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    Default Western Universities

    College cutbacks make it harder to earn degrees

    Oct 12, 2009

    SAN FRANCISCO – It isn't just tuition increases that are driving up the cost of college. Around the country, deep budget cuts are forcing colleges to lay off instructors and eliminate some classes, making it harder for students to get into the courses they need to earn their degree.

    The likely result: more time in college.

    And while that may sound agreeable to nostalgic alumni, to students like Michael Redoglia, time is money.

    Early this semester at San Francisco State University, Redoglia unsuccessfully crashed 26 different classes, hoping to find space that would move him closer to a hospitality management degree. Outside some classrooms, wait-listed students took turns standing closest to the door so they could hear the lecture and not fall too far behind should they get in.
    Redoglia, a fourth-year student, is now enrolled in just two courses. He could lose financial aid, and his plan to finish his degree in 4 1/2 years is up in smoke.

    "This semester has put me back another full year," said Redoglia, adding that the delay is "killing me financially."

    Policymakers right up to President Barack Obama have been calling on public colleges to move students through more efficiently, and some have been doing so. But experts say any recent progress is threatened by unprecedented state budget cuts that have trimmed course offerings.

    "They will not graduate on time. I hope they will graduate at all," said David Baggins, who as chairman of political science at Cal State University-East Bay has been bombarded with requests for spots in already packed classes.
    "Before," Baggins said, "there was always a way to help the student who really needed help." This year, "all I can do is say no."

    Some students struggle for places in the core entry-level classes such as composition and math because the part-time instructors who typically teach those courses are the first to be laid off in tough times. Other students are shut out of crowded core courses in their majors by upperclassmen. Some upperclassmen face an even tougher road: The upper-level classes they need have been cut entirely because they aren't popular enough.

    A federal study of 1999-2000 graduates found it takes students roughly 4.5 years on average to earn a bachelor's degree. About two-thirds of traditional-age college students who finished got through within five. A study of 2009 graduates is not yet complete.

    In the 450,000-student California State system — the nation's largest public university system — the average is longer, in part because of large numbers of low-income, part-time and transfer students. A 2007 study of students who entered 12 years earlier found they took an average of 5.7 years. Officials say that number was probably falling slightly before the current cuts hit.

    To help students get the courses they need to graduate, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill raised enrollment caps on some English and foreign language classes from 19 to 24. The University of Kansas also increased some class sizes — but offered fewer sections of a big introductory chemistry course. Both schools insist most students who truly needed a class eventually got in.

    But at Central Oregon Community College in Bend, Ore., where enrollment has grown over 60 percent in the past three years, nearly 400 students don't have even one of the courses they requested. Many of the school's worker retraining programs consist of classes that are supposed to be taken in sequence, so students who can't get slots could be stuck until next fall.
    The 23-campus Cal State system has raised tuition more than 30 percent, increased class sizes, laid off hundreds of teachers and cut thousands of class sections in response to a 20 percent state budget cut.

    Around the country, the belt-tightening has made the usual begging and pleading with professors to make more space especially urgent.

    "Some of them are more open — they understand you're trying to get into classes you need," said Haley Sink, a sophomore at Virginia Tech from Kernersville, N.C., who failed to get into several classes this year and hopes to avoid a fifth year of out-of-state tuition. "Others say, `I absolutely cannot handle more students.'"

    Money isn't necessarily the only problem, some experts argue. Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, said universities focus too much on prestigious but unessential graduate programs at the expense of the undergraduate basics. Others want professors pushed harder to teach essential courses instead of their own boutique interests — and students to accept more unpopular, early-morning slots.

    But some students say they are out of choices.

    Sherrie Canedo, a fifth-year senior at Cal State-East Bay, was recently told she could finish her ethnic studies degree through independent study because most of the courses she needs were eliminated.

    "I don't feel that's an acceptable way to learn," said Canedo, who is working two jobs and trying to string together enough financial aid to finish her education. "I'm paying to be taught in a classroom."

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    The $555,000 Student-Loan Burden

    As Default Rates on Borrowing for Higher Education Rise, Some Borrowers See No Way Out; 'This Is Just Outrageous Now'

    By MARY PILON - 2/16/2010

    When Michelle Bisutti, a 41-year-old family practitioner in Columbus, Ohio, finished medical school in 2003, her student-loan debt amounted to roughly $250,000. Since then, it has ballooned to $555,000.

    It is the result of her deferring loan payments while she completed her residency, default charges and relentlessly compounding interest rates. Among the charges: a single $53,870 fee for when her loan was turned over to a collection agency.

    "Maybe half of it was my fault because I didn't look at the fine print," Dr. Bisutti says. "But this is just outrageous now."

    To be sure, Dr. Bisutti's case is extreme, and lenders say student-loan terms are clear and that they try to work with borrowers who get in trouble.

    But as tuitions rise, many people are borrowing heavily to pay their bills. Some no doubt view it as "good debt," because an education can lead to a higher salary. But in practice, student loans are one of the most toxic debts, requiring extreme consumer caution and, as Dr. Bisutti learned, responsibility.

    Unlike other kinds of debt, student loans can be particularly hard to wriggle out of. Homeowners who can't make their mortgage payments can hand over the keys to their house to their lender. Credit-card and even gambling debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. But ditching a student loan is virtually impossible, especially once a collection agency gets involved. Although lenders may trim payments, getting fees or principals waived seldom happens.

    Yet many former students are trying. There is an estimated $730 billion in outstanding federal and private student-loan debt, says Mark Kantrowitz of FinAid.org, a Web site that tracks financial-aid issues—and only 40% of that debt is actively being repaid. The rest is in default, or in deferment, which means that payments and interest are halted, or in "forbearance," which means payments are halted while interest accrues.

    Although Dr. Bisutti's debt load is unusual, her experience having problems repaying isn't. Emmanuel Tellez's mother is a laid-off factory worker, and $120 from her $300 unemployment checks is garnished to pay the federal PLUS student loan she took out for her son.

    By the time Mr. Tellez graduated in 2008, he had $50,000 of his own debt in loans issued by SLM Corp., known as Sallie Mae, the largest private student lender. In December, he was laid off from his $29,000-a-year job in Boston and defaulted. Mr. Tellez says that when he signed up, the loan wasn't explained to him well, though he concedes he missed the fine print.

    Loan terms, including interest rates, are disclosed "multiple times and in multiple ways," says Martha Holler, a spokeswoman for Sallie Mae, who says the company can't comment on individual accounts. Repayment tools and account information are accessible on Sallie Mae's Web site as well, she says.

    Many borrowers say they are experiencing difficulties working out repayment and modification terms on their loans. Ms. Holler says that Sallie Mae works with borrowers individually to revamp loans. Although the U.S. Department of Education has expanded programs like income-based repayment, which effectively caps repayments for some borrowers, others might not qualify.

    Heather Ehmke of Oakland, Calif., renegotiated the terms of her subprime mortgage after her home was foreclosed. But even after filing for bankruptcy, she says she couldn't get Sallie Mae, one of her lenders, to adjust the terms on her student loan. After 14 years with patches of deferment and forbearance, the loan has increased from $28,000 to more than $90,000. Her monthly payments jumped from $230 to $816. Last month, her petition for undue hardship on the loans was dismissed.

    Sallie Mae supports reforms that would allow student loans to be dischargeable in bankruptcy for those who have made a good-faith effort to repay them, says Ms. Holler.

    Dr. Bisutti says she loves her work, but regrets taking out so many student loans. She admits that she made mistakes in missing payments, deferring her loans and not being completely thorough with some of the paperwork, but was surprised at how quickly the debt spiraled.

    She says she knew when she started medical school in 1999 that she would have to borrow heavily. But she reasoned that her future income as a doctor would make paying off the loans easy. While in school, her loans racked up interest with variable rates ranging from 3% to 11%.

    She maxed out on federal loans, borrowing $152,000 over four years, and sought private loans from Sallie Mae to help make up the difference. She also took out two loans from Wells Fargo & Co. for $20,000 each. Each had a $2,000 origination fee. The total amount she borrowed at the time: $250,000.

