lower -tier schools are in denial as to the prospects of their students’ careers and do not emphasize teaching in their programs. Cassuto also notes that programs outside the top 40 who should be emphasizing teaching for their doctoral students but do not, instead they follow the top 40 model to the detriment of their doctoral students. Schools outside the top 100 are usually teaching intensive and realize it, favoring graduates, who are generalists focused on teaching as opposed to research. As Cassuto recounts one graduate director at a lower-ranked regional school confessed their programs emphasized teaching, “because we know our place.”

Bok notes the problems undergraduate are having with learning basic skills and remaining engaged. Bok recounts “Among the recent discoveries, investigators have found that college students are not making as much progress as most people have assumed in mastering essential skills such as writing and critical thinking.” For Bok, the problem could be solved by teaching doctoral students how to teach.

As academia and critics look to teaching as an answer to the overflow of doctorates, the question remains how can doctorates who barely were qualified at the onset teach the next generation of students in a field. If desperate universities populate their graduate programs with unqualified students, how can these same people after completing a doctorate rectify the writing and critical thinking problems undergraduates face.

Cassuto believes part of the solution involves accepting less doctoral students, but not so few that it again breeds elitism from the top universities and program as in the past. In his December 2012, Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “What If We Made Fewer Ph.D.’s?” he believes programs need to find the “right size” and altering their instruction for alternative jobs for doctorates outside academia.

Academia at any level is still a business, and they are operating as such ignoring the perpetual problem they are creating, so-called experts, where many had inferior marks, writing and analytical skills as they entered their programs. The myriad of problems graduate students face during their doctoral could be eliminated if lower-tier graduate program filled their classes not just with students who fulfilled the basic requirements, but by having the same standards as top-tier students. They need to be either be more selective or eliminate their programs if they can not fill them with qualified students, that it’s the only way to end the oversupply of mediocre doctorates. A graduate degree needs to go back to being awarded to the best and brightest because a degree at that level is not a right, but a privilege.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education April 2, 2018: Stanford remains most selective elite university for Class of 2022 with record-low 4.3 percent acceptance rate 

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EDUCATION

Stanford remains most selective elite university for Class of 2022 with record-low 4.3 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Stanford University remains the most coveted and selective school for the Class of 2022. Stanford is beating their own records, having both the lowest acceptance rate and the highest number of applications in the school’s history. On Friday, March 30, 2018, at 4 p.m. Stanford sent out acceptances to 1,290 students for their regular admission cycle. The university accepted a total of 2,040 students out of a record 47,450 applications, making the acceptance rate only 4.3 percent.

This year Stanford received 3000 more applications than they did for the Class of 2021. Previously, on Dec. 8, 2017, Stanford had sent out acceptance to 750 students as part of their restrictive early action program. Stanford’s was not only the lowest in the school’s history but also the lowest of all colleges and universities. Stanford easily beat rival Harvard, the Ivy League’s most selective school; this year Harvard’s acceptance rate was a record 4.59 percent.

Richard H. Shaw, dean of admission and financial aid remarked on the application pool this year. Shaw told the Stanford News “We continue to be awed and humbled by the interest Stanford receives from outstanding young people around the world. Indeed, the incredible strength of the students applying to Stanford is simply awesome, and all candidates who applied will have wonderful choices in higher education.”

This year’s acceptance rate was a third of percentage point less than last year’s rate. Last year, Stanford admitted only 2,050 students to the Class of 2021, 1,329 in the regular admission cycle and 721 during the restrictive early admission cycle. The university received a “record” 44,073 applications vying for a spot at Stanford. The acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was only 4.65 percent hailed also as “the lowest in Stanford’s history.”

The Class of 2022 is one of the university’s most diverse both geographically and socio-economically. Shaw commended the incoming class, saying “We are proud of the intellectual strength and incredible diversity represented by the Class of 2022. Overall, the admitted students reflect the broad diversity of our country and the world. These students already have had an incredible impact on their communities, and we know they will contribute to the world in immeasurable ways.”

