Student protestors at the University of Missouri want a “no media safe space” – Updated by Libby Nelson on November 9, 2015, 7:30 p.m. ET

Members of the Concerned Student 1950 movement speak to students after president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation. — (Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The media flocked to cover football players at the University of Missouri protest the handling of racial incidents on campus, but some of the student protesters balked at the influx — going so far as to form a human shield to keep reporters away from the action.

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Traditionally, protesters might have welcomed coverage of their plight, certain that the national media’s attention would amplify their calls and put more pressure on the institution.

There are many reasons for this. The students already accomplished their landmark goal — these tweets were sent after university president Tim Wolfe announced his resignation on Monday. The campus has seen dozens, if not hundreds, of reporters descend, most of them, like the national media, overwhelmingly white. And these students have come of age after the rise of digital organizing. The national media is just another institution they don’t need, as the Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery points out:

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The standoff appears to have caught many members of the national media, as well as student journalists at the university, off guard.

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University of Missouri president resigns amid race row – By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN Updated 12:54 PM ET, Mon November 9, 2015 | Video Source: CNN



(CNN)Several University of Missouri organizations, including the football team and the student association, saw their demands met Monday when university system President Tim Wolfe announced he was stepping down amid a controversy over race relations at the school’s main campus.

Saying he takes “full responsibility for the inaction that has occurred,” he asked that the university community listen to each other’s problems and “stop intimidating each other.”

“This is not — I repeat, not — the way change should come about. Change comes from listening, learning, caring and conversation,” he said. “Use my resignation to heal and start talking again.”

His decision, he said, “came out of love, not hate,” and he urged the university to “focus on what we can change” in the future, not what’s happened in the past.

His decision came after black football players at the University of Missouri — with their coach’s support — threatened not to practice or play again until graduate student Jonathan Butler ended his hunger strike. Butler, who was protesting the state of race relations on the main campus and had demanded Wolfe’s removal, tweeted Monday morning, “My body is tired but my heart is strong. This fight for justice is necessary.”

He tweeted after Wolfe’s news conference that he had ended his hunger strike and said, “More change is to come!! #TheStruggleContinues.”

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South Africa’s huge student protests, explained – Updated by Zack Beauchamp on October 24, 2015, 11:30 a.m. ET

(Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) Demonstrators in Pretoria. 

Student protests over tuition fees have rocked South Africa’s universities for about a week. The protests have been so large that a number of universities across the country were shut down. Friday’s protest in the capital, Pretoria, attracted 10,000 people — the largest student protest since the famous 1976 Soweto anti-apartheid demonstration, according to the Guardian.

The protests were frequently met with riot police, occasionally equipped with tear gas and stun grenades. This kind of conflict is “not seen since the apartheid era,” the Financial Times‘ Andrew England reports.

Here’s where the protests came from — and why they’ve become such a big deal.

The protests began at the elite University of the Witwatersrand (called Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city. On October 14, Wits students organized a mass rally against what they saw as exorbitant increases in fees: students were being asked to pay 10.5 percent more in tuition and other fees, as well as 6 percent more in an up-front registration fee.

According to David Dickinson, a sociologist at Wits and a member of its council, the university felt it needed to raise fees to stay afloat financially. Dickinson, who voted against the fee increase on the council, blames South Africa’s government for providing insufficient financial support to schools and students. Without more government support, he writes, many poor and middle class black South Africans will not be able to afford higher education.

“The increasing reduction of state subsidies…is turning Wits and other universities into de facto private institutions,” Dickinson writes. “Elite not on the basis of intellectual ability, but on the basis of social class.”

This anger over perceived race and class discrimination fueled the initial round of anti-fees protest at Wits. But similar issues affected universities across the country, not just Wits, and so the protests spread like wildfire. Social media hashtags like #FeesMustFall and #NationalShutdown helped student protestors organize and share information across the country.

The government seemed to have no answer for this protest: tear gas did little to quell their growth. By the end of last week, the New York Times reports, the protests had “spread outside the campuses, as students have leveled their ire directly at the government.” Demonstrators “and police officers clashed outside the Parliament building in Cape Town, and students marched on Wednesday to the headquarters here of the African National Congress.”

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Ole Miss students reject state flag: ‘No place on our campus’ – By Justin Wm. Moyer October 21 at 2:07 AM

Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett (D) waved a Confederate flag before the start of Ole Miss-Kentucky football game in 1962 in Jackson. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)

The University of Mississippi, founded in 1848 in Oxford, is a school steeped in Southern traditions — some of them racist. When the South went to war, much of Ole Miss’s student body joined the Confederate cause in a fabled company known as the University Greys. When the school’s first black student was admitted in 1962, riots broke out. The campus is awash in tributes to the rebels — a Confederate Drive, a Confederate cemetery, a Confederate memorial and, until 2010, a mascot called “Colonel Reb.” It is, after all, the University of Mississippi.

