Politics April 27, 2017: Trump sees lowest 100-day marks in recent history, but is the milestone that important?

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POLITICS

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump is planning a big rally to celebrate his first 100-days in office, as polls indicate that the new president has the worst 100-day mark approval rating in recent history. President Trump announced on Saturday, April 22, 2017, via Twitter a “big rally” in Pennsylvania on April 29, the same day as his presidency becomes 100- days old. Meanwhile, Three polls released this week, two on Sunday, April 23, ABC News/Washington Postand NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicated Trump had a 42 and 41 percent approval rating. Days later, on Wednesday, April 26, CNN/ORC pollgave Trump a higher approval rating of 44 percent. Still, these polls show that Trump has the lowest approval rating of all elected post-World War II presidents at the 100-day mark, but does that benchmark really translate into presidential success.

The rally on Trump’s 100th day of his presidency will be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and is sponsored by his reelection campaign. The rally will also be on the same night as the annual White House correspondents’ dinner, which Trump has long said he will not attend because of his feud with the mainstream media over their coverage of him from the campaign through his presidency. On Saturday, April 22, the president tweeted his followers, announcing the event, “Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it.”

Neither Trump nor is campaign is billing the event as honoring the president’s 100-days. As Trump is approaching his 100-day mark, he is downing playing the importance of the milestone. The previous day, on April 21, Trump called the 100-days a “ridiculous standard.” The President tweeted, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!” A White House official commented the milestone is about the voters, not the news media. The official explained, “The media is trying to make this about them when — respectively it has nothing to do with you guys. It’s about focusing on the people.”

Three polls released this past week, gave the public a chance to grade the president. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday, April 23, saw Trump with only a 42 percent approval rating, with 53 percent of American disapproving of his job so far. People who voted for Trump, however, are not feeling buyer’s remorse, 96 percent say it was “the right thing to do,” while only two percent have any regrets.

Trump’s numbers are better when it comes to how Americans view specific actions in his presidency. An overwhelming 73 percent of Americans seem to approve of Trump’s America first policy that has “pressured companies: into keeping jobs in the country. A majority of 53 percent sees Trump as a strong leader. Concerning foreign policy, Trump is getting middling grades with dealing with an aggressive North Korea, with 46 percent approving of his tactics. Despite some good numbers, no other president elected in the post-World War II has had such low approval rating at this point in their presidency.

Another poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday also does not give Trump good grades. The poll found that 46 percent of Americans say the Trump presidency is “off to a poor start,” only 35 percent say it has had a “good or great start,” while 19 percent are in between saying it is a “fair start.” The NBC/WSJ poll also gave Trump a worse approval rating than the ABC News / Washington Post poll with only 40 percent. Trump’s disapproval rating is almost the same at 54 percent. Trump does get some high marks for his foreign policy, 62 percent of Americans approve of his decisive military strikes against Syria after a chemical attack on their citizens, with 50 percent approving of his course against civil-war ridden country.

The CNN/ORC poll released another poll on Wednesday evening, April 26, which found that nearly the 100-day mark, Trump had a 44 percent approval rating and a 54 percent disapproval rating. Trump’s favorability numbers are around the same as his approval rating, with the American public having a 45 percent favorable view of the president and a 53 percent unfavorable view. The numbers are very much partisan, Republicans overwhelmingly approve of the president with 85 percent saying so, while only 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

The poll was mostly negative, with a majority dissatisfied with Trump’s approach to the presidency in almost every facet. His approval ratings on some issues are as low as the 20s and 30s percent, and they have fallen since his election in November. Even his ability to change the country is now negative with only 48 percent believing he can versus 51 percent of Americans saying he cannot. The president, however, is even losing ground within his party with less satisfied with his actions and abilities on different fronts. CNN’s bleak poll indicates the honeymoon is over with Trump and the GOP and that there barely was one with the president and the majority of Americans.

CNN broke down their marks for Trump also by area; some Trump did better while others he lost ground since entering the office. The president has lost points in his handling of immigration and health care, because of his travel bans and his failed first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. On those issues, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s actions. Trump’s numbers are “steady” when it comes to “foreign affairs, national security and the role of commander-in-chief.” Trump is excelling with his handling of the military issues 52 percent approving, the way the country is going 54 percent and the economy at 54 percent approving.

Gallup Poll’s first quarter assessment of Trump’s presidency determined that the president’s average approval is 41 percent, while 46 percent of Americans voted for him. Trump’s approval rating is also approximately 20 percent lower than when other presidents completed their first 100-days, where the average since 1945 is 63 percent. Looking at each post-war president, the numbers show an even larger contrast. The highest showing was John F. Kennedy, who had almost double Trump’s approval rating with 81 percent in April 1961. The lowest numbers were still 17 points higher than Trump, when in April 1989; George H. W. Bush had a 58 percent approval rating.

According to Gallup, here is a rundown of the 100-day approval ratings of all elected presidents since World War II:

Barack Obama 63 Apr 2009
George W. Bush 61 Apr 2001
Bill Clinton 55 Apr 1993
George H.W. Bush 58 Apr 1989
Ronald Reagan 67 Apr 1981
Jimmy Carter 64 Apr 1977
Richard Nixon 62 Apr 1969
John Kennedy 81 Apr 1961
Dwight Eisenhower 74 Apr 1953

President Trump thinks his presidency is successful despite what polls and the press says. Trump has signed up to now 34 executive orders, more than any other president in recent history during their first 100-days. The president has had a Supreme Court Justice confirmed with Neil Gorsuch; on the world stage, he has met with many of the major leaders and asserted his military might in Syria and Afghanistan. Still, the president has not yet had any real legislative success with his major campaign promises, including repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, travel and immigration ban, infrastructure plan or border wall with Mexico.

The White House boasts President Trump signed 28 new laws in first three months but most have minor, including repealing Obama-era rules, personal appointments, veterans’ recognitions, modifying programs, encouraging innovations in government agencies and one extension of an Obama era program. President Trump only saw one major bill extending health care choice for veterans, the tip of the iceberg to Trump’s lofty agenda.

Despite his protests, President Trump is planning a mad dash in the upcoming week before he reaches his 100th day. Congress failed to put the American Health Care Act to a vote in March, and but they plan to introduce the bill with amendments again this week this time with the Freedom Caucus’ endorsement. Trump also outlined his tax reform plan this week, and the White House announced that the president’s infrastructure plan has a summer deadline.

Trump’s major failure has been with his travel ban, which the administration will argue for the second time in Federal Appeals Court after an earlier ban and the present one saw injunctions halting their implementation. The president was also dealt a setback right before his 100-day when a federal judge struck down his attempt to defund sanctuary cities harboring illegal immigrants. The president’s greatest test has an April 29 deadline. President Trump will have a chance to prove his deal making skills and avert a government shutdown, the first budget showdown of his presidency.