Geographically, the incoming class has students coming from all 50 states and the territories. The class consists of 11.4 percent of international students coming from 63 countries. Socio-economically, the class attracted the largest number of first-generation college students of all the Ivy League and elite universities, with 18.3 percent. Where the school still needs to make strides is gender parity, although close, there are still men accepted than women, 50.8 to 49.2 percent.

Stanford, however, has one of the best financial aid programs of all the elite schools, attracting many deserving lower-income students. For students coming from families with an annual income of less than $125,000, tuition is covered through “need-based scholarships, federal and state grants and/or outside scholarship funds.” Parents still, however, have to pay room and board. Students coming from families, who only earn 65,000 a year have everything covered.

Stanford also released the majors most of the incoming freshmen are planning on taking. According to Stanford News, “65 percent expressing interest in Humanities and Sciences programs, 30 percent in Engineering, and 3.5 percent in Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences.” Students have until May 1, to notify the University of their decision.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 30, 2018: Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn’s acceptance rates for Class of 2022 most selective year on record 

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EDUCATION

Ivy League: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth and Penn’s acceptance rates for Class of 2022 most selective year on record

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

It is Ivy League decision day. Thursday afternoon, March 28, 2018, between 3 and 7 pm, the Ivy League universities sent out acceptances as thousands of anxious high school seniors found out if they would join the scholarly elite. Late Thursday afternoon Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, The University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University released their acceptance data for the Class of 2022 regular admission cycle. All the Ivy League continued the trend towards record low acceptance rates after receiving record high application numbers. Harvard was the most selective, while Cornell was the least. Students have until May 1, to notify the colleges of their decision.

The following is the Ivy League Class of 2022 acceptance data:

Brown University

Brown University sent out only 1,742 offers of admissions out a historic high of 35,438 applications to the Class of 2022.Their acceptance rate was 7.2 percent overall, while the regular admission cycles rate was only 5.5 percent. In December 2017, Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year.

For the Class of 2021, Brown had an 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

Columbia University

For the Class of 2022, Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s acceptance rate fell nearly a third of a percentage point from last year to 5.5 percent. The college admitted only 2,214 applicants. Like the rest of the Ivy League, Columbia received a record number of applications this year, 40,203 combined, early and regular admission cycles, 8 percent more than for the Class of 2021.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, instead of releasing their early decision data, Columbia University only released the number of applications they received this cycle. This year Columbia received 4,085 early decision applications to Columbia College and the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, just one less than for the Class of 2021.
For the Class of 2021, Columbia College had a lower acceptance rate, representing just 5.8 percent of their applicant pool. Columbia admitted just 2,185 from a record 37,389 applicants.
Cornell

For the Class of 2022, Cornell University admitted 5,288 students out of 51,328 applications; a new record high for the college. Additionally, Cornell waitlisted 6,684 students. The acceptance was also the college’s lowest at 10.3 percent, while it might be a new low for Cornell, but it is the highest in the Ivy League.

For the Class of 2021, Cornell University had one of the largest acceptance rates of all the Ivies with 12.5 percent. Cornell admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a waitlist. In December 2016, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College had a record year for the Class of 2022, they had the lowest acceptance rate, the highest number of applications in “five years” and accepted the least amount of students since the 1990s. Dartmouth accepted 1,925 students out of 22,033 applications making for an acceptance rate of only 8.7 percent.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, out of a record number of applications, 2,270 applications. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision, 558 have already enrolled.

Last year, Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent. In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

Harvard University

Harvard College will keep its crown as the most selective school in the Ivy League for the Class of 2022. The college beat its own record clocking in a 4.59 percent acceptance rate lower by nearly a half a percentage point from the Class of 2021’s 5.2 percent rate. As the Harvard Crimson noted, “This year marks the first time Harvard’s admission rate has ever dipped below 5 percent.”