    In 2005, the bill for the Wells Fargo loans came due. Representatives from the bank called her father, Michael Bisutti, every day for two months demanding payment. Mr. Bisutti, who had co-signed on the loans, finally decided to cover the $550 monthly payments for a year.

    Wells Fargo says it will stop calling consumers if they request it, says senior vice president Glen Herrick, who adds that the bank no longer imposes origination fees on its private loans.

    Sallie Mae, meanwhile, called Mr. Bisutti's neighbor. The neighbor told Mr. Bisutti about the call. "Now they know [my dad's] daughter the doctor defaulted on her loans," Dr. Bisutti says.

    Ms. Holler, the Sallie Mae spokeswoman, says that the company may contact a neighbor to verify an individual's address. But in those cases, she says, the details of the debt obligation aren't discussed.

    Dr. Bisutti declined to authorize Sallie Mae to comment specifically on her case. "The overwhelming majority of medical-school graduates successfully repay their student loans," Ms. Holler says.

    After completing her fellowship in 2007, Dr. Bisutti juggled other debts, including her credit-card balance, and was having trouble making her $1,000-a-month student-loan payments. That year, she defaulted on both her federal and private loans. That is when the "collection cost" fee of $53,870 was added on to her private loan.

    Meanwhile, the variable interest rates continue to compound on her balance and fees. She recently applied for income-based repayment, but she still isn't sure if she will qualify. She makes $550-a-month payments to Wells Fargo for the two loans she hasn't defaulted on. By the time she is done, she will have paid the bank $128,000—over three times the $36,000 she received.

    She recently entered a rehabilitation agreement on her defaulted federal loans, which now carry an additional $31,942 collection cost. She makes monthly payments on those loans—now $209,399—for $990 a month, with only $100 of it going toward her original balance. The entire balance of her federal loans will be paid off in 351 months. Dr. Bisutti will be 70 years old.

    The debt load keeps her up at night. Her damaged credit has prevented her from buying a home or a new car. She says she and her boyfriend of three years have put off marriage and having children because of the debt.

    Dr. Bisutti told her 17-year-old niece the story of her debt as a cautionary tale "so the next generation of kids who want to get a higher education knows what they're getting into," she says. "I will likely have to deal with this debt for the rest of my life."

    Write to Mary Pilon at mary.pilon@wsj.com

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    Coast-to-coast double-digit college tuition hikes

    State budget deficits contribute to higher education costs

    Feb. 1, 2010

    SEATTLE - As students around the country anxiously wait for college acceptance letters, their parents are sweating the looming tuition bills at public universities.

    Florida college students could face yearly 15 percent tuition increases for years, and University of Illinois students will pay at least 9 percent more. The University of Washington will charge 14 percent more at its flagship campus. And in California, tuition increases of more than 30 percent have sparked protests reminiscent of the 1960s.

    Tuition has been trending upward for years, but debate in statehouses and trustee meeting rooms has been more urgent this year as most states struggle their way out of the economic meltdown.

    The College Board says families are paying about $172 to $1,096 more in tuition and fees this school year. The national average for 2009-2010 is about $7,020, not including room and board, according to the nonprofit association of colleges that oversees the SATs and Advanced Placement tests.

    Mike Sarb, a University of Illinois senior from suburban-Chicago Elk Grove Village, Ill., says money is a big concern for his blue-collar family scrambling to find the money to pay more than $20,000 for tuition, room and board.

    They are not pleased that university officials are likely to raise tuition 9 percent this summer.

    "They do complain that the school's taking advantage of people (by raising tuition)," Sarb said.

    But interim President Stanley Ikenberry says the school has run out of options. With a budget deficit expected to top $11 billion this year, the state of Illinois owes the university more than $430 million, money he doesn't expect to see any time soon.

    Florida on a long, rising road

    In some cases, one student's tuition disaster is another's bargain.

    State officials have told Florida students they can expect 15 percent tuition increases every year until tuition reaches the national average. That could be a long slog, as the state is starting its tuition realignment from a place other students envy — about $3,000 a year.

    In California, unprecedented budget cuts to higher education have led to huge fee increases at the state's two public university systems, as well as layoffs, furloughs, enrollment cuts and reduced course offerings.

    At the University of California, which has 10 campuses and about 220,000 students, in-state undergraduate fees in fall 2010 are set to reach $10,302 — 32 percent more than in fall 2009 and three times what California residents paid 10 years ago.

    But at California State University, the nation's largest public university system with 23 campuses and 450,000 students, resident undergraduate fees rose 32 percent from fall 2008 to fall 2009 to $4,026, which is nearly three times what students paid 10 years ago. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget proposal for 2010-2011 assumes that the system will raise fees another 10 percent in the coming academic year.

    "We're paying more and getting less," said Steve Dixon, a Humboldt State University senior who heads the California State Students Association.

    At the University of Washington, where tuition and fees are expected to pass $9,000 by the 2010-2011 school year, students are worried about threatened cuts in financial aid as well.

    "It's kind of a perfect storm for students," said Jono Hanks, a political science major from Everett, Wash., who is the UW student government lobbyist at the statehouse this quarter.

    Hanks lives at home, packs his lunch and pays tuition with work and about $4,000 in student loans a year. Others have told him they're looking for a second job and adding to their debt to keep up with this year's 14 percent tuition increase.

    "Some of them are even talking about dropping out for a few years so they can pay off the loans they have," Hanks said.

    The Seattle university expects to raise tuition another 14 percent next year. UW tuition used to double every decade. At 14 percent a year, it could double in five.

    Hanks is almost finished with school so he's not that concerned about his ability to pay for the last few quarters of his degree. But he does worry what barrier tuition increases will pose for his younger sister and brother, who are both in elementary school.

    Some exceptions to the new norm

    Other states have been more subtle in their budget balancing attempts.

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison is in the first year of a four-year tuition increase plan aimed at improving quality. In addition to statewide tuition increases of about 5.5 percent, in-state students at UW-Madison will pay an extra $250 a year each year.

    This year, tuition went up by $617 to $7,296 or about 9.2 percent, but financial aid increased at the same time.

    Still, few are complaining because the extra money — $100 million in the first four years and $40 million each year afterward — is reserved for providing more classes, improving student services and increasing need-based financial aid.

    The Georgia Board of Regents has suspended indefinitely its popular "Fixed for Four" guaranteed tuition program, which since 2006 has meant students have paid the same tuition rate annually for four years of college. A freshman at the University of Georgia this year pays $3,865 in tuition and fees per semester if they take between seven and 15 hours of classes.

    Some students are relieved at modest tuition increases this year, including 3.5 percent in Ohio, less than 5 percent in Pennsylvania, and 3.9 percent at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

    So far a few states, like Oklahoma and Missouri, have avoided tuition increases entirely. And the Oklahoma Legislature gave its state universities no reason to complain when it fulfilled the state higher education budget request.

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    U.S. Universities Rush to Set Up Outposts Abroad

    By TAMAR LEWIN - February 10, 2008

    When John Sexton, the president of New York University, first met Omar Saif Ghobash, an investor trying to entice him to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Sexton was not sure what to make of the proposal — so he asked for a $50 million gift.

    “It’s like earnest money: if you’re a $50 million donor, I’ll take you seriously,” Mr. Sexton said. “It’s a way to test their bona fides.” In the end, the money materialized from the government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates.

    Mr. Sexton has long been committed to building N.Y.U.’s international presence, increasing study-abroad sites, opening programs in Singapore, and exploring new partnerships in France. But the plans for a comprehensive liberal-arts branch campus in the Persian Gulf, set to open in 2010, are in a class by themselves, and Mr. Sexton is already talking about the flow of professors and students he envisions between New York and Abu Dhabi.

    The American system of higher education, long the envy of the world, is becoming an important export as more universities take their programs overseas.

    In a kind of educational gold rush, American universities are competing to set up outposts in countries with limited higher education opportunities. American universities — not to mention Australian and British ones, which also offer instruction in English, the lingua franca of academia — are starting, or expanding, hundreds of programs and partnerships in booming markets like China, India and Singapore.