But Tuesday night in a dramatic vote, Ole Miss student legislators moved to distance themselves from their state’s past and present. The school’s student senate approved a resolution asking the university to stop flying the Mississippi state flag, which includes a Confederate design, on campus grounds. And, though the resolution is non-binding, it puts a question to university officials much of the country has struggled with after a white supremacist allegedly killed nine churchgoers in Columbia, S.C., last summer: Is it still okay to embrace the stars and bars?

“I think it shows that we as a student body recognize that these symbols of white supremacy have no place on our campus,” sophomore and student senator Allen Coon, a 20-year-old major in public policy and African American studies who introduced the resolution, told The Washington Post in a telephone interview. “They affect people that are marginalized. They make students feel excluded on their own campus and they promote ideals of hate and racial oppression.”


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Court Strikes Down Payments to College Athletes – By MARC TRACY and BEN STRAUSS SEPT. 30, 2015

In 2009, Ed O’Bannon, a former U.C.L.A. basketball star, sued the N.C.A.A. for using his name and image in television broadcasts and video games. Credit Isaac Brekken for The New York Times

The N.C.A.A. may restrict colleges from compensating athletes beyond the cost of attendance, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday in an apparent victory for the college sports establishment as it fights back efforts to expand athletes’ rights.

The ruling upheld a federal judge’s finding last year that the N.C.A.A. “is not above antitrust laws” and that its rules have been too restrictive in maintaining amateurism. But the panel threw out the judge’s proposal that the N.C.A.A. pay athletes $5,000 per year in deferred compensation, stating that limiting compensation to the cost of attendance was sufficient.

(Cost of attendance, typically several thousand dollars more than a traditional scholarship, accounts for additional demands like traveling to and from home and paying cellphone bills.)

“Today, we reaffirm that N.C.A.A. regulations are subject to antitrust scrutiny and must be tested in the crucible of the Rule of Reason,” the appeals panel wrote in what is known as the O’Bannon case.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals O’Bannon Case Ruling

A three-judge panel upheld a federal judge’s finding last year that the N.C.A.A. “is not above antitrust laws,” but the panel also threw out the judge’s proposal that N.C.A.A. members should pay athletes $5,000 per year in deferred compensation.

“In this case,” it added, “the N.C.A.A.’s rules have been more restrictive than necessary to maintain its tradition of amateurism in support of the college sports market. The Rule of Reason requires that the N.C.A.A. permit its schools to provide up to the cost of attendance to their student-athletes. It does not require more.”

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Why is College So Expensive? – The Business of Life (Episode 6) – Vice News Published on Jul 1, 2015

The average college graduate is saddled with thousands of dollars of debt. That’s because the average cost of a four-year college degree in this country has exploded over the last two decades. Is the crippling debt accrued by students a smart financial decision? And, compared to the rest of the world, why do Americans pay so much for higher education? To unpack this issue, we’ve enlisted Student Voice’s Zak Malamed, Allison Schrager from Quartz, and Dale J. Stephens, an elementary school dropout who founded his own business in his late teens.

College is a con: The savage truth about your bachelor’s degree – SUNDAY, JUN 28, 2015 11:00 AM PDT

College is a con: The savage truth about your bachelor's degree

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetHigher education wears the cloak of liberalism, but in policy and practice, it can be a corrupt and cutthroat system of power and exploitation. It benefits immensely from right-wing McCarthy wannabes, who in an effort to restrict academic freedom and silence political dissent, depict universities as left-wing indoctrination centers.

But the reality is that while college administrators might affix “down with the man” stickers on their office doors, many prop up a system that is severely unfair to American students and professors, a shocking number of whom struggle to make ends meet. Even the most elementary level of political science instructs that politics is about power. Power, in America, is about money: who has it? Who does not have it? Who is accumulating it? Who is losing it? Where is it going?

Four hundred faculty members at New York University, one of the nation’s most expensive schools, recently released a report on how their own place of employment, legally a nonprofit institution, has become a predatory business, hardly any different in ethical practice or economic procedure than a sleazy storefront payday loan operator. Its title succinctly summarizes the new intellectual discipline deans and regents have learned to master: “The Art of The Gouge.”

The result of their investigation reads as if Charles Dickens and Franz Kafka collaborated on notes for a novel. Administrators not only continue to raise tuition at staggering rates, but they burden their students with inexplicable fees, high cost burdens and expensive requirements like mandatory study abroad programs. When students question the basis of their charges, much of them hidden during the enrollment and registration phases, they find themselves lost in a tornadic swirl of forms, automated answering services and other bureaucratic debris.


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Why is College So Expensive? – The Business of Life (Episode 6 Trailer) – Vice News Published on Jun 26, 2015

The average college graduate is saddled with thousands of dollars of debt. That’s because the average cost of a four-year college degree in this country has exploded over the last two decades. Is the crippling debt accrued by students a smart financial decision? And, compared to the rest of the world, why do Americans pay so much for higher education? To unpack this issue, we’ve enlisted Student Voice’s Zak Malamed, Allison Schrager from Quartz, and Dale J. Stephens, an elementary school dropout who founded his own business in his late teens.

Watch “What’s the Price of US Citizenship? (Episode 5)” –

The US government’s predatory-lending program – By MICHAEL GRUNWALD

America earns $3 billion a year charging strapped college parents above-market interest. “It’s like ‘The Sopranos,’ except it’s the government.”