Harvard admitted only 1,962 students out of their record 42,749 applications. For the Class of 2022, there was as the Harvard Gazette notes, an “increase of 8.2 percent from the 39,506 applicants for the Class of 2021.” Of those admitted 998 receiving regular cycle offers of admission, which was according to the Harvard Crimson “2.43 percent of the total 36,119 regular decision applicants, plus the 4,882 students deferred in the early action process.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 12, 2017, at 5 p.m., Harvard admitted just 964 students to early action out of 6,630 applicants, an admission rate of just 14.5 percent to their early admissions program.

In total for the Class of 2021, Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. In December 2016, Harvard admitted their lowest number of early applicants, accepting just 938 students out of 6,473 applications to their early admissions program for the Class of 2021.

Princeton University

For the Class of 2022, Princeton University has the second lowest acceptance of all the Ivies, only behind Harvard College. The rate of 5.5 percent is a record-low and more than half percentage point less than for the Class of 2021. Princeton admitted a total of 1,941 students, 1,142 just this regular admission cycle out of the record 35,370 applications, 14 percent higher than applied for the Class of 2021. Additionally, 1,125 students were waitlisted, normally the university accepts between 18 to 101 students from that list.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 high school seniors for the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was just 6.1 percent. The university admitted 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program.

University of Pennsylvania

For the Class of 2022, The University of Pennsylvania had a record 44,482 applicants but only accepted 3,371 students. The acceptance rate was 8.39 percent, a new low for the university.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 7 p.m., Penn sent out 1,312 early decision offers of admission for the Class of 2022. This year Penn received a record number of applications, 7,074 students applied, and 15 percent more to the early decision program for the Class of 2021. As result, the college has its record lowest early admission rate in history at just 18.5 percent down from last year’s 23.2 percent. Penn admits over half of the freshmen class through their early decision program.

Last year, Penn hailed their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history, accepting 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” In December 2016, Penn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 22 percent acceptance rate.

Yale University

For the Class of 2022, Yale College lowered their acceptance rate to 6.31 percent after increasing the rate and number of students for the Class of 2021. Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that it accepted 2,229 students from a “record” 35,306 applications they received this year, which was a 7.3 percent increase in applications. Additionally, 1,102 applicants were waitlisted, however, the college is uncertain whether any on the list will be offered admission.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022 of their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications.

Yale admitted 1,550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent. Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that opened this past fall.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Dartmouth has a record year, admits the lowest number to Class of 2022 with 8.7 percent acceptance rate

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EDUCATION

Dartmouth has a record year, admits the lowest number to Class of 2022 with 8.7 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Dartmouth College notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. This year was a record year for Dartmouth, they had the lowest acceptance rate, the highest number of applications in “five years” and accepted the least amount of students since the 1990s. Dartmouth accepted 1,925 students out of 22,033 applications making for an acceptance rate of only 8.7 percent.

Dartmouth College had a larger increase in applications than most of the Ivies, jumping 9.8 percent to 22,005 high school senior applying. Lee Coffin, vice provost for enrollment and dean of admissions and financial aid remarked, “The big increases in this year’s pools reflect the early success of our expanded recruitment and the new communications plan we have adopted. We have refocused our message to emphasize excellence in teaching and undergraduate access to outstanding teacher-scholars—and students are responding. While the quantity has risen, so has the quality of this year’s applicant pool.”

On Thursday, Dec. 14, Dartmouth College sent out binding early decision acceptance notifications to 565 high school seniors, the smallest number of students of all the Ivy League schools. The college received a record number of applications, 2,270 applications, the first time the school had over 2,000 applications for the early admissions cycle. The college also had their lowest acceptance rate since the 2010 cycle with 24.9 percent; still, that percentage was the largest of all the Ivies. Dartmouth has filled up 47 percent of the Class of 2022 with those accepted for early decision, 558 have already enrolled.