    And many are now considering full-fledged foreign branch campuses, particularly in the oil-rich Middle East. Already, students in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar can attend an American university without the expense, culture shock or post-9/11 visa problems of traveling to America.

    At Education City in Doha, Qatar’s capital, they can study medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, international affairs at Georgetown, computer science and business at Carnegie Mellon, fine arts at Virginia Commonwealth, engineering at Texas A&M, and soon, journalism at Northwestern.

    In Dubai, another emirate, Michigan State University and Rochester Institute of Technology will offer classes this fall.

    “Where universities are heading now is toward becoming global universities,” said Howard Rollins, the former director of international programs at Georgia Tech, which has degree programs in France, Singapore, Italy, South Africa and China, and plans for India. “We’ll have more and more universities competing internationally for resources, faculty and the best students.”

    Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, internationalization has moved high on the agenda at most universities, to prepare students for a globalized world, and to help faculty members stay up-to-date in their disciplines.

    Overseas programs can help American universities raise their profile, build international relationships, attract top research talent who, in turn, may attract grants and produce patents, and gain access to a new pool of tuition-paying students, just as the number of college-age Americans is about to decline.

    Even public universities, whose primary mission is to educate in-state students, are trying to establish a global brand in an era of limited state financing.

    Partly, it is about prestige. American universities have long worried about their ratings in U.S. News and World Report. These days, they are also mindful of the international rankings published in Britain, by the Times Higher Education Supplement, and in China, by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

    The demand from overseas is huge. At the University of Washington, the administrator in charge of overseas programs said she received about a proposal a week. “It’s almost like spam,” said the official, Susan Jeffords, whose position as vice provost for global affairs was created just two years ago.

    Traditionally, top universities built their international presence through study-abroad sites, research partnerships, faculty exchanges and joint degree programs offered with foreign universities. Yale has dozens of research collaborations with Chinese universities. Overseas branches, with the same requirements and degrees as the home campuses, are a newer — and riskier — phenomenon.

    “I still think the downside is lower than the upside is high,” said Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania. “The risk is that we couldn’t deliver the same quality education that we do here, and that it would mean diluting our faculty strength at home.”

    While universities with overseas branches insist that the education equals what is offered in the United States, much of the faculty is hired locally, on a short-term basis. And certainly overseas branches raise fundamental questions:

    Will the programs reflect American values and culture, or the host country’s? Will American taxpayers end up footing part of the bill for overseas students? What happens if relations between the United States and the host country deteriorate? And will foreign branches that spread American know-how hurt American competitiveness?

    “A lot of these educators are trying to present themselves as benevolent and altruistic, when in reality, their programs are aimed at making money,” said Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who has criticized the rush overseas.

    David J. Skorton, the president of Cornell, on the other hand, said the global drive benefited the United States. “Higher education is the most important diplomatic asset we have,” he said. “I believe these programs can actually reduce friction between countries and cultures.”

    Tempering Expectations

    While the Persian Gulf campus of N.Y.U. is on the horizon, George Mason University is up and running — though not at full speed — in Ras al Khaymah, another one of the emirates.

    George Mason, a public university in Fairfax, Va., arrived in the gulf in 2005 with a tiny language program intended to help students achieve college-level English skills and meet the university’s admission standards for the degree programs that were beginning the next year.

    George Mason expected to have 200 undergraduates in 2006, and grow from there. But it enrolled nowhere near that many, then or now. It had just 57 degree students — 3 in biology, 27 in business and 27 in engineering — at the start of this academic year, joined by a few more students and programs this semester.

    The project, an hour north of Dubai’s skyscrapers and 7,000 miles from Virginia, is still finding its way. “I will freely confess that it’s all been more complicated than I expected,” said Peter Stearns, George Mason’s provost.

    The Ras al Khaymah campus has had a succession of deans. Simple tasks like ordering books take months, in part because of government censors. Local licensing, still not complete, has been far more rigorous than expected. And it has not been easy to find interested students with the SAT scores and English skills that George Mason requires for admissions.

    “I’m optimistic, but if you look at it as a business, you can only take losses for so long,” said Dr. Abul R. Hasan, the academic dean, who is from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. “Our goal is to have 2,000 students five years from now. What makes it difficult is that if you’re giving the George Mason degree, you cannot lower your standards.”

    Aisha Ravindran, a professor from India with no previous connection to George Mason, teaches students the same communications class required for business majors at the Virginia campus — but in the Arabian desert, it lands differently.

    Dr. Ravindran uses the same slides, showing emoticons and lists of nonverbal taboos to spread the American business ideal of diversity and inclusiveness. She emphasizes the need to use language that includes all listeners.

    And suddenly, there is an odd mismatch between the American curriculum and the local culture. In a country where homosexual acts are illegal, Dr. Ravindran’s slide show suggests using “partner” or “life partner,” since “husband” or “wife” might exclude some listeners. And in a country where mosques are ubiquitous, the slides counsel students to avoid the word “church” and substitute “place of worship.”

    The Ras al Khaymah students include Bangladeshis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Indians, Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians and more, most from families that can afford the $5,400-a-semester tuition. But George Mason has attracted few citizens of the emirates.

    The students say they love the small classes, diversity and camaraderie. Their dorm feels much like an American fraternity house, without the haze of alcohol. Some praise George Mason’s pedagogy, which they say differs substantially from the rote learning of their high schools.

    “At my local school in Abu Dhabi, it was all what the teachers told you, what was in the book,” said Mona Bar Houm, a Palestinian student who grew up in Abu Dhabi. “Here you’re asked to come up with your personal ideas.”

    But what matters most, they say, is getting an American degree. “It means something if I go home to Bangladesh with an American degree,” said Abdul Mukit, a business student. “It doesn’t need to be Harvard. It’s good enough to be just an American degree.”

    Whether that degree really reflects George Mason is open to question. None of the faculty members came from George Mason, although that is likely to change next year. The money is not from George Mason, either: Ras al Khaymah bears all the costs.

    Nonetheless, Sharon Siverts, the vice president in charge of the campus, said: “What’s George Mason is everything we do. The admissions are done at George Mason, by George Mason standards. The degree programs are Mason programs.”

    Seeking a Partnership

    Three years ago, Mr. Ghobash, the Oxford-educated investor from the United Arab Emirates, heard a presentation by a private company, American Higher Education Inc., trying to broker a partnership between Kuwait and an American university.

    Mr. Ghobash, wanting to bring liberal arts to his country, hired the company to submit a proposal for a gulf campus run by a well-regarded American university.

    American Higher Education officials said they introduced him to N.Y.U. Mr. Ghobash spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the company’s fees, talked with many N.Y.U. officials and paid for a delegation to visit the emirates before meeting Mr. Sexton, the university president, in June 2005.

    Mr. Sexton said he solicited the $50 million gift to emphasize that he was not interested in a business-model deal and that academic excellence was expensive. Mr. Ghobash declined to be interviewed. But according to American Higher Education officials, $50 million was more than Mr. Ghobash could handle.

    So when the agreement for the Abu Dhabi campus New York University was signed last fall, Mr. Ghobash and the company were out of the picture, and the government of Abu Dhabi — the richest of the emirates — was the partner to build and operate the N.Y.U. campus. The Executive Affairs Authority of Abu Dhabi made the gift in November 2007.

    “The crown prince shares our vision of Abu Dhabi becoming an idea capital for the whole region,” Mr. Sexton said. “We’re going to be a global network university. This is central to what N.Y.U. is going to be in the future.

    There’s a commitment, on both sides, to have both campuses grow together, so that by 2020, both N.Y.U. and N.Y.U.-Abu Dhabi will in the world’s top 10 universities.”

    Neither side will put a price tag on the plan. But both emphasize their shared ambition to create an entity central to the intellectual life not just of the Persian Gulf but also of South Asia and the Middle East.

    “We totally buy into John’s view of idea capitals,” said Khaldoon al-Mubarak, chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority. “This is not a commercially driven relationship. It’s a commitment to generations to come, to research. We see eye to eye. We see this as a Catholic marriage. It’s forever.”