The 100-day mark to gauge the early success or failures of the new president started with President Franklin Roosevelt (1933–1945). Roosevelt was elected in the midst of the Great Depression, with almost total economic and bank collapse and15 million or 20 percent of the American public unemployed. In this crisis, Roosevelt set the benchmark having signed 15 bills into law. Roosevelt marked his 100th day with a fireside chat, updating the American public recounted what he has accomplished in 3000 words. In his address Roosevelt explained, “I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal…We have built a granite foundation in a period of confusion.”

Early success does not mean a successful presidency and neither does early failure doom the presidency. Everywhere you look, journalists and academics are giving Trump grades for this milestone period, and many are unkind as has been the case with coverage and analysis of Trump’s campaign, transition and now presidency.

Some historians do not see the 100-day mark as important. Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University recently told the Atlantic that grading a president at this early stage could be counterproductive. Zelizer analyzed, “Asking how presidents did in the first 100 days, usually tells us little about what is to come and might even create the exact political incentives we need to avoid.”

Meanwhile, Morton Keller, a professor emeritus of history at Brandeis University, who wrote the article with Zelizer, concurs, and does not believe historians should rush to early judgments on a Trump presidency. Keller explained, “This is no time to attempt a conclusive assessment of what the Trump presidency is up to, and where it is heading. The media savants who explain politics to the masses appear to be quite certain of their positions, varied though they are. As historians, we are duty-bound to withhold judgment when the available evidence is as varied and conflicting as, just now, it is.”

Another historian that agrees the milestone is not indicative is Fredrik Logevall, “a presidential historian and an international affairs professor at Harvard University” Logevall spoke to the Washington Post telling them, “I think what history tells us is that it’s an arbitrary benchmark. It hasn’t correlated very much with subsequent success or failure. Whether an administration has success or not really depends on the four years, or eight years if you have two terms.”

Other historians are being harsher in their assessments. Presidential historian Robert Dallek told USA Today, “At this point, I’d give him essentially a failing grade.” Dallek pointed out, “There are no legislative accomplishments, zero,” the plan to repeal and replace the Obamacare “seems to be in suspended animation.” Dallek is probably making an extreme assessment than most. Even the mainstream media Trump calls fake news are running articles that share the view that 100-day s do not indicate the successes or failures of an entire presidency neither do they foreshadow what is to come.

While Roosevelt’s legislative accomplishments were unique, other presidents have passed lasting legislation in their first 100 days. Lyndon Johnson (1963–1969), Barack Obama (2009–2017), and George W. Bush (2001–2009). John son and Obama had the best legislative success, because their party, the Democrats concurrently controlled both Houses of Congress, and were popular with their party. Circumstances surrounding their entry to the presidency also made passing their agenda more urgent.

Johnson, who had been Senate Majority Leader when Kennedy tapped him for Vice President, was known as the Master of Senate. Johnson was the first of the two post-war presidents who were not elected; he came into power after Kennedy’s assassination. In his first 100-days, Johnson was able to ride the wave of pursuing Kennedy’s agenda and had legislative victories with most notably the Civil Rights Act. In his first 100 days after he was elected with a landslide victory in 1964, that saw Democratic control of Congress, Johnson continued to have legislative success with the bulk of his Great Society program, including, “the Voting Rights Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, immigration reform, and Medicare and Medicaid.” After the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Johnson became mired in Vietnam, which ended his legislative strike and any more expansion of his Great Society.

Obama was also able to catch the legislative magic in his first 100-days after his historic election becoming the first African-American president. After the 2008 election, Congress remained controlled by the Democrats, leading to a string of victories for the new president, including, “the Recovery Act, U.S. auto industry bailout, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, and then a year later in 2010, his legacy making legislation the Affordable Care Act. Obama never had more legislative success after Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2010-midterm elections. Obama like Roosevelt inherited a country in economic turmoil, this time a Great Recession where Democrats gave him a blank check to pursue his agenda.

When the same party controls the White House, Congress a president can more easily pursue his legislative agenda, that was not the case with Carter, and neither is turning out to be with Trump. The reason, both were outsiders elected against the Washington establishment and then found resistance from within their party in Congress. In 1976, Carter was an outsider with an ambitious agenda that failed in his first 100-days, planned legislation included “tax reform, infrastructure, and energy independence.” Carter did not have the relationship with Congress, the Washington insiders he needed to make his campaign promises a reality. Trump is facing the same problem with the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; he is facing resistance from not only Democrats but also different factions of the GOP, including the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.

Both Clinton and George W. Bush had successes and failures early in their presidencies. In 1993, Clinton raised taxes with the help of a Democratic-controlled Congress but faced a backlash for his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military. In 2001, Bush cut taxes as Reagan did 20 years before and laid out the groundwork for his education legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush, however, was later blamed for the 9/11 terrorist attacks for not heeding the signs of a major terrorist attack on the nation. In 1981, Reagan successfully cut taxes, but his 100-days were rocked with an attempted assassination attempt two months after taking office, earning him goodwill with Congress, but cutting his accomplishments in that milestone period.

Foreign policy has been the cause of two post-war presidents stumbling in their first 100-days. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush faced tests too early in their presidencies that were failures. In 1961, Kennedy continued with his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower’s planned coup in Communist Cuba to get rid of its leader Fidel Castro. Kennedy’s Administration altered the original invasion plan and the “Bay of Pigs” became Kennedy’s biggest blunder of his new presidency coming just days before his 100th day. In 1989, Bush also was confronted with Cold War crises and his administration blundered. Bush had to deal with the Tiananmen Square massacre and then later in the year after a failed coup as Kennedy did, but this time, it was in Panama.

In 1993, Clinton probably faced the greatest national security threat in his first 100 days than any other post-World War II president. Just barely a month after Clinton assumed the presidency; terrorists bombed the garage in the World Trade Center in New York. The attack that killed six and injured 1000 saw the perpetrators face the criminal justice system. Clinton never wanted to acknowledge the attack as terrorism, which allowed al-Qaeda to ramp up their attacks on the US. Afterward, there were bombings in 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and then in 2000 on the USS Cole. Clinton responded with targeted missile attacks but never did more to solve the increasing problem and danger. Clinton’s actions after the attack might not have seemed like a failure at the time, but in retrospect, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Clinton’s inaction was the greatest 100-days failure because it led to the greatest terrorist attack on American soil.

In the post-World War period, only Ford fared worse in the polls than Trump at the 100-day mark, mostly because he pardoned Nixon after he resigned from the presidency in August 1974, which led to Ford assuming the office. While the other presidents’ had higher approval ratings than Trump does at the 100-day mark, most had some failures or setbacks in that early period and their major legislative successes and the policy that defined their presidencies came later, for other they never could recapture that early success. Periods of crises have led to the most productive first 100-days out of necessity, like Roosevelt, Johnson, and Obama.

The problem is the benchmark Roosevelt created has pressured many of his successors, including Johnson, Nixon and even Trump. Despite his successes, Johnson wanted to pass the most legislation as possible; Nixon created the Hundred Days Group and during the campaign, Trump made his “Contract With the American Voter” in a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The contract was “a 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”

Trump promised in his contract, “On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you.” Among those pledges were 10 bills including repealing and replacing Obamacare on his first day in office. The president’s goals were too lofty. Kennedy, although the youngest elected in the post-war period, he was also the wisest when it came to the presidential milestone. In his inaugural address, he expressed, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration … but let us begin.”