Last year, Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021 out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth called last year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.” In December 2016 as part of the early decision program for the Class of 2021, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

Dartmouth also decided to release the academic profile of the accepted students, not just demographics. Of those accepted “97 percent are in the top 10 percent of their high school class,” last year it 96 percent. While the “Mean SAT and ACT scores are 1497 for SATs — a record high — and 33 for ACTs.”

The class is diverse both socio-economically and geographically. The accepted students include an increase in first-generation college students up to 15 percent. Students of color represent half the class, and a majority, 59 percent will graduate from a public high school or charter school.

As with other Ivies, Dartmouth succeeded in attracting lower-income students with their financial aid packages. A majority of the students, 60 percent will apply to financial aid. As the Dartmouth reports, “The College expects to offer around $28 million in need-based scholarships after financial aid awards are finalized.”

Geographically, the students come from all 50 states and the territories. The most predominant states are “California, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Texas. There is a significant international contingent with 11 percent of the students coming from 65 countries. The majority come from “Brazil, Canada, China, India and the United Kingdom.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Cornell has record-low acceptance rate of 10.3 percent for the Class of 2022

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EDUCATION

Cornell has record-low acceptance rate of 10.3 percent for the Class of 2022

Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Source: Cornell Admissions Twitter)

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Cornell University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. This year Cornell admitted 5,288 students out of 51,328 applications; a new record high for the college. Additionally, Cornell waitlisted 6,684 students. The acceptance was also the college’s lowest at 10.3 percent, while it might be a new low for Cornell, but it is one of the highest in the Ivy League.

For the Class of 2021, Cornell University had one of the largest acceptance rates of all the Ivies with 12.5 percent. Cornell admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a waitlist. For the Class of 2020, Cornell had a 13.96% acceptance rate with 6,277 students accepted out of 44,966 applicants. In December 2016, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

Jason C. Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment commended the incoming freshman. Locke told the Cornell Sun, “The exceptionally large applicant pool this year produced a most remarkable class. No doubt Ezra would be proud of the Class of 2022!” While Barbara Knuth, senior vice provost commented, “We have admitted a highly talented and accomplished Class of 2022 who will flourish as Cornellians. We look forward to welcoming them into our campus community.”

Cornell is hailing the incoming class as the “most diverse class in university history.” Students that identify as “underrepresented minorities” constitute 33 percent of the class, a number that has been rising for the last four years. With students of color and Asian-American students, the number jumps to a majority of 54 percent. As with most other of the Ivies, there is a large number of first-generation college students, this year’s class welcomes 700 more to Cornell. Additionally, 60 students will commence their studies in the Spring 2019 semester as part of the colleges First-Year Spring Admission program.

“Geographically,” the class is equally diverse, with students accepted from all 50 states and the territories. Internationally, students are coming from 93 countries and represent 9 percent of the class. The most predominant countries include, “Canada, China, India, South Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Brown admits record-low for the Class of 2022, 7.2 percent acceptance rate

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Brown admits record-low for the Class of 2022, 7.2 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Brown University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. Brown sent out only 1,742 offers of admissions out a historic high of 35,438 applications to the Class of 2022.Their acceptance rate was 7.2 percent overall, while the regular admission cycles rate was only 5.5 percent.

Brown also saw record number of applications for the Class of 2022, they received 35,368 applications, up 8 percent from the previous year, and the highest increase in the last five years. Dean of Admission Logan Powell lauded the applicants in a statement to the Brown Daily Herald. Powell called those vying to be apart of the Class of 2022 “ as strong as any pool in our history.” Powell commended the students, saying, “We continue to be humbled by the incredible talent and diversity of perspective represented in the applicant pool.”

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Brown University admitted 738 students as part of their binding early decision program to the Class of 2022. This year the Ivy League school saw their largest number of applications for the early admission cycle, with 3502 high school seniors applying, 10 percent more than last year. Although Brown has, a higher acceptance rate than the Ivy League schools, it was a low for them, and Brown’s acceptance rate was only 21 percent for the Class of 2022.

