University News

Higher Ed Roundup: Sept. 27, 2016

By
News Editor
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

College Republicans all split up over Trump

College Republicans at universities across the country are struggling to remain united over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, according to a Sept. 23 New York Times article.

When the chapter at Yale decided to endorse Trump, for example, four members of the group’s seven-member executive board resigned and formed two new groups: the Yale New Republicans and Yale Undergraduate Conservatives Against Trump. Harvard’s Republican Club dodged the controversy by refusing to endorse Trump — the first time the group has not supported the Republican nominee since 1888. Its student president, Declan Garvey, said he made the decision after only 10 percent of club members indicated they supported Trump in an August survey.

Karl Rove, former White House deputy chief of staff under President George W. Bush, told the Times that most college Republicans tend to be “center-right traditional Republican conservatives,” causing a “little bit of a mismatch.”

At other schools, chapters have been more explicit in their support of Trump. Shortly after the Republican National Convention, the University of Central Florida’s College Republicans posted a letter on Facebook advising students to “not get discouraged” by Trump. The University of Michigan’s chapter formally endorsed the Trump campaign on Sept. 14 to a “really great response,” Enrique Zalamea, the president, told The Michigan Review. “Any Republican is better than Hillary Clinton,” Zalamea added.

Northern Michigan University faces criticism from free speech advocates

Northern Michigan University previously sent out warnings to students that cautioned them against speaking to their classmates about “suicidal or self-destructive” thoughts, according to an article published by the Chronicle of Higher Education. One such warning letter informed Katerina Klawes, a senior who had attended a counseling session, that she would face “disciplinary action” if she involved other students in “suicidal thoughts.” According to the letter, such involvement would interfere with others’ “pursuit of education and community.”

The practice drew the attention of the Foundation for Individuals Rights in Education, a nonprofit “devoted to free speech (and) individual liberty,” according to its website. In a letter to NMU, FIRE wrote that the practice imposed “an unconstitutional gag order” on students and deprived them of peer support. Though the university did not respond to the Aug. 25 letter, a campus spokesman announced on Sept. 24 that NMU changed the emails it sends to students with “self-harm inclinations.” He added that the university created a mental-health task force to examine its policies.

U. of Tennessee students, administrators confront sexual assault concerns

Female students at the the University of Tennessee take drastic measures to protect each other against sexual assault, according to an article published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Students repeatedly warn each other to carry mace, program the phone number of the campus police chief into their cellphones and refrain from walking home alone. Students wear t-shirts with messages like “Netflix and Chill Does Not Mean Yes,” and relatives warn female students to “be careful.” One student who lives in a “sketchy” off-campus neighborhood told the Chronicle she would “always have (her) keys in between (her) knuckles for protection” when walking alone at night.

The university faces two federal investigations into how it has handled reports of sexual assault in the past. In February, six female students filed a lawsuit against the school for possibly treating athletes more favorably in sexual assault cases. Two more students joined the suit later on, making the total plaintiff number eight. The students alleged that basketball and football players were allowed to remain on campus and graduate, and the university settled for $2.48 million in July.

The administration has taken significant steps to open up a dialogue on sexual assault. At the start of the semester, the university’s central campus lays out a bright red carpet to alert students to the danger of the “red zone,” or the time of the year when the risk of sexual assault is highest. Additionally, Vincent Carilli, vice chancellor for student life, said he uses orientation sessions to persuade parents to talk more with their children about these types of issues. “One of the things I encourage them to do is talk about the use and abuse of alcohol, what consent means and what a student’s expectations are with regard to sex and relationships,” he told the Chronicle.

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