The 100-day mark is too early in a presidency to determine success or failure. Neither is looking at Roosevelt’s accomplishments a fair standard. Each presidency and their time are different. Trump was the only president in history to be elected without a political or military background. The first weeks were chaos not only from within the White House but the negative response from the press and public that made governing difficult. Now, cooler heads are prevailing and despite some negativity and bias, Trump is being treated, as a president should from the press, Democrats, and dissenters within the Republican Party. With that in mind, Trump’s next 100-days could be more worthy of watching and marking than his first.

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.

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Judaism April 16, 2017: Valmadonna Trust Library finds permanent home at National Library of Israel

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Valmadonna Trust Library finds permanent home at National Library of Israel

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

After nearly eight years of uncertainty, the Valmadonna Trust Library has found a permanent home. The National Library of Israel announced in a press release on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, that they purchased from Sotheby’s Auction House 8,000 rare books and manuscripts that were a part of the Valmadonna Trust Library; the largest private collection of rare Jewish books. The National Library bought the collection with the help of two private collectors, couple Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn. Neither the Library or Sotheby’s disclosed the purchase price, but the sale ensures a majority of these rare invaluable books to Jewish history will permanently be available to scholars. The collection was considered “the most important private library of Hebrew books and manuscripts in the world.”

The National Library of Israel announced the acquisition in a press release. The director of the National Library of Israel, Oren Weinberg made the announcement. Weinberg expressed, “The acquisition of the Valmadonna and its arrival in Jerusalem present a tremendous opportunity for the National Library of Israel to further realize the vision of its renewal, as we will open access to these exquisite cultural treasures for researchers and the general public in Israel and across the globe.”

David Jeselsohn, the private collector, who jointly purchased the collection, also issued a statement. Jeselsohn wrote, “This joint acquisition was done primarily to ensure that the outstanding collection of Hebrew books will find a home in the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, and be made available and accessible to anyone interested in the treasures.”

Unfortunately, The National Library did not purchase the entire 13,000-book and 300-document collection; they only received approximately 10,000 of the books and manuscripts. In 2015, Sotheby’s auctioned off nine items in a highly-publicized auction. Additionally, according to the Israeli paper Haaretz, the deal with the private collector gives the National Library only 80 percent of the Valmadonna Library, while the Jeselsohns’ will receive the remaining 20 percent of the collection.

The collector and custodian, Jack Lunzer had always hoped the collection would be sold as a unit, but the price was too high and twice before the collection was divided it could not garner a sale at auction. Lunzer told the New York Times, “These are my friends. I’ll be happy if they are well-kept and respected. Every one of these books is crying its own tears.”

Among the nine items sold in the December 2015 auction include the cornerstone of the collection, the early 16th century Complete Babylonian Talmud printed by Daniel Bomberg in Venice that brought in just over $9 million alone and purchased by Leon Black, “the founder of Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm.” Additionally, the second most prized book of the collection was sold, the Hebrew Bible from England the Pentateuch with Haftarot and the Five Scrolls, a manuscript from 1189 was sold for $3.6 million.

The Bomberg Talmud is from 1519 to 1539 and one of 14 sets surviving, and Daniel Bomberg, a Christian from Venice printed the first complete sets of Babylonian Talmuds. The Bomberg Talmud “is considered to be one of the most important documents in the history of Hebrew printing.” Stern commented that the Talmud “changed and revolutionized the way Jews studied this book.” The Talmud was the treasure of Lunzer’s collection; it took him 25 years to convince Westminster Abbey in London, who owned it for centuries to sell it.

Lunzer first discovered the set in 1956 during an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert museum celebrating the 300th anniversary of Jews returning to Britain however, Westminster was unwilling to sell the Talmud set. The British government, however, was trying to block the sale by a New York auction house of the Abbey’s 900-year-old charter dated December 28, 1065. Lunzer was able to purchase the copy of the charter, and he offered it up as a trade to which Westminster Abbey agreed. Lunzer finally acquired the Talmud set in 1980, and there had been a ceremony celebrating the occasion in the Abbey’s Jerusalem Chamber. The Talmud is valued at $5.7 million, but it was sold for $9.3 million, Sotheby’s said it was “a new world auction record for any piece of Judaica.”

The second most valuable item in the collection and was sold in the Dec. 22 auction was the Hebrew Bible from England, the Pentateuch with Haftarot and the Five Scrolls, called by Lunzer Codex Valmadonna I. The handwritten text was created in 1189 in York, a year before the destruction of the Jewish community there were most of their books were looted and sold to Jews abroad. After the coronation of Richard I in September 1189, first Christians began rioting against the Jewish community in London and then spreading all throughout the country, York being the “culmination.” The Pentateuch is the only known surviving Hebrew text from the time before King Edward I expelled the Jewish community from the country in 1290. The text was dated 15 Tammuz 4949, 2 July 1189. The Bible was estimated to sell for between $2 and $4 million and did not disappoint selling at a just over $3.6 million.

Still, the Library acquired many important and rare books from the collection. According to the National Library, part of their collection will be “an incunabula of the Pentateuch, printed in Lisbon in 1491; one of only two surviving copies of a Passover Haggadah printed in Prague in 1556; An Ashkenaz Siddur printed in Venice on parchment in 1549; The Plantin Polyglot or “King’s Bible,” printed in Antwerp between 1568 and 1573; and more than 550 broadsheets dating from the 16th to the 20th centuries.”

The collector Jack Lunzer was a British industrial diamond merchant. Lunzer was born in 1924 in Antwerp, Belgium, but he grew up in London, England. Lunzer had been suffering dementia for years, and he died in December 2016 at 92. Lunzer amassed the single largest library of Hebrew manuscripts during the last seven decades; no other collection at any institution rivals it. Lunzer was not the originator of the library, his wife Ruth Zippel’s family was, and they acquired almost all the Hebrew books printed in 16th century Italy in the early 20th century. Lunzer and his wife took the collection hidden in a Milan basement during World War II to London in 1948 after they married.

The trust incorporated in Liechtenstein technically owns and controls the collection. Since Lunzer started suffering dementia, the trustees have control of the collection. His eldest daughter, Margaret Rothem and his other four grown daughters are the beneficiaries, but they did not have an official say as to the library’s fate.

At the end of World War II, when Lunzer started to build and expand the library, there were only a few hundred books. At the time, Lunzer collected the books, mostly in the 1960s and 70s, they were quite cheap, he amassed them through auctions, book sales, and many came from purchasing the collection of his former liturgy teacher, Solomon Sassoon. The library is named after a small Italian town with a connection to the Zippel family. Italy is considered “the cradle of Hebrew printing.” Lunzer took 50 years to create his collection that he kept in his London home and organized by region published, before their 2009 move to Sotheby’s.