Brown set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. Last year, Brown had a “record-low” 8.3 acceptance rate, admitting 2,027 applicants for their new freshmen class with just a 6.5 acceptance rate for regular decision. Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. In December 2016 as part of early decision admission for the Class of 2021, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

Dean Powell praised the incoming class’ qualifications. Powell told the Brown Daily Herald, “There were just so many incredibly qualified students in the applicant pool. We could probably admit three classes of students who are enormously academically qualified from the group of applicants we had.” Powell attributes the high number of applications and the lower acceptance rate to “the Brown Promise initiative, the addition of another A Day on College Hill program and the doubling of travel grants.”

For the Class of 2022, Brown revamped their financial aid now calling it the Brown Promise Initiative. As of the next academic year, students will no longer have loans, but grants for financial aid, making Brown more affordable. In the past two years, 65 percent of the Classes of 2021 and 2022 have or intend to apply for aid.

The incoming class will also be the most diverse socio-economically and geographically. Nearly half 49 percent “identify as students of color,” last year only 47 identified. Unlike the rest of the Ivies there will actually be less first generation college students than the previous year, with 13 percent of the class.

Geographically, the admitted students come from only 48 states, predominantly “California, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Texas.” There is an increase in international students up to 11 percent, coming fro 76 countries, with the most coming from “China, India, the United Kingdom, Canada and Singapore.” Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Princeton accepts record-low for the Class of 2022, 5.5 percent acceptance rate

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EDUCATION

Princeton accepts record-low for the Class of 2022, 5.5 percent acceptance rate

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Princeton University notified the Class of 2022 of their admission decisions. Princeton has the second lowest acceptance of the Ivies, only behind Harvard College. The rate of 5.5 percent is a record-low and more than half percentage point less than for the Class of 2021.

Princeton admitted a total of 1,941 students, 1,142 just this regular admission cycle out of the a record 35,370 applications, 14 percent higher than applied for the Class of 2021. Additionally, 1,125 students were wait listed, normally the university accepts between 18 to 101 students from that list.

Of all the Ivies, Princeton saw the greatest increase in applications and the only one above 10 percent. There were 35,386 high school seniors vying a place in Princeton’s Class of 2022, an increase of 14 percent than from the previous year. To demonstrate just how many more applications Princeton received this cycle the Daily Princetonian noted that in 2008, when students applied for the Class of 2012 there were only 13,695 applications, making a 158 percent increase in applications in the past 10 years.

On Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017, at 3 pm, Princeton University sent out early action admission offers to 799 lucky school seniors to the Class of 2022. Princeton had a record number of applications this early action cycle with 5,402 applications with 8 percent more than last year and 57 percent more applications than six years ago in 2011. Because of the number of applicants, Princeton’s acceptance rate was a record low with only 14.7 percent of student accepted down from last year’s 15.4 percent.

Princeton’s acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was at that point “the lowest in school history.” The University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. In December 2016, Princeton accepted 770 applicants out of 5,003 applications for an acceptance rate of 15.4 percent as part of the “single-choice early action” program.

Princeton first offered early action admission seven years ago. Students can only apply to Princeton in the early admission cycle, but they can notify the college of their decision by May 1. As Princeton points out the landscape now is radically different from 2011 when the college accepted 21.1 percent of early action applicants.

Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye commended the incoming class and all the applicants. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “The Admissions Committee was extremely impressed with the academic quality of all the candidates [for admission], especially those who were admitted.”

Princeton was the only Ivy to indicate the academic profile of the students that applied. As the Princetonian explained, “The applicant pool included 14,273 students had high school GPAs of 4.0, and 17,692 — 50 percent of the total applicant pool — had combined SAT scores of 1400 or higher out of a possible 1600.” Most of the applicants took either the ACT or new SAT, including the writing component, which is still required for applying.

The class is diverse both geographically and socio-economically. Those accepted, however, come from only 48 states, but also the territories, the majority of those accepted come from “New Jersey, California and New York.” The number of international students also increased, with 77 countries represented.