    It is also, for New York University, a chance to grow, given Abu Dhabi’s promise to replace whatever the New York campus loses to the gulf.

    “If, say, 10 percent of the physics department goes there, they will pay to expand the physics department here by 10 percent,” Mr. Sexton said. “That’s a wonderful opportunity, and we think our faculty will see it that way and step up.”

    Mr. Sexton is leading the way: next fall, even before the campus is built, he plans to teach a course in Abu Dhabi, leaving New York every other Friday evening, getting to Abu Dhabi on Saturday, teaching Sunday and returning to his New York office Monday morning.

    “The crown prince loved the idea and said he wanted to take the class,” Mr. Sexton said. “But I said, ‘No, think how that would be for the other students.’ ”

    Uncharted Territory

    While the gulf’s wealth has drawn many American universities, others dream of China’s enormous population.

    In October, the New York Institute of Technology, a private university offering career-oriented training, opened a Nanjing campus in collaboration with Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and dozens of American universities offer joint or dual degrees through Chinese universities.

    Kean University, a public university in New Jersey, had hoped mightily to be the first with a freestanding undergraduate campus in China. Two years ago, Kean announced its agreement to open a branch of the university in Wenzhou in September 2007. Whether the campus will materialize remains to be seen. Kean is still awaiting final approval from China, which prefers programs run through local universities.

    “I’m optimistic,” said Dawood Farahi, Kean’s president. “I’m Lewis and Clark, looking for the Northwest Passage.”

    Beyond the geopolitical, there are other reasons, pedagogic and economic.

    “A lot of our students are internationally illiterate,” Dr. Farahi said. “It would be very good for them to have professors who’ve taught in China, to be able to study in China, and to have more awareness of the rest of the world. And I think I can make a few bucks there.” Under the accord, he said, up to 8 percent of the Wenzhou revenues could be used to support New Jersey.

    With state support for public universities a constant challenge, new financing sources are vital, especially for lesser-known universities. “It’s precisely because we’re third tier that I have to find things that jettison us out of our orbit and into something spectacular,” Dr. Farahi said.

    Possibilities and Alarms

    Most overseas campuses offer only a narrow slice of American higher education, most often programs in business, science, engineering and computers.

    Schools of technology have the most cachet. So although the New York Institute of Technology may not be one of America’s leading universities, it is a leading globalizer, with programs in Bahrain, Jordan, Abu Dhabi, Canada, Brazil and China.

    “We’re leveraging what we’ve got, which is the New York in our first name and the Technology in our last name,” said Edward Guiliano, the institute’s president. “I believe that in the 21st century, there will be a new class of truly global universities. There isn’t one yet, but we’re as close as anybody.”

    Some huge universities get a toehold in the gulf with tiny programs. At a villa in Abu Dhabi, the University of Washington, a research colossus, offers short courses to citizens of the emirates, mostly women, in a government job-training program.

    “We’re very eager to have a presence here,” said Marisa Nickle, who runs the program. “In the gulf, it’s not what’s here now, it’s what’s coming. Everybody’s on the way.”

    Some lawmakers are wondering how that rush overseas will affect the United States. In July, the House Science and Technology subcommittee on research and science education held a hearing on university globalization.

    Mr. Rohrabacher, the California lawmaker, raises alarms. “I’m someone who believes that Americans should watch out for Americans first,” he said. “It’s one thing for universities here to send professors overseas and do exchange programs, which do make sense, but it’s another thing to have us running educational programs overseas.”

    The subcommittee chairman, Representative Brian Baird, a Washington Democrat, disagrees. “If the U.S. universities aren’t doing this, someone else likely will,” he said. “I think it’s better that we be invited in than that we be left out.”

    Still, he said he worried that the foreign branches could undermine an important American asset — the number of world leaders who were students in the United States.

    “I do wonder,” he said, “if we establish many of these campuses overseas, do we lose some of that cross-pollination?”



    The quality of education these universities give to those over there is not the same as they give to their own citizens at home, just as (by law) US companies sell high quality stuff in US and low quality or less advanced stuff overseas. These educational institutions also play propaganda role of influencing the young minds to whatever ideology the west wants the next generation of people over there have. Which is why you will find many of them leaving Islam and becoming Atheists. Saudi is full of them, who are in "hiding" and post on FB about it.

    Last edited by islamirama; Mar-1-2015 at 05:37 PM.

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    In Oil-Rich Mideast, Shades of the Ivy League

    By TAMAR LEWIN - February 11, 2008

    DOHA, Qatar — On a hot October evening, hundreds of families flocked to the sumptuous Ritz Carlton here in this Persian Gulf capital for an unusual college fair, the Education City roadshow.

    Qataris, Bangladeshis, Syrians, Indians, Egyptians — in saris, in suits, in dishdashis, in jeans — came to hear what it takes to win admission to one of the five American universities that offer degrees at Education City, a 2,500-acre campus on the outskirts of Doha where oil and gas money pays for everything from adventurous architecture to professors’ salaries.

    Education City, the largest enclave of American universities overseas, has fast become the elite of Qatari education, a sort of local Ivy League. But the five American schools have started small, with only about 300 slots among them for next year’s entering classes. So there is a slight buzz of anxiety at the fair, which starts with a nonalcoholic cocktail hour, with fruit juices passed on silver trays as families circulate among the booths.

    “I just came to get my mind together,” said Rowea al-Shrem, a junior in a head-to-toe black abaya who came to the fair on her own. “I wanted to know what to expect, so I don’t go crazy next year.”

    At a time when almost every major American university is concerned with expanding its global reach, Education City provides a glimpse of the range of American expertise in demand overseas. Five universities have brought programs here, and more are on their way.

    Cornell’s medical school, which combines pre-med training and professional training over six years, will graduate the first Qatar-trained physicians this spring. Virginia Commonwealth University brought its art and design program to Qatari women 10 years ago and began admitting men this year. Carnegie Mellon offers computer and business programs.

    Texas A&M, the largest of the Education City schools, teaches engineering, with petroleum engineering its largest program. Georgetown’s foreign service school is the latest arrival. Soon, Northwestern University’s journalism program will come, too.

    When the crowd files into the ballroom to hear about the admission process — first in English, with Arabic translation available through headphones, then later in Arabic — what it hears is much the same as at an information session for a selective American college.

    “We want to see students who are passionate and dedicated,” Valerie Jeremijenko, Virginia Commonwealth’s dean of student affairs, tells the crowd. “It’s competitive, but don’t let that discourage you.”

    She sounds all the familiar themes: Work hard this year, so you can get great recommendations. Participate in extracurricular activities. Do not obsess about SAT scores, because we look at the whole person.

    Education City is so firmly ensconced as the gold standard here that many students apply to several of its schools, knowing that their career will be determined by where they are accepted.

    When Dana Hadan was a student at Doha’s leading girls’ science high school, she wanted to be a doctor and applied to Cornell’s medical school. But Cornell rejected her, and her parents did not want her to go to a medical school overseas. So Ms. Hadan enrolled instead in the business program at Carnegie Mellon.

    Now, as a third-year student, she is happily learning macroeconomics and marketing. “I was never interested in business, but now I’m passionate about it,” said Ms. Hadan, a lively 20-year-old.

    She never considered the locally run Qatar University: “I knew I wanted Education City,” she said.

    Admission standards, degree requirements and curriculum — complete, in most cases, with an introductory two years of broad liberal arts — at the Education City schools are the same as at the American home campuses. So is the philosophy of teaching.

    “There are lots of programs in different countries that are ‘kind of like,’ ‘in partnership with,’ or ‘inspired by’ American education,” said Charles E. Thorpe, the dean of Carnegie Mellon in Qatar. “But this is American education. And for many of our students, that’s a very big change. Almost all of them went to single-sex secondary schools. As recently as six years ago, the elementary reader in Qatar was the Koran, so students learned beautiful classical Arabic, but they had no experience with questions like ‘What do you think the author meant by that?’ or ‘Do you agree or disagree?’ ”

    Education City is in many ways a study in contradictions, an island of American-style open debate in what remains an Islamic monarchy, albeit a liberal one by regional standards. Education City graduates will be a broadly educated elite, who have had extended contact with American professors and American ways of thinking, and, in some cases, spent time at their school’s home campus back in the United States.