The collection originally compromised 13,000 books and manuscripts all in Hebrew, and it represents millennia of the history of Hebrew manuscripts. Among the types of manuscripts and books in the library are “Mishnaot, Siddurim, Haggadot, Alef-bet tables, and ephemera,” some of which are printed on rare “blue paper, vellum, and silk.” There are 1,500 different Haggadot alone in the collection. Well used the books and manuscripts were hardly in mint condition when purchased. Lunzer wanted to make his books as perfect, and he purchased multiple copies as possible and rebound them. Sotheby’s described the library as “boasting rarities dating from the 10th century to the early 20th century from Italy, Holland, England, Greece, Eastern Europe, the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, India, and China, documenting the spread of the Hebrew press and the dissemination of Jewish culture around the globe.”

The majority of the books come from Italy, Spain, Turkey, Portugal, and Amsterdam, medieval Jewish centers, where scholarship flowed. Most of the manuscripts were created on vellum or silk paper, the illuminated ones are decorated with gold leaf, have painted scenes or “intricate borders and illustrations.” The earliest codex in the entire collection is a Franco-German copy of the Pentateuch written in an Ashkenazic script during the tenth or eleventh century,” which also happens to be “one of the earliest texts of the Five Books of Moses written anywhere in Europe.” Rothem describes the library as her father’s “life’s work.” Since his wife died in 1978, it preoccupied him for than anything else, and he often studied their meanings.

The books reveal more than just a history of Hebrew manuscript, but also delineate Jewish history for the last thousand years. The gaps in time and geographical areas show as the New York Times pointed out “implicitly mark periods of decline,” where Jewish communities were “exterminated” or their books burned. Lunzer specifically looked to recount Sephardic Jewish history, the expulsion from Spain to Italy and then the Ottoman Empire and Amsterdam. Christopher de Hamel, the former head of Sotheby’s Western Manuscripts division, commented to Tablet in 2009, “You suddenly begin to glimpse what it means to gather the written Jewish heritage.”

The library possessed “nearly half” of the 140 incunable books from early 15th-century printing and two-third of Hebrew books printed in the latter half of the 16th century. Sotheby’s describes, “The term “incunable” comes from the Latin for swaddling clothes or cradle and is applied to books produced during the “infancy” of Western typographic printing.” Although printing began in 15th century Germany, Germans would not allow Jews in the guilds and work the printing presses, and therefore only when printing came to Italy and Rome did Jews began printing Hebrew books using even the “same print shops” as their Christian counterparts.

The early Hebrew printing shops were located in Italy, and the Iberian Peninsula, before the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492. The early books included primarily religious texts; Bibles, and legal texts and Biblical exegesis, but some secular texts as well. The Valmadonna Library includes the last printed Hebrew Bible in Spain before the expulsion. The library is not just compromised of religious Hebrew texts, but also “Latin books by Jewish authors and Christian texts of Jewish interest.” The majority of Jewish texts, however, were religious, and read and studied often, Jewish texts had an additional problem Christians censored or burned their books, making the sheer number the Valmadonna Library has from that era that more incredible.

The library has been at Sotheby’s since 2009 when Lunzer first tried to sell it as a whole. It was exhibited there and available to scholars organized by country of origin as it had been in Lunzer’s home. At the 2009 exhibit, 4,000 people visited it each day of a 10-day exhibit in February. Sotheby’s tried to auction the entire collection twice before resorting to breaking up the collection and auctioning off the most prized items in December 2015. In 2009, Sotheby’s tried to sell the collection with an asking price of $40 million and again in 2011 for a price of $25 million.

There were two caveats for its sale at the time, the collection could not be broken up, and it had to be accessible to scholars. Lunzer said at the time, “I would like our library to be acquired by the Library of Congress. That would be my great joy.” Lunzer also had expressed, “It would be the crown of the Library of Congress to have these things, and for the Jewish community in America. The world would gasp.”

The collection has always been too expensive and expansive for any person or institution to purchase in its entirety. Sotheby’s came close once to selling the whole collection twice. In 2010, there was an anonymous bidder “who met or exceeded the base asking price of $25 million,” but the sale fell through because they would not abide by the two stipulations. Many institutions have tried over the years to purchase the library. The Library of Congress wanted to purchase the collection back in 2002 offering $20 million just as Lunzer had hoped for the 350th anniversary of Jews arriving in America. Accounts varied about the sale’s collapse, from financial backers withdrawing funds to the trust asking more money.

Individual collectors might have the money, but do not have the space to house such a large library in its entirety. The senior Judaica consultant at Sotheby’s Sharon Liberman Mintz told the Forward the size “has made it difficult for any one person to absorb. And for the institutions, it was a big sum of money.” Sotheby’s and the trustees decided the only way to sell the library was by breaking it up. Redden said, “I think people respect the fact that we tried to sell the collection as a unit.”

Scholars have been worried about the Valmadonna Library since it was transferred to Sotheby’s in 2009. The new sale does nothing to elevate scholars’ concerns, since key items from the collection have been already sold, and it is still broken up in the deal. When Sotheby’s auctioned off some the most important books in the collection, academics were concerned about it being sold separately and saw it as a loss for further research.

Brad Sabin Hill, the curator of the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection at George Washington University, spoke to the Forward in December 2015. Sabin Hill lamented, “It would be a terrible loss to the Hebrew booklore to have the rest of the printed book collection dispersed. I would consider that to be unfortunate.” Commenting in 2010 to the Forward David Stern, a professor of Classic Hebrew Literature at the University of Pennsylvania also criticized the dispersion of the collection. Professor Stern said, “While we do not yet know what will happen to the library, its possible disappearance as an integral collection would be a colossal loss to Jewish culture.”

The sale in December 2015 ended the complete access to 12 of the most prized books when nine of the manuscripts were sold. The nine books in Sotheby’s auction represented the “rarest and highest-priced books” of the collection. Scholars, who had been conducting research, lost access to these books, but it is not only a loss to them but also the entire academic community. Although the majority of the collection was sold to the National Library of Israel, a research institution, scholars still lost access to many important and rare books and manuscripts from the collection, severely hampering research into the history of books, but also the Jewish history of the times.

The books have arrived in Israel in February, but will not be visible to the public for another three years. The National Library of Israel plans to put the collection on display in 2020 after their new building is completed. Currently, the new structure is under construction and will be located next to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. Before the collection can be exhibited it will be cataloged in the intervening time. In 2020, the National Library is planning an event for the collection’s opening to the public. Although the library is missing some of the treasures, Lunzer would have found it reassuring that the majority of his collection ended up in a Jewish institution that values the historical relevancy of the books and will make sure future generations of scholars have access to these important books vital to Jewish history.

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 April 16, 2017: Gorsuch becomes 113th Supreme Court Justice after historic Senate vote

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POLITICS

Gorsuch becomes 113th Supreme Court Justice after historic Senate vote

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

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Federal Judge Neil Gorsuch becomes the 113th Supreme Court justice after two swearing-in ceremonies on Monday, April 10, 2017. Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation on Friday, April 7, was historic as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the “nuclear option” requiring only a simple majority to confirm Gorsuch and future nominees. Gorsuch was sworn in at two ceremonies, the first was a brief 10-minute ceremony at the Supreme Court building, and then one at the White House’s Rose Garden were President Donald Trump spoke first, and then Gorsuch was sworn in. Gorsuch’s wife Marie Louise and their daughters were present at both ceremonies.