Princeton, like the Ivy League schools, are increasing their financial aid initiatives to appeal to low-income students. Rapelye contributes it to the reason behind the large recording breaking number of applications. Rapelye told the Daily Princetonian, “[That growth] exceeded our expectations. Our outreach to low income backgrounds, students who may be working with community-based organizations, and to schools we haven’t had applicants from before may have contributed. Our financial aid process is generous, and, we believe, second to none.”

There were more first generation college students, representing 17 percent of the incoming class, and 64.5 percent came from public schools. Additionally, Princeton accepted 11.2 percent of students who are “legacy” the children of Princeton graduates, and recruited athletes compromise 11.6 percent of those accepted. Princeton hopes to enroll 1,296 freshmen in the fall semester. Students have until May 1, to accept the offers of admission.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Education March 29, 2018: Yale admits fewer students to the Class of 2022, lowers acceptance rate to 6.31 percent 

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EDUCATION

Yale admits fewer students to the Class of 2022, lowers acceptance rate to 6.31 percent

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

It’s Ivy League decision day, on Wednesday evening, March 28, 2018, at 7 p.m. Yale College notified the Class of 2022 of the admission decisions. After last year when Yale became the only Ivy to increase their acceptance rate, now Yale is reversing the trend and their rate was lowered to 6.31 percent. Yale’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions announced that it accepted 2,229 students from a “record” 35,306 applications they received this year. Additionally, 1,102 applicants were wait listed, however, the college is uncertain whether any on the list will be offered admission.

For the Class of 2022, Yale saw the largest increase in applications for their college in the last five years, with 35,305 applications and rising 7.3 percent since the Class of 2021. As the Yale Daily News explains, “Last year, the number of applications rose around 5 percent from 31,439 for the Class of 2020 to 32,891 for the Class of 2021. Before that, the number of applications rose by 4 percent, from 30,227 for the Class of 2019.” In the five years applications have increased by 19 percent.

On Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale notified the Class of 2022 of their decisions on their early action admissions. This year Yale admitted only 842 students, the least out of all the Ivies, out of a record number 5,733 applications.

Yale admitted 1,550 students to the Class of 2021 regular cycle. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. Yale admitted fewer students than last year’s early admission. In December 2016, as part of early admission, Yale accepted 871 applicants out of 5,086 applications for an acceptance rate of 17.1 percent.

Additionally, 1,181 students were placed on the waitlist. In previous years, Yale used to receive only about 4,700 applications each early admission cycle. Of all the Ivies, only Yale University increased the number of students they accepted for the Class of 2021, because of the two new residential colleges that opened this fall.

Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Financial Aid Jeremiah Quinlan commented on the quality and diversity of the incoming class. Quinlan told the Yale Daily News, “All of our admissions officers continue to be impressed with and humbled by the number of highly qualified applicants in our pool. We’re thrilled that the expansion of Yale College has allowed us to offer admission to such a large number of students from such a variety of backgrounds.”

This past fall the college opened to new residential colleges, Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin and plan to accept more students each year as a result. Yale hopes to have 800 more students attending by the time the Class of 2024 is admitted. The college’s expansion goes against the trend of the other Ivies, who are accepting less students and having lowering acceptance rates. Yale plans on having 1,550 freshman enroll in the fall.

Yale is also touting the incoming class as more diverse, with more minorities and lower-income students accepted. Geographically, it also as diverse with students coming from all 50 states and the territories and internationally from 64 countries.

Scott Wallace-Juedes, director of undergraduate financial aid told the Daily News, “Last year Yale was able to offer need-based financial aid awards to more incoming first years than ever before with the expansion of Yale College. My colleagues and I look forward to working with the admitted students to the class of 2022 to ensure that cost of attendance is not a barrier for any admitted student when considering Yale.” Students have until May 1, to notify the college of their decision.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.