    Although it is still small and new, it could be a seedbed of change, with a profound impact on Qatar’s future and its relations with the United States — and perhaps, some Qatari parents worry, on their traditional way of life.

    Opportunities for Women

    Education City represents broad opportunities for women, in a nation where many families do not allow their daughters to travel overseas for higher education or to mix casually with men. Cornell stresses, proudly, that it was Qatar’s first coeducational institution of higher learning.

    The female students are very much aware of their new opportunities and the support they have received from Sheika Mozah Bint Nasser al-Missned, the emir’s second wife and a strong advocate of women’s education. She is chairwoman of the Qatar Foundation, which runs Education City.

    “I don’t want my father’s money or my husband’s money,” said Maryam al-Ibrahim, a 21-year-old second-year student at Virginia Commonwealth. “I want to work for a private company and be myself, and I would like to become someone important here.”

    Mais Taha, a Texas A&M petroleum-engineering student, glows as she talks about her classes, including Reservoir Fluids — hydrocarbons, she explains sweetly — and Drilling.

    “I’m one of the first Qatari girls willing to go out in the field and put on a coverall,” she said. “All the technicians were treating me as a princess, because I’d come in wearing an abaya, and then go out in overalls. And I can’t wait until I can go out and work on a rig.”

    No wonder, then, that some Qatari parents are wary of Education City. “I know some girls who applied here, and their parents said they were not supposed to be hanging out with guys, but when they came they realized they had to, because of homework and projects,” Ms. Hadan said.

    Carnegie Mellon feels like an American institution, with Mental Health Month posters on attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression, Starbucks and the student bake sale, where Reem Khaled, preparing a business project, sells Betty Crocker brownies and pineapple cake and surveys customer interest in healthier options.

    How much to localize the curriculum is an ongoing issue at the Education City schools, where officials sometimes find that problems and ideas transposed from America do not necessarily make much sense. “We had a problem that involved a boy whose after-school job was shoveling snow for so much an hour,” Mr. Thorpe said. The snow was not a problem, since Qataris had seen snow on television, he said. What was fundamentally unfamiliar was the concept of an after-school job.

    The Education City schools often mirror American campus culture: Texas A&M holds the Aggie Muster every April, just like the College Station, Tex., campus. And at Carnegie Mellon, Ms. Hadan, working with the student government, helped organize “Crazy Week,” culminating in Tartan Day, when students wear the Carnegie Mellon plaid. “Everyone has at least a T-shirt,” she said. But on Pajama Day, the divide between Qataris and non-Qataris, a majority of Carnegie Mellon’s students, became clearer than ever. Some non-Qatari students arrived in full sleep regalia, complete with fuzzy slippers and teddy bears.

    Ms. Hadan and the other Qataris remained in traditional dress, women in black abayas and head scarves, men in long white robes and headdresses. “Because of my culture, I couldn’t wear pajamas; it’s too embarrassing,” said Khalid al-Sooj, 19.

    For many Education City students, one big draw is the opportunity to visit the American home campus, whether for a semester or a few weeks.

    “I want to live that experience of studying abroad, because I believe it makes you grow,” said Ms. Hadan, who is spending the spring semester in Pittsburgh, with her parents’ blessing.

    Whether the job market will view Education City graduates the same as American graduates of the same schools is not yet clear. The big test is approaching, as Cornell’s inaugural class applies for its medical residencies.

    “We’re about to find out if they’re accepted the same as Cornell graduates in New York,” said Dr. Daniel Alonso, the dean of Weill Cornell medical school in Qatar. “They’ve been doing as well on the tests, but it remains to be seen.”

    Cornell graduates in New York typically apply for 20 or 30 residencies to sure that they get a place, Dr. Alonso said. But uncertainty among the Qatar graduates prompted Khalid al-Khelaifi to apply to more than 60 American residency programs, just to be safe.

    “We’re the first batch, so no one knows how we’ll do,” he said.Paying the Bills

    Education City is an expensive experiment, made possible by Qatar’s immense oil and gas wealth. For the Cornell medical school alone, the Qatar Foundation promised $750 million over 11 years.

    While American universities in other parts of the world look to tuition to support their overseas branches, the branches in Qatar depend on government largess: Qatar pays for the architecturally stunning classroom buildings, the faculty salaries and housing and transportation, and it has made multimillion-dollar gifts to the Education City universities.

    “Had the Qatar Foundation not been willing to provide the level of support it did, we wouldn’t have considered going beyond a study-abroad site,” said Mark Weichold, dean of Texas A&M in Qatar.

    Dr. Abdulla al-Thani, the Qatar Foundation’s vice president for education, declined to discuss specific gifts but said the foundation had often endowed chairs at the universities that have agreed to come to Education City.

    Probably the biggest hurdle for American universities in Qatar is getting the right number and mix of faculty members. Even with free housing, bonus pay and big tax advantages, few professors want to relocate to the Persian Gulf, so many schools depend in good part on “fly-bys” who come for three or four weeks from the United States to give a series of lectures.

    “We have half a dozen faculty who moved to Qatar, and 30 or 40 who go for a couple weeks,” said Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., dean of Weill Cornell Medical School in New York. “We’re trying to recruit as many faculty as possible who will stay over there. About 15 percent of our lectures are through videoconferencing and ideally, I’d like to get that down to 5 percent.”

    While the Qatar branches have a natural attraction for certain professors — Texas A&M’s petroleum engineers, say, or Georgetown’s experts in Middle Eastern politics — the Gulf does not interest everyone.

    “You don’t get the full range of faculty here,” said Lynn Carter, a computer-science professor in his 19th year at Carnegie Mellon and his second of a three-year contract to teach in Qatar. “You get a lot of people at the end of their careers. It’s not good for young faculty with mortgages and young kids and tenure hopes. Coming to Qatar, where you don’t have graduate students and research grants, does you no good for getting tenure.”

    While each Education City school offers a specialized program, Qatar hopes to meld them into a new entity, almost like a university whose departments are all independent. Students are encouraged to cross-register, so that Texas A&M’s engineering students can take art classes at Virginia Commonwealth.

    “Personally, I like what the liberal arts do in the United States, but if you look at what our country needs right now, we need people trained in the oil and gas areas, we need doctors, we need media, so those are the programs we are bringing in,” said Dr. Thani, of the Qatar Foundation. “Now we are trying to create synergy between the different schools on campus, so it will offer more of what a large university would offer.”

    In a nation where many Qataris, with their maids and drivers, live quite apart from the non-Qataris who make up most of the population, Education City mixes students of all nationalities. About half of the students are Qataris, and while they have some advantages — including a yearlong academic program to bolster the skills of those seeking admission — the Qatar Foundation supports non-Qataris, too, forgiving tuition loans to those who stay to work in Qatar after getting their degree.

    “We think diversity is something very good, and we do not want to reduce our standards to admit more Qataris,” Dr. Thani said.

    Opening Young Minds

    Many Education City students are excited by their exposure to the broad array of cultures and new ways of thinking. At Georgetown, for example, “The Problem of God,” a required course, is immensely popular.

    “It was amazing,” said Ibrahim al-Derbasti, a Qatari student. “We had Christians, Muslims, Hindus and an atheist. We talked about the difference between faith and religion. I had lived in Houston for four years, but I never understood the Trinity. Now I get it. Well, I don’t really get how Jesus is the son of God, but I understand the idea.”

    In Gary Wasserman’s “U.S. Political Systems” course at Georgetown, a class on the 1977 litigation over neo-Nazis’ right to demonstrate in Skokie, Ill., quickly took a different course than it might have in an American classroom, with more students concerned with the problems of unfettered free speech. “It’s complicated, because in protecting civil liberties of one group you might be taking away the civil rights of others,” said Tara Makarem, a Lebanese-Syrian student, who had been troubled by the Danish publication of anti-Muslim cartoons in 2006.