Along partisan lines, the Senate confirmed Judge Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court Justice Friday morning, April 7, 2017. The Senate voted 54–45 for confirming President Donald Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch’s confirmation ended a yearlong drama to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated when Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly in February 2016. In the time the Supreme Court acted with only eight justices, this will be the first time the court is again full with nine members. The court also regains its balance of four conservative and liberal justices with Justice Anthony Kennedy serving as the swing vote.

The Senate vote was mostly along partisan lines with only three Democrats breaking ranks and joining their Republican colleagues in supporting Gorsuch’s nomination. The Democrats were Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. These same Democrats voted with Republicans for cloture and in opposition to the Democratic filibuster earlier in the week.

The battle to fill Scalia’s seat was a bitter partisan one. Last year former President Barack Obama promptly nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland to the vacant seat. As it was in an election year, Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused even to consider Obama’s nominee. McConnell believed the next president should fill the seat. Republicans hoped it would be a Republican president since any candidate from a Democrat would have shifted the balanced and created a liberal court.

For over a year, the seat remained vacant as the Supreme Court operated with just eight justices until President Trump entered the office and nominated Gorsuch. Gorsuch is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, Graduating in 1991 with former President Barack Obama. Gorsuch has long held conservative views espousing them as an undergraduate writing for the school paper, The Columbia Daily Spectator and co-founding the Conservative The Federalist Paper.

Gorsuch held two clerkships after graduating law school. First for Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and then Supreme Court justices, Anthony M. Kennedy and Byron R. White, who retired in 1993. After making partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel, Gorsuch returned to University for his doctorate at Oxford University in legal philosophy, which Oxford conferred to him in 2004.

Starting in 2005, Gorsuch served in U.S. Department of Justice as “principal deputy to the associate attorney general.” Gorsuch returned to his birthplace in 2006 when he was appointed by Former President George W. Bush to be “a federal judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.” The Senate confirmed Gorsuch “without opposition.” Gorsuch is also the author of one book, “The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.”

Eleven years later, Democrats still upset over Republicans refusing to consider Obama’s nominee immediately balked at Gorsuch. They deemed him too conservative, and they found him evasive on how he would decide on issues close to Democrats during his confirmation hearing.

When the Senate was scheduled to vote on Gorsuch, Democrats planned to block the vote, by rallying for filibuster gathering 41 Democrats to stand firm in opposition. The rules required 60 votes for cloture, “ending the debate,” and advancing the vote. Republicans controlled the Senate, but with only 52 votes, they needed Democrats to help them meet 60 votes, necessary, only three Democrats planned to vote with Republicans and voted for cloture.

The only way Republicans could confirm Gorsuch was to use the nuclear option, a change of the rules for confirming Supreme Court justices from a 60-vote threshold to a simple majority of 51. The option ends the need for bipartisan cooperation to confirm Supreme Court judges. The concept is not novel; Democrats first invoked the nuclear option in 2013. Then Democrat and Senate Majority Harry Reid invoked the option when Republicans stalled on confirming Obama’s nominees and lower court judges.

McConnell was intent not to let Democrats oppose a qualified candidate. On Tuesday, April 4, he promised: “One way or the other, we will confirm Judge Gorsuch.” On Thursday, April 6, McConnell was still reluctant to go forward with changing the Senate voting rules. McConnell begged Democrats on the Senate floor not to block Gorsuch.

The Senate Majority Leader said, “So let me say this to my Democratic colleagues: If you truly cannot support the nomination of this eminently qualified nominee, then at least allow the bipartisan majority of the Senate that supports Gorsuch to take an up-or-down vote. You already deployed the nuclear option in 2013. Don’t trigger it again in 2017.”

After the vote for cloture had failed by a vote of 55 to 45, McConnell invoked the rules changing “nuclear option.” After a vote to keep the present rules requiring 60 votes had failed 48 to 52, the rules were changed to a simple majority. After a second cloture vote, the motion to advance the nomination passed. The vote ensured Gorsuch would be confirmed after the 30-hour debate period finished.

The vote altered the Senate forever. The only Senate rule left intact requiring 60 votes is for legislation. The nuclear option ensured that bipartisanship was dead in the Senate, neither party when in power could stop the confirmation process for Supreme Court justices. The option already left Democrats powerless to object to any of Trump’s cabinet nominees. Now lifetime appointments affecting the law of the land can be granted with partisan blind faith. Although Gorsuch was qualified and a fitting replacement to Scalia keeping the court balanced, both Democrats and in the future Republicans will remain powerless to stop a candidate less worthy.

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 April 16, 2017: Not fake, but the news media is sacrificing accuracy for political bias

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POLITICS

Not fake, but the news media is sacrificing accuracy for political bias

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President Donald Trump and his administration have been waging a war with the mainstream media, calling their coverage fake news, while not necessary fake, their coverage is becoming extremely partisan, and the American public agrees. A recent Gallup poll published on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, found that 62 percent of Americans view political bias mostly favoring the Democrats. The numbers represented a stark contrast to 20 years ago when less than 50 percent saw bias in the in the news reporting. Unfortunately, with the proliferation of fake news, the mainstream media is facing similar criticism as fringe news sources because of their partisan and biased viewpoint. The media’s partisanship is also making them sacrifice accuracy for political favoritism and is being scolded not only by President Donald Trump but also by the American public.

According to Gallup’s latest poll, 62 percent of Americans find “the news media generally favors one political party over the other.” While only 27 percent still believe the news media is still non-partisan. The numbers grew in that last 20 years. According to Gallup in 1995, only 47 percent believed the media was politically biased, with 48 percent saying they are politically neutral. By 2001, the numbers were already changing, with 51 percent saying there is a political bias versus 41 percent saying there is none. In 2003, the numbers reversed to 48 percent saying there was bias versus 46 percent saying there was none. The numbers correspond with the growth of the partisan divide in the country between Democrats and Republicans in presidential approval ratings.

Fast forward to 2017, and Americans believe political bias has taken over the news media. Republicans, however, are feeling the bias more than Democrats are. Now, 77 percent of Republicans believe the news media is politically biased, while in 2003, only 59 percent of Republicans felt that way. Somehow, Democrats do not seem to believe the news media is any more biased than it was in 2003, then and now only 44 percent of Democrats believe the media biased.

Democrats might not be feeling the bias because it is usually in their favor. According to the Gallup poll, 64 percent of Americans think the news media favors the Democrats, while only 22 percent believe it favors the Republicans. Republicans are overwhelmingly accusing the news media of the bias, with 88 percent feeling that way. The Democrats seem far more oblivious to the partisan bias in their favor, with 43 percent believing there is a bias towards their party, but 40 percent believe there is bias in the media towards Republicans.

Americans have long felt that the media had a liberal/Democratic bias, in 1995, 53 percent felt there was a bias towards Democrats with 36 percent believing the bias was towards Republicans. In 2001, 57 thought it was towards Democrats, 30 percent towards Republicans, in 2003, the numbers were almost even 48 percent for Democrats and 42 percent for Republicans.