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Most parents will do just about anything for their children, especially when it comes to education. Predictably, at a time when college costs are exploding and students are staggering under more than $1 trillion in debt, one opportunistic lender is making huge profits on loans to their doting moms and dads.

Less predictably, that lender is the United States government.

The fast-growing federal program known as Parent PLUS now serves 3.2 million borrowers, who have racked up $65 billion in debt helping their kids go to school. The loans have much in common with the regular student loans that have created a national debt crisis and a 2016 campaign issue, but PLUS has much higher interest rates and fees, and far fewer opportunities for loan forgiveness or reductions.

In fact, the PLUS program, which includes similar loans to graduate students, is the most profitable of the 120 or so federal lending programs. That sounds like a good thing, until you remember the government’s profit comes from its own citizens, often citizens of modest means.

Parent PLUS was created in 1980 to provide small loans to help reasonably well-off families finance the American Dream of an undergraduate education. But in an era of skyrocketing education costs, it has grown to look a lot like publicly funded predatory lending, providing almost any borrowers with almost unlimited cash to attend any school with almost no regard to their ability to repay. Thirteen percent of undergraduates now rely on Parent PLUS, and many of their parents are falling into debt traps.

“You feel so guilty that you haven’t done enough for your kid, and they make it so easy to get the loans,” said Elizabeth Hill, a 57-year-old property appraiser from the Boston suburbs with more than $30,000 in PLUS debt. “Then they’ve got you by the cojones. It’s like ‘The Sopranos,’ except it’s the government.”

For all the controversy swirling around student loans, lending money directly to students at least has a “human capital” rationale, since recipients pursue degrees that can boost their earning power and help them fulfill their obligations. But when parents borrow, they’re often taking on new debts just as their earning power is starting to dwindle. They’re not building human capital. They’re just getting closer to retirement, mortgaging their futures on behalf of their children. And if they default, the government can garnish their wages and even their Social Security checks — less brutal than “The Sopranos,” but just as effective.


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“Just be yourself” is cruel, fraudulent advice to give young people – JESSE BROWNER SUNDAY, JUN 14, 2015 05:00 PM PDT

As my daughters graduate, they’re hounded by this hollow motto of Western capitalism. What should we say instead?

"Just be yourself" is cruel, fraudulent advice to give young people`

Their entire lives, my children have been hounded by one simple yet relentless, cruel and existentially meaningless phrase. I’m pretty sure yours have, too. It has nipped at their heels as they’ve negotiated, alone or with assistance, every transition our society requires them to make on their lonely way to maturity. It has dogged them mercilessly through every audition – for a place in pre-school, kindergarten, high school and college; summer jobs and school plays; making new friends and keeping the old. It has nagged at them as they’ve learned how to make choices that will be both pleasing to themselves and satisfy the obscure ambitions of their parents – choices about what clothes to wear, what food to eat and how much of it, what music to listen to, what summer camp to go to, how to share their own feelings and protect their own privacy. It has whispered insidiously in their ear as they have sought to fashion some kind of understanding of who they are, what kind of person they want to be or think they should be, and what sort of place they feel entitled to occupy in this world. Right now, as one daughter graduates from college and the other from high school, its voice is perhaps as shrill, insistent and inescapable as it has ever been throughout their brief lives.

That phrase, of course, is “Just be yourself” – the motto inscribed on the family crest of late-capitalist Western individualism. It is the invisible lattice, the matrix on which all social interaction and expectation are constructed, and without which we might very well cease to exist as a society and to recognize ourselves in the mirror. Ever since Polonius told Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man” as he sent him off to college overseas, it has been both the mating call and the password to success for the striving classes.

Yet I am deeply ambivalent about imparting it to my graduating daughters for a golden rule as they make their way into their new lives. Advice from a parent to a child is supposed to be based on experience, deliberation and wisdom. And it has been my experience, which I have tried to parse as deliberately and wisely as I am able, that telling your children to just be themselves is fraudulent, confounding and misleading. Even when heavily burdened with caveats, it’s barely more than hollow doublespeak.

To be yourself or be true to yourself, you must, of course, know yourself. And yet, when you consider for even one brief moment the sort of people who seem to know themselves well enough to be themselves, they’re pretty much the opposite of who you would want your children to be. A man who knows himself is someone who is dead certain of what he wants and makes all his choices – about career, mate, income level, spirituality, politics – with a view to acquiring it. A man who knows himself is one who cannot entertain the idea that he might be wrong, or that there may be two or more viable ways of interpreting an issue or solving a problem. A man who knows himself projects that arrogance into his judgement of others, and formulates opinions about them that are almost inescapably ill-founded and unshakable. In the life and ideas of a man who knows himself (or even thinks he knows himself), there is no room for the whimsy, ambivalence, doubt, nuance, curiosity and inquisitiveness upon which all creative thought is based. If you know someone who understands or believes he understands everything that makes him think, feel, behave and react the way he does, chances are you don’t like him very much.