    And, a Saudi freshman wondered, if the A.C.L.U. defended the Nazis’ right to express hateful views in Skokie, why did no one protect Don Imus — he called him “Amos” — from losing his radio job for making racially offensive remarks of a kind accepted in rap lyrics?

    Professor Wasserman, who previously taught in China, tried to find answers, talking about commercial pressures on broadcasters.

    But Mohammed, the Saudi student who did not want his full name used, was still puzzled. “It’s almost like they added another thing to the Bill of Rights, the right for every American not to be offended,” he mused.

    Such discussions make Qatar an invigorating place to teach, Professor Wasserman said.

    “They come up with questions you hadn’t thought of,” he said. “You see how much they want to be a part of a globalized world, but you also see that they don’t want to have to give up their faith, their family, their traditions. And why should they?”

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    Refusing to Stomp on Jesus’s Name Gets Student Banned From Class

    by Jenny Erikson - March 26, 2013

    Florida Atlantic University has recently come under fire due to a class activity in which students were asked to write “Jesus” on a piece of paper, put it on the floor in front of them, and stomp on it. It was supposed to teach something about culture and symbolism, and came from an official instructor’s manual.

    Apparently this made several students uncomfortable, but one actually spoke out about the insulting and offensive nature of the assignment. Ryan Rotela, a devout Mormon, says he picked up the paper and put it back on his desk. “I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” he told a local news station.

    Rotela complained to the instructor’s supervisor -- and was subsequently suspended from class!

    The University issued an apology last Friday night, and stated that no students were forced to participate in the stomping. They also denied that anyone was punished. The prepared statement read:

    “We can confirm that no student has been expelled, suspended, or disciplined by the University as a result of any activity that took place during this class.”

    Except that according to a letter written by Associate Dean Rozalia Williams, Rotela has been charged with several violations of the student code of conduct, and has been barred from attending the class or even communicating with other involved with the situation. According to the letter, Rotela engaged in “acts of verbal, written or physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or other conduct which threatens the health, safety, or welfare of any person.”

    “In the interim, you may not attend class or contact any of the students involved in this matter -- verbally or electronically -- or by any other means,” Williams wrote to Rotela. “Please be advised that a Student Affairs hold may be placed on your records until final disposition of the complaint.”

    That seems in direct conflict with the official statement from the school saying that no one had been disciplined as a result of this incident. I’m pretty sure that being told you’ve engaged in acts of violence for refusing to stomp on Jesus is some sort of reprimand or punishment.

    Rotela claims the “threatening language” referred to in the letter occurred when he told the professor, “Don’t do that again,” and said, “You’ll be hearing from me.”

    The school could not be reached for further comment or clarification.


    This "education" is how the enemies of God try to drive people away from religion by belittling and mocking it.

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    Muslim Students Association Finds Possible Listening Device In Prayer Room

    FIUSM Staff - March 11th, 2014

    A Miami New Times blog post by Kyle Swenson reported that on February 9, 2013, Islamic students at FIU found a listening device in their prayer room on GC 343, prompting a response from the Muslim Student Association.

    The MSA’s Facebook post states that the organization feels that “it is incumbent upon [them] to speak up against what is seemingly an unchecked polarization of the Muslim community at large”, given that a related incident occurred in New York, where the NYPD is said to have spied on MSA chapters in the area.

    The post also states that “the discovery of a listening device does not only concern the Muslim student population at Florida International University but raises a matter of importance in regards to the very credibility of the organization.” It goes on further to state that the MSA is of the conviction that the device’s placement “evidently accounts for a form of espionage intended to take place in the room.”

    According to Swenson, Nazar Hamze, the regional operations director for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), confirmed with a local spy store employee that the device is indeed one used for listening purposes. The Miami New Times also mentions that several students have reported being questioned by the FBI due to a money-funneling incident involving the Flagler Mosque’s imam.

    However, the MSA said that it did not wish to make any assumptions about who placed the device, claiming that it would “only lead to closed ends.” Instead, the organization said that it felt as though the rights of Islamic students have not been protected in this particular case.

    Hamze and Swenson both claim that the FIU Police Department and the University’s president were not available to comment. The investigation is ongoing.



    Muslims, anything you say anywhere can and will be twisted to use against you.

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    Claims of bias fuel TN textbook battle

    Bill would change way state approves books for schools

    Feb. 22, 2014

    A fight over content in Tennessee’s social studies textbooks is part of an emerging national effort by groups who believe God commands Christians to support the nation of Israel and that Islamic radicals are the biggest problem in America.

    In Volusia County, Fla., a November school board meeting was canceled over safety concerns after textbook protesters showed up with anti-Islam signs. In January, representatives for ACT! for America and other anti-Islam groups vowed to fight on after the Alabama Board of Education dismissed allegations that 11 textbooks on the state’s social studies materials list were unfairly tilted toward Islam.

    After school boards in Williamson and Sumner counties dismissed debates over textbook content, parents successfully requested a bill that would change textbook adoption at the state level. Instead of the governor appointing nine of the 10 textbook commission members — the education commissioner is the 10th — the bill would divide appointments among the governor and the speakers of the state House and Senate, which supporters say will bring in a diversity of viewpoints.

    But more disturbing to some is language lower in the bill that insists textbooks reflect “the values of the citizens of this state as manifested in the United States Constitution, the Constitution of Tennessee and other foundational documents of this nation’s republican form of government.” Opponents, including the American Center for Outreach — formed after another anti-Islam bill was proposed three years ago — wonder who will decide what those values are.

    Last summer, Lisa Moore of Christiana and a member of ACT! for America wrote a guest column about the issue in The Reader, a Murfreesboro-based community newspaper.

    “If you’re OK with your children/grandchildren being taught extreme Islamic Bias and indoctrination ... ignore the fact that your children’s minds are being stolen right out from under your nose and it is all indeed part of the grand design to bring this country and everything it stands for to its knees,” it read.

    Moore is a plaintiff in a lawsuit that seeks to stop construction of the Murfreesboro Islamic Center. It’s been unsuccessful so far and has cost Rutherford County more than $343,000 to defend, including in the current attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it.

    Moore declined an interview request but has been vocal in her role as director of Tennessee Textbook Advocates, which invites people to submit their own textbook reviews. Some reviewers carefully count out the number of references to Islam compared with Christianity and Judaism. One complains about a quote from ancient Muslim writer Abd Al-Latif in the Holt McDougal high school textbook “Ancient World History: Patterns of Interaction” but says nothing about a section on the Apostle Paul’s role in Christianity and a quote from Augustine, a Christian theologian who was later sainted.

    “It would be hilarious if it weren’t so serious, because it’s absolutely absurd,” said Sara Mitchell, a concerned Murfreesboro parent who has waded into a school board fray there. “We can never have 100 percent accuracy, so we should strive to find errors and correct them. We do need community input.

    “(But) this is an attempt to replace perceived bias with very real bias.”

    Vote baffles Casada

    The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said he was baffled by a 9-3 Williamson County school board vote Monday to oppose his bill. He said he received no outside input in writing it, working alongside other elected officials, and it has nothing to do with arguments about Islam.

    “I can’t imagine anyone articulating that at all. It’s pro-parent, pro-transparency, period,” he said.

    One of his constituents, Laurie Cardoza-Moore, a special envoy to the United Nations and president of Christian Zionist group Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, said she took her cause to Casada after noticing what she characterized as anti-Semitic passages in Tennessee textbooks and a reported uptick in anti-Semitism among students.

    The values cited in the bill, she said, are Judeo-Christian, and if books have more pages on Islam than Christianity, children may believe that’s the world’s biggest religion. It’s actually the second largest.

    As Christians, we are the wild branch connected to the olive tree,” Cardoza-Moore said, quoting a passage in the biblical book of Romans about Jews and Gentiles. “We have a biblical responsibility to defend and stand with the nation of Israel in her war on terror.”

    But the Christian Zionist movement goes further and includes an apocalyptic narrative that favors a Christian and Jewish alliance over the Islamic nations surrounding Israel, said Richard McGregor, an associate professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in Islam but isn’t an adherent.