The 2016 presidential election, brought to the forefront fake news and inaccurate reporting, problems that have been lingering for a while. The Gallup poll examined the phenomenon among the mainstream media’s reporting practices. According to their findings, 55 percent of Americans find the mainstream news’ reporting “often inaccurate,” while only 36 percent find their report accurate.

The American public’s trust of the media has a complicated history, and the distrust is hardly new. The distrust has been above 50 percent five other times in the past 30 years. Media distrust was high in 1986, during the Iran-Contra Scandal with 55 percent and again in 1990 with 54 percent. At the end of the decade, distrust also hit a high note in 1999, during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment resulting from the Monica Lewinsky scandal with 50 percent of Americans claiming inaccurate reporting.

Again, in 2000, during the controversial presidential election between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush decided by the Supreme Court with 65 percent where there was the highest rate of distrust until now. Then again, in 2003, during the Iraq War, 58 percent of Americans found the news media inaccurate. The divisive and highly partisan election in 2016 between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton again led to feelings of inaccurate reporting. This election saw the most partisan reporting by the mainstream media and inaccurate polls all tipping the election in Clinton’s favor. Newsweek even prematurely released a special election edition of their magazine with the headline Madame President a nod to a history-making Clinton presidency, which they had to withdraw from sale after Trump’s surprise win.

Trump spent the campaign angry at the news media for the biased reporting in Clinton’s favor. Even after they were proved wrong, the media continued attacking Trump and his victory’s legitimacy. Then, barely a month into his presidency, Trump had enough and waged an all-out war with the news media calling the New York Times, CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC News “fake news.” The sources Trump called out used to be the most reliable in the business. They included the biggest name in print the New York Times, the first 24-hour cable news channel, CNN and the original big three networks ABC, CBS, and NBC that American considered the gospel before the explosion of the 24-hour news cycle.

Trump went after the mainstream news media on Twitter calling them the “enemy of the American People!” His fight continued in his speeches, particularly at Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and shutting them out of a press gaggle with press secretary Sean Spicer. The war culminated in President Trump and the White House boycotting the White House Correspondents Association’s annual dinner.

If not entirely fake news, the news media have become hyper-partisan as the Gallup poll proved, that it is clouding their dissemination of the facts before the public, clear of political bias or influence, where they have been demonizing the president and every word, he says. Professional journalism condemned the president’s criticism, but he is right. The media bias is not professional or maintaining standards all Americans no matter their political affiliation expects. If they intend to be partisan, they have honestly given a disclaimer saying the reporting is not objective but biased.

Trump is not alone; Americans are expressing their disdain for the current state of the news media. In another Gallup poll released in September looked at the “amount of trust in the media.” The poll found as ABC News recounts, “that only 32 percent of Americans say they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media — a new low, that includes 51 percent of Democrats, 30 percent of independents and only 14 percent of Republicans.” The numbers were considered a new low, looking at the partisan breakdown the liberal bias in the media caters to Democrats leaving Republicans profoundly alienated. The numbers are the reason why during the election, conservatives overwhelmingly turned to Fox News to escape the liberal bias, catapulting the network to the top of the rating pack.

Today’s news media are harkening back to the early days of the Republic, where partisan presses that were party sponsored flourished, they remained the norm and majority through the 19th century, only at the dawn of the 20th century did independent non-Party aligned presses proliferated. Although Trump might be the most critical president of the news since Richard Nixon, the comparison is hardly accurate. Nixon’s attacks were while he attempted to stave off and cover up Watergate. Trump is a new president speaking out, during a time when partisanship is polarizing the nation as never before.

As aforementioned, the news media overwhelmingly supported Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign to the point of blindly reporting she was ahead in the campaign polls and was going to win the election. Of the newspapers and magazine editorial boards throughout the country 38 endorsed Clinton, while only two endorsed Trump. The news media ignored the mood among the public where three traditionally Democratic blue states turned red, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin handing Trump the election and the presidency. Since Clinton won the popular vote while Trump won the all-important Electoral College vote, liberals have never been able to forgive him, and are vehemently protesting his every word. For the news media, Trump’s campaign was golden, and attacking has proven beneficial to a business level, at the sacrifice of honest reporting.

Political journalism today, eschews facts, relying more on opinion and editorials while claiming it is factual reporting. The problem might be forgivable when it involves bloggers or aggregate news sites that thrive on the sensational, but it becomes problematic when the new sources Americans rely on interjecting the political feeling into their reporting when striving for objectivity is the objective. In the constant competitive 24-hour cycle, digital be clicked to survive the world, journalism is falling into the trap and sacrificing their principles. These days journalists are being too carried away with the old adage if bleeds it leads and taking it to new levels of bleeding a stone just to lead.

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, 2017: Stanford remains most selective elite university for Class of 2021

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EDUCATION

Stanford remains most selective elite university for Class of 2021

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

This year Stanford University is again the most selective university in the United States, beating out all the Ivy League universities including Harvard. On Friday, March 31, 2017, Stanford sent out offers of admissions to 1,329 eagerly awaiting high school seniors. The students are in addition to the 721 accepted in December during early admission.

Stanford admitted only 2,050 students to the Class of 2021. 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 “the lowest in Stanford’s history.” In comparison, Stanford’s chief rival Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. The number of applications Stanford received was more than Harvard, which received just fewer than 40,000 applications. The numbers prove the Stanford is not only the most selective but also high school seniors’ dream elite school.

Last year for the Class of 2020, Stanford admitted 2,063 students out of a then unprecedented 43,997 applicants giving the school a historic low acceptance rate of only 4.69 percent. This year, the University beat their previous record just slightly. Richard H. Shaw, the dean of admission and financial aid, hailed the Class of 2021. Shaw expressed, “We continue to be awed and humbled by the interest Stanford receives from outstanding young people around the world.”

Continuing with the Ivy League and elite universities theme of making their incoming class the most diverse ever, Stanford’s Class of 2021 is no different. According to the data, the incoming class comes from all of the US’s 50 states and territories, and internationally from 82 other countries. Demographically the class is equally diverse with the university’s class including 18 percent that are first-generation college students.

Shaw praised the class’ diversity. The dean of admission stated, “This year, in particular, we are proud of the intellectual strength and incredible diversity represented by this group. Over 18 percent of our admitted class will be the first in their families to attend a four-year college and, overall, this cohort of students reflects the diversity of our country and the world. These students have already had an incredible impact on their communities, and we know they will impact the world in immeasurable ways.”

Unlike previous years, Stanford decided not to release complete data about their incoming freshmen. Last December the University announced a new policy of withholding the data until the end of the admission cycle. Stanford refused to release early admissions data to the public. Then the university released a statement explaining their reasons for withholding the information.

The statement indicated, “Stanford will be releasing its application and admission statistics only at the conclusion of the admission cycle, after all, applicants have been notified, and will continue to do so out of respect for our prospective students and applicants.” Students have until May 1 to notify Stanford if they will be accepting their offer 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 April 2, 2017: Yale University admits larges freshmen class ever for Class of 2021

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EDUCATION

Yale University admits larges freshmen class ever for Class of 2021

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Yale University Admissions

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 are opening this fall. On Thursday afternoon, March 30, 2017, at 5 p.m. Yale offered admission this regular cycle to 1550 students, up 15 percent from last year. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. Yale is the only Ivy League university to increase their acceptance rate.

Last year, Yale had a 6.27% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,972 students accepted out of a record 31,455 applicants. In December, 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 wait list.

Yale is the only Ivy League university to increase their acceptance rate this year. The increase in acceptance rate and the number of students accepted is because Yale is opening new residential colleges. In the fall, the school’s Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges will begin operations and increase each incoming class by approximately 800 students. Despite accepting about 2000 students, Yale hopes their final Class of 2021will be 1550 students.

Yale wants the public to know despite accepting more high school seniors this year than ever before; they are still accepting highly qualified students, they are just giving more them the opportunity to study at Yale. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan indicated, “Although we were thrilled to send out more offers of admissions this year, I remain humbled by the selectivity of our admissions process. Virtually all of the students we denied will be successful students at other great colleges and universities.”

Yale is hailing the Class of 2021 as the most diverse ever, the same tagline all universities are touting these days. The incoming class comes from all 50 states and 63 countries, and 1,500 high schools. There is also an increase in the minority population accepted promising an incoming class of diversity.

With now 14 residential colleges in four years, Yale’s undergraduate class will go from 5,400 to 6,200 students. Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway pointed out, “This expansion touches on every aspect of learning, including teaching, facilities, and financial aid. It also provides a historic opportunity to engage the community in asking what it means to receive an education from Yale.”

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, 2017: Ivy League most selective year Princeton, Harvard admit record lows to the Class of 2021

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EDUCATION

Ivy League most selective year Princeton, Harvard admit record lows to the Class of 2021

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

 (Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)

It is Ivy League acceptance day. Thursday afternoon, March 30, 2017, at 5 p.m. 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 2021 continuing the trend towards lower acceptance rates for nearly all schools.

This year there were record number of increases in applications, the CommonApp is making easier for high school seniors to apply to more schools and they are taking advantage of the opportunity to try for the Ivy League. Almost across the board, the Ivy League is becoming even more selective as to whom they allow in the hallowed halls. Students have until May 1, to notify the universities if they plan to attend in the fall.

The following is the Ivy League Class of 2021 acceptance data:

Brown University: Brown University set a record low for the Class of 2021 admissions. This 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. This year Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. Brown also waited listed 1,000 high school seniors.

Last year, Brown had a 9% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,919 students accepted out of 32,390 applicants. Brown’s previous record low acceptance rate was in 2015 for the Class of 2019 when they admitted 8.5 percent of their applicant pool. In December as part of early decision admission, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

The students accepted came from all 50 states and 77 nations. The Class of 2021 will also be one of the most diverse, 14 percent are first-generation college students, 47 percent are “students of color,” 62 percent are coming from public schools and 64 percent applied for financial aid. Brown is the exception having a higher acceptance than other Ivies.

Dean of Admission Logan Powell commented on the incoming class. Powell said, “Overall we’re absolutely thrilled with the talent and wide range of perspectives represented in this admitted student group. They continue to be enormously talented (and) they continue to be increasingly diverse… Academically, by all objective measures, is as strong as any in Brown history.” Brown’s targeted goal is 1,665 freshmen entering in the fall.

Columbia University: Columbia College also 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. Last year, Columbia had a 6.04% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,193 students accepted out of 36,292 applicants. Columbia is notorious for divulging the least information of all the Ivies about their incoming freshmen class only releasing more data for the upcoming application year.

Cornell University: 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 wait list. Last year, Cornell had a 13.96% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 6,277 students accepted out of 44,966 applicants. In December, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

The incoming freshmen class is one of the most diverse in the school’s history. Of those accepted 1,777, or 30.2 percent are “underrepresented minorities” among them include students of color, w ho represented 52.5 percent of the Class of 2021, up from last year’s 49 percent. Students were accepted from all the states and territories in the US, with the most coming from “California, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas.”

This year, however, there were less international students accepted 9 percent down from last year’s ten percent. The students are from 96 countries, more than last year’s 85 countries. The most are coming from “Canada, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.” Additionally, 700 of the accepted were first-generation college students, while 200 are “recruited athletes.”

Shawn Felton, director of undergraduate admissions, expressed, “This year’s admitted class continues to raise the bar on what it means to be outstanding. I am pleased that we are, once again, well on our way toward our goals to broaden and diversify the incoming class.”

Jason Locke, the associate vice provost for enrollment, commented, “We have admitted an extraordinarily gifted and accomplished class of scholars. We look forward to showcasing Cornell’s exceptional academic offerings and vibrant student experience during our many admitted student events in April.”

Dartmouth College: Dartmouth College had one of their most selective years, accepting 2,092 students into the Class of 2021out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Dartmouth is calling this year’s class “the most academically accomplished and globally diverse class the College has ever accepted.” Last year, Dartmouth had a 10.52% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,176 students accepted out of 20,675 applicants. In December as part of the early decision program, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

The high school seniors accepted have stellar academic records, the best Dartmouth ever admitted. Of those accepted from school that ranks their classes 96 percent are in the top 10 percent, with 527 serving as their class valedictorian or salutatorian. Nearly half, 46 percent of those valedictorians or salutatorians are students of color, with 13 percent “foreign citizens.” The Class of 2021 also has the highest SAT scores ever admitted with an average of 1495.

Lee Coffin, the dean of admissions and financial aid, commented on the academically extraordinary Class of 2021. Coffin noted, “This is a really dynamic group of students. They are intellectually engaged, curious, adventuresome, kind, and imaginative, and they will be a tremendous addition to the Dartmouth community.”

The class is also the most diverse coming from all over the US, the 50 states, and territories. California continues to be the top state where student are admitted, but also New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Florida, with 47 students coming Dartmouth’s home state of New Hampshire. Internationally, the incoming class hails has 225 students from 63 countries predominantly from the United Kingdom, Canada, and South Korea.

Demographically the Class of 2021 is also very diverse, with 51 percent being students of color, 15 percent first generation college students, 10 percent are recruited athletes, and 9 percent are legacies. There is also 59 percent coming from public schools, 21 percent from independent schools and ten from religious schools. Additionally, 63 percent of the incoming class will need financial aid. The most popular major include, “Engineering, economics, biology, government / international relations, and English.”

Harvard University: Among the Ivies, no university has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard College. Harvard admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. The acceptance rate is almost the same as last year when 5.22 percent or 2,037 students were admitted out a historic high amount of 39,044 applications. For the regular admission cycle, Harvard accepted 1,118 students. In December as part of their early action program, Harvard accepted 938 applicants out of 6,473 applications for an acceptance rate of 14.5 percent.