    “Political Islam and Islamic extremists are an issue in parts of the Islamic world,” McGregor said. “The way to deal with this threat is not to overstate it numerically, but remind ourselves that it’s only healthy, supported, thriving, integrated Muslim communities that are going to be successful in mitigating, challenging and resisting the most extreme voices that try to turn young American Muslims.”

    The bill was up for a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Education Committee, but that was delayed.



    Walk into an English/Language Arts class in a school and you will find plenty of reading books that are anti-Islam and pro-war against Muslims. These Islamophobes want that to continue in the social studies textbook, a book that every student will have to read. These Islamophobes are afraid that if students learn the truth about Islam then they won't believe the lies and the propaganda that is published and/or broadcasted.

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    Westfield State University class plans protest at West Springfield High School after 3 Muslim sisters said they were bullied

    By Jack Flynn - April 10, 2014

    Students at Westfield State University are planning to picket West Springfield High School to protest what three sisters called a pattern of anti-Islamic bullying by students and inaction by school officials.

    The sisters – Najma, Hibo and Filsan Hussein, all of West Springfield - gave their account of verbal and physical abuse to a class at Westfield State taught by associate professor Kamal Ali, who is also vice president of the Islamic Society of Western Mass.

    Following the session, more than 30 students signed up to stage a protest at the high school in the next few weeks, Ali said. “It’s a question of the day and time; we know the place,” the professor said.

    West Springfield Superintendent of Schools Russell Johnston said in an interview earlier he could not comment on specific cases, but said the school system has strict anti-bullying policies and multiple programs designed to prevent, investigate and resolve bullying complaints.

    “We take every allegation of bullying very seriously and we absolutely investigate and take appropriate action,” he said.

    Two of the Hussein sisters are seniors at West Springfield High School and a third, Filsan, transferred to a private school last year following a fight in school cafeteria.

    Born in Kenya to a family of Somalia immigrants, the sisters arrived in Baltimore in 2000 before moving to Holyoke and finally West Springfield in 2004.

    As young children, they knew nothing about the 9/11 attacks, the United States war in Iraq and Afghanistan or Islam’s broader global struggles, they said.

    “We are not related to Saddam Hussein,” Filsan Hussein told the class.

    “We didn’t even know what one (a Saddam Hussein) was,” she added.

    Still, by choosing to wear traditional Muslim headscarves to school, the girls might as well have been radical Muslims in the eyes of many students, they said.

    “We were called terrorists, suicide bombers, towel-heads” and other insults, said Najma Hussein, adding the sisters also suffered routine physical abuse, from being pushed, tripped and punched to having their headscarves pulled off.

    School officials were aware of the bullying, and made periodic, if ineffectual, attempts to end it, the girls said.

    “Their attitude was if the (headscarves) are the problem, then don’t wear them,” Najma Hussein said.

    The hostility culminated in a fight in the school cafeteria between Filsan Hussein and another girl in March 2012 that led to assault charges being filed against Hussein in Springfield District Court.

    The assault charge was eventually dropped, but related public disruption charges against the other two sisters are still pending, Ali said.

    A videotape of the fight will be a crucial piece of evidence in the case, according to Ali and Springfield lawyer Mickey Harris, who also spoke to the class.

    Harris said the girls treatment at West Springfield High School raises larger legal issues.

    West Springfield High School Principal Michael J. Richard also attended the class. When several students questioned his presence, he said he wanted to hear the girls' stories as well as suggestions on how their problems could be resolved.


    Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion... (Quran 2:120)

    They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse. (Quran 3:118)

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    Almost Half of Calif. Muslim Students Report Bullying

    19 December 2013

    The California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA) today released a first-of-its-kind report documenting bias-based bullying of American Muslim students in that state's schools.

    The new report, "Growing in Faith: California Muslim Youth Experiences with Bullying, Harassment and Religious Accommodation in Schools," reveals that nearly half of Muslim students say they have been subjected to some form of bias-based bullying. The findings are based on a statewide survey of almost 500 Muslim students, ages 11 to 18. They were asked questions about their relationships with peers and teachers, as well as their comfort levels participating in discussions about Islam and Muslims.

    The report found that approximately one in five young women reported being bullied because they wore an Islamic headscarf (hijab) to school. Additionally, one in five youth reported they were unsure of participating in classroom discussions in which Islam or Muslims are discussed and were unsure of whether teachers respected their religion. More than one-third of bullying victims surveyed indicated that reporting harassment incidents to school administrators was not helpful.

    "Being called 'terrorist' or 'Bin laden' is still a reality for many American Muslim students," said CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager Fatima Dadabhoy. "Throughout the course of this study, we were alarmed to find that many Muslim students didn't even deem this as a form of bullying. Through this report, we hope to show that a decision to dismiss mistreatment as a natural consequence of being Muslim in America, or simply part of growing up, is unacceptable and normalizes a toxic school environment."

    "Too often we find that parents and teachers don't know how to adequately address bias-based bullying of American Muslim students," said Rachel Roberts, civil rights coordinator for CAIR's Northern California offices. "We hope this report will shed light on the resources available to parents, teachers, and students in order to effectively and proactively address school bullying."

    The report also shares anecdotes from CAIR-CA's case files to highlight the problems reported to the civil rights organization's offices and includes information about recent changes to the law because of high-profile cases of extreme school bullying.

    Additionally, the report provides information for parents about how to request religious accommodation for their child and a list of resources that parents can use to learn more about the issues children face at school.

    CAIR also offers a booklet, called "An Educator's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices," designed to help school officials provide a positive learning environment for Muslim students.

    CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.



    How will Muslim youth have self-confidence and high self-esteem when they are bullied and abused at schools?! What is the worth of such an education that destroys the Muslim child as a human being?! Homeschooled children have higher self-esteem, intelligence, and respect for themselves. They graduate sooner and prosper in their careers far more than students of a public (failed) school system.

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    Saudi Muslim Woman Beaten and Stabbed to Death in UK

    by Paul Peachey Author Biography - 18 June 2014

    Detectives are investigating whether a Saudi student was murdered in a frenzied knife attack because her traditional Islamic dress marked her out as a Muslim.

    The woman, a student in her early 30s, was wearing a hijab and a full-length navy blue robe, called an abaya, when she was knifed to death on a footpath in Colchester on Tuesday morning. She died at the scene from injuries to her head and body, said police.

    The victim, who has not been named, arrived in Britain several months ago with her younger brother to study at Essex University, according to a fellow student.

    The Saudi ambassador to Britain, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, has spoken with the victim’s brother to express his condolences, the embassy said in a statement. The ambassador asked officials “to stand by the family of the deceased, and provide them with all necessary things in these circumstances”.

    Nothing was stolen from the woman and police have asked residents living on the nearby Greenstead estate to check their bins for a discarded weapon. “We are also conscious the dress of the victim will have identified her as likely being a Muslim and this is one of the main lines of the investigation but again there is no firm evidence at this time that she was targeted because of her religion,” said Detective Superintendent Tracy Hawkings. A 52-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and was being held at a police station last night.

    The university has a multinational population with more than 200 Saudi nationals, according to students. The Student Union has its own Saudi society to help members with “culture shock” and to promote the country’s culture, according to its website.

    Students said there had been few previous problems with racism off campus but concerns were raised about crime around the estate where the woman was killed. The area has a number of student flats. The university said yesterday it was running a shuttle bus to areas off campus during the evening for concerned students. Police said there were extra patrols in the area.

    “It’s a very big incident especially since it took place during the day and not at night,” said Abdul Razak, a linguistics student. “I know it’s a dangerous area.”

    Officers are also looking at possible links with the murder of James Attfield, a vulnerable man with brain damage, who died after being stabbed more than 100 times at a park in the town in March.

    “There are some immediate similarities between this murder and that of James Attfield but there are also a large number of differences as well,” said the detective. “There is no current known motive for this attack and we are keeping an open mind and exploring all possible avenues of investigation.”

    In a statement, the university said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young woman who died and we are deeply saddened by this tragic incident.”


    Muslim Woman Beaten and Stabbed to Death

    A 52-year-old man is arrested after the woman, who has not been identified, was killed in a suspected knife attack.