Despite other universities touting the diverse freshmen class ever, Harvard’s number are smaller for some minority groups. There were less Latino and Native American students accepted, 11.6 and 1.9 percent respectively down from 12.7 and 2.2 percent. There was, however, and increase the number of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Women admitted this year. Harvard admitted a record number of African American students at 14.6. There was a slight increase in Asian American students accepted at 22.2 percent. This year 49.2 percent of the Class of 2021 will be women. The university is maintaining its international flavor with 11.4 percent of the class coming from outside the US and its territories.

In the incoming class is continuing the movement away from concentrating in the Humanities, with 15.5 percent planning to major in the subject area. Meanwhile, 25.6 percent intend to study the social sciences. The STEM subjects are gaining popularity with 19.3 indicating they want to focus on computer science and engineering.

Princeton University: Princeton University acceptance rate for the Class of 2021 was “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. Princeton has a “target class size” of 1,308 freshmen. In December, 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. Last year, Princeton had a 6.46% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,894 students accepted out of 29,303 applicants. Additionally, Princeton placed 1,168 students on their waitlist.

The class is also very diverse, with 50.5 percent being female, while 53.4 percent are “racial or ethnic minorities.” The Demographic are also diverse, with 63.8 percent of students coming from public schools, 18.9 first-generation college students and only 10.7 percent being legacies. Dean of Admission Janet Rapelye said, “This shows our commitment to social mobility and socioeconomic diversity.” Princeton accepted students from 49 states and the territories, the most coming from New Jersey, California, New York, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, and Georgia. No students were admitted from Louisiana. Outside of the US students were accepted from 76 countries representing 12.1 percent of the class.

The University of Pennsylvania: UPenn is again hailing their Class of 2021 acceptance rate as the lowest in history. This year the University accepted 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants
for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” Last year, UPenn had a 9.4% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 3,661students accepted out of 38,918 applicants. In December, UPenn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 24 percent acceptance rate. The University believes they will have a targeted 2,445 students enrolling in the fall.

As with all, the Ivies UPenn is calling the Class of 2021 the most diverse. The incoming freshman includes students from all 50 states and the territories, with the most popular states including Pennsylvania, New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas, while 172 students come to the school’s home city Philadelphia. Demographically, 46 percent of those accepted are students of color, 54 percent are female. One out of eight, 13 percent are first-generation college students, while 14 percent are legacies.

The University saw a 10 percent increase in international students coming from 96 countries up from 88. Dean of Admissions Eric Furda remarked on the Class of 2021, “Penn offers of admission are truly going across the country and all around the world. That’s not just tallying states and countries, but thinking about it at the high school level.”

Yale University: 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 are opening this fall. Yale offered admission this regular cycle to 1550 students, up 15 percent from last year. Yale accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate.

Last year, Yale had a 6.27% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,972 students accepted out of a record 31,455 applicants. In December, 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 wait list.

Yale is the only Ivy League university to increase their acceptance rate this year. The increase in acceptance rate and number of students is because Yale is opening new residential colleges. In the fall, the school’s Pauli Murray and Benjamin Franklin colleges will open, and increase each incoming class by approximately 800 students. Despite accepting about 2000 students Yale hopes their final Class of 2021will be 1550 students.

Yale wants the public to know despite accepting more high school seniors this year than ever before, they are still accepting highly qualified students, they are just giving more them the opportunity to study at Yale. Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeremiah Quinlan indicated, “Although we were thrilled to send out more offers of admissions this year, I remain humbled by the selectivity of our admissions process. Virtually all of the students we denied will be successful students at other great colleges and universities.”

Yale is hailing the Class of 2021 as the most diverse ever, the same tagline all universities are touting these days. The incoming class comes from all 50 states and 63 countries, and 1,500 high schools. There is also an increase in the minority population accepted promising an incoming class of diversity.

With now 14 residential colleges in four years, Yale’s undergraduate class will go from 5,400 to 6,200 students. Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway pointed out, “This expansion touches on every aspect of learning, including teaching, facilities, and financial aid. It also provides a historic opportunity to engage the community in asking what it means to receive an education from Yale.”

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, 2017: Ivy League lowest acceptance rates for Class of 2021

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EDUCATION

Ivy League lowest acceptance rates for Class of 2021

By Bonnie K. Goodman , BA MLIS

 (Source: Harvard Admissions Twitter)



It is Ivy League acceptance day. Thursday afternoon, March 30, 2017, at 5 p.m. 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 2021 continuing the trend towards lower acceptance rates for nearly all schools, except Yale.

The following is the Ivy League Class of 2021 acceptance data:

Brown University: Brown University 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. This year Brown saw a record 32,724 applications. Brown also waited listed 1,000 high school seniors. Last year, Brown had a 9% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,919 students accepted out of 32,390 applicants. In December as part of early decision admission, Brown accepted 695 applicants out of 3,170 applications for an acceptance rate of 21.9 percent.

Columbia University: Columbia College also 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. Last year, Columbia had a 6.04% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,193 students accepted out of 36,292 applicants.

Cornell University: Cornell University admitted 5,889 students from a record number of 47,038 applicants. An additional 5,713 students were placed on a wait list. Last year, Cornell had a 13.96% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 6,277 students accepted out of 44,966 applicants. In December, Cornell accepted approximately 1,350 applicants out of 5,384 early applications for an acceptance rate of 25.6 percent.

Dartmouth College: Dartmouth College accepted 2,092 students into the Class of 2021out of 20,034 applications with an acceptance rate 10.4 percent, the second largest in the Ivy League. Last year, Dartmouth had a 10.52% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 2,176 students accepted out of 20,675 applicants. In December as part of the early decision program, Dartmouth accepted 555 applicants out of 1,999 applications for an acceptance rate of 27.8 percent.

Harvard University: Harvard College admitted 2,056 students out of a record of 39,506 applicants, to have a 5.2 percent acceptance rate. The acceptance rate is almost the same as last year when 5.22 percent or 2,037 students were admitted out a historic high amount of 39,044 applications. For the regular admission cycle, Harvard accepted 1,118 students. In December as part of their early action program, Harvard accepted 938 applicants out of 6,473 applications for an acceptance rate of 14.5 percent.

Princeton University: Princeton University invited just 6.1 percent of applicants to join the University, 1,890 students out of a “record” 31,056 applicants. Princeton has a “target class size” of 1,308 freshmen. Last year, Princeton had a 6.46% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,894 students accepted out of 29,303 applicants. In December, 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. Additionally, Princeton placed 1,168 students on their waitlist.

The University of Pennsylvania: UPenn accepted 3,699 students from 40,413 applicants for “a record-low 9.15 percent acceptance rate.” Last year, UPenn had a 9.4% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 3,661students accepted out of 38,918 applicants. In December, UPenn sent notifications to 1,364 students that they were accepted as part of the early decision program with a 24 percent acceptance rate. The University believes they will have a targeted 2,445 students enrolling in the fall.

Yale UniversityYale University accepted 2,272 students out of “record” 32,900 applicants, making a 6.9 percent acceptance rate. Last year, Yale had a 6.27% acceptance rate for the Class of 2020, with 1,972 students accepted out of a record 31,455 applicants. In December, 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 wait list.

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.