    18 June 2014

    A woman has died after being attacked in Colchester - and police say her full Muslim dress and veil may have been a factor.

    The woman, who has not yet been identified, was walking on the town's Salary Brook Trail at 10.40am on Tuesday when she was violently beaten and attacked with a knife or other bladed weapon.

    Paramedics tried to save her but she died at the scene from injuries to her head and body. Essex Police have said the woman, who was in her 30s, was wearing a dark navy blue full length robe (known as an Abaya) and a patterned multi-colored Hijab headscarf.

    A 52-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident.

    Detectives want to hear from anyone who used the trail between 8.30am and 11am on the day of the killing.

    They have also asked residents to check their gardens and rubbish bins for any discarded weapons or blood stained clothing.

    A post-mortem examination is due to take place on Wednesday afternoon.

    Anyone with any information should contact the major investigation team on 01245 282103, Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.



    Meanwhile, The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) expressed its unparalleled sorrow that a member of the Muslim student community was murdered.

    FOSIS President, Omar Ali, said, “My heart sank today after hearing the traumatising news that an innocent life had been brutally snatched away. This is the saddest piece of information I have had the displeasure of receiving in all my years of activism in the student sector. Our sincere prayers are with our sister who has passed away and we extend our deepest condolences to her family.”

    Omar Ali continued: “This isn’t the first attack on a Muslim student and certainly is not the last on a member of the Muslim community in the UK. We will naturally wait for all evidence to become clear – however, if the attack turns out to be Islamophobic in nature because of her visibly Muslim appearance, then it will correlate with the disturbing exponential increase in hate crimes against Muslims here in the UK.

    “It is high time that those politicians, commentators and institutions that espouse pernicious narratives about Muslims and Islam take responsibility for the dire consequences of their words – which may have, in this case, led to the merciless murder of an innocent Muslim student.”

    With the continued rise in hate crimes against Muslims, FOSIS encourages all Muslim students, especially women, to remain vigilant of their surroundings to maintain their safety.



    Saudi Arabia has a number of women only and (even a) mixed gender universities in the country, and the Arabs have spent millions of dollars to open foreign (American) universities in the Arab world, so it is quite stupid of the Arabs to leave their lands and go to the West; especially when everyone knows of the hatred and attacks towards Muslims in western lands. It's not for education these people go overseas, since they already have schools in their lands, it's other reasons.

    "Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you (O Muhammad) till you follow their religion. Say: "Verily, the Guidance of Allah (i.e. Islamic Monotheism) that is the (only) Guidance." (Quran 2:120)

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    Survey: Rapes not investigated at 2 in 5 colleges


    WASHINGTON (AP) — A survey of colleges and universities finds a lack of coordination between many campuses and local law enforcement in handling sexual assaults, and that many schools have gone years without investigating such cases.

    About 40 percent of colleges and universities reported not having conducted a sexual assault investigation in the past five years, including 6 percent of the nation's largest public institutions. More than 20 percent of large, private schools conducted fewer investigations than the number of incidents reported to the Education Department.

    Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., a former prosecutor whose office conducted the survey, said parents and taxpayers should be concerned about the number of investigations.

    "On first blush, a parent would think that's good, they don't have a problem with sexual assault on their campus, but it's not good, it's very bad because that means they are either in denial or incompetent," McCaskill said.

    Federal law requires every institution that knows about a sexual violence incident to investigate, she noted. She said schools should investigate even if the end result is that the victim isn't participating and there's no corroboration. Under some estimates, 1 in 5 college females is assaulted.

    The prevalence of sexual assaults on college campuses took on new focus in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky case at Penn State and after a high-profile battle on Capitol Hill about military sexual assault led college campus assault victims to demand the same attention.

    Meanwhile, the Education Department and a White House task force on campus sexual assault have taken a series of steps to draw attention to the treatment of sexual assault victims and force campuses to address the problem.

    In Congress, McCaskill is part of a group of senators exploring ways to address the issue legislatively. She said the survey was needed so they had a better grasp of how campuses handle such cases.

    McCaskill said the senators are looking at ways to empower victims, simplify laws and rules colleges and universities follow and find ways that campuses and local authorities can better coordinate. She chairs a subcommittee with jurisdiction over Title IX, which prohibits gender discrimination at institutions receiving federal funds.

    Ada Meloy, general counsel of the American Council on Education, which represents college presidents, said if victims want to maintain confidentiality, it is "extremely difficult to conduct an investigation." She said many college officials want to work more with local authorities, but local authorities are hesitant to take such cases because they are difficult to successfully prosecute.

    Meloy said her organization is disappointed by the report and says it fails to describe how hard colleges and universities are working to address the problem under a complex and confusing set of federal guidelines and laws.

    About 40 percent of schools said they have sworn law enforcement officers on campus, while many others have private security and about half rely on local authorities. Thirty percent said campus police and security guards aren't required by law or institutional policy to be trained to respond to reports of sexual violence.

    Only about a quarter of the schools said they have written protocols between campus and local authorities for handling such cases.

    Most schools said they use a "team" response to reports of sexual assault, but only about a quarter incorporate the local prosecutor's office on the team.

    Among the other findings:

    —More than 20 percent of respondents provide no sexual assault training for all faculty and staff.
    —More than 30 percent of schools do not provide sexual assault training for students.
    —About half of the participating colleges and universities do not provide a hotline for sexual assault victims.
    —About 16 percent of respondents conduct "climate surveys" to gauge the number of such cases that are going unreported.
    —About 10 percent said they don't have a Title IX coordinator.

    "Many institutions continually violate the law and fail to follow best practices in how they handle sexual violence," McCaskill said.

    The findings come from a survey of 440 four-year colleges and universities of different sizes with 236 colleges and universities responding. Participating schools weren't named.


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    Islamophobia: the new norm on campus

    The rise of Islamophobia and how this is affecting a Muslim experience of University

    by Asif Mohammed - 1st February 2015

    Earlier this week I came across the words "Kill Islam Before It Kills You" in big, red graffiti. How did I feel? A little shocked, I wasn't expecting it. A little upset, that was expected. A part of me just shrugged.

    The initial reaction is to ignore it, or to pretend you're ignoring it. That you're desensitized: it doesn't matter, it happens all the time. It's normal now. But then you can't ignore it, because it's all around you. Every time you come back onto campus, you're reminded of it. When you're trying to focus, it's that nagging thought in the back of your head that keeps coming back. And there's the constant question that you ask yourself: do I belong here?

    I thought the days of the '70s when our grandparents were harassed and hounded on the streets by screaming skinheads were long gone. On campus, where I'm supposed to feel safe, there are people who actively call for the killing of people like me. I came to University to get an education, not to be the object of vitriol hate.

    Like many Muslim students on campus I go through times when I feel isolated from the wider student body, though, thankfully, I don't have it as worse as others. I have a good group of friends and a family I can go back to when the day's over. For others, students that have moved miles for the "University experience" at a University billed to be in a "vibrant, multi-cultural" city, it can be awful.

    Islamophobia has passed Lady Warsi's "dinner-table test" and become socially acceptable. A student survey in 2013 showed 40% of UoB students "don't trust Muslims". That hasn't gone away. It isn't just walking to lectures and being met by look after look of distrust and fear, it's things like having your flatmates chanting "Paki!" in the kitchen. It's things like being made the butt of every joke about terrorism. Or being told you need saving from a forced marriage.

    Often the perpetrators are people we know: friends, flatmates, people on your course. But it's said with a smile so Mohammed won't mind because it's "banter". As long as racism is casualized, it's fine. It isn't.

    Islam is an easy target and a cheap shot for people. It's easy. It's easy to whip up hysteria about things like halal meat. Yet I won't see the same people refraining from buying into factory farming from a Selly Oak takeaway. Where's the concern for animal rights then? It is pure and simple two-faced hypocrisy.

    The jumping onto bandwagons bashing Islam isn't just offensive to Muslims, but also to the campaigners who have their issues appropriated.

    Islamophobia on campus is a serious issue that the vast majority of the student community doesn't want to face up to. This is saddening because with all the talk about campus being inclusive, the people who make up campus simply don't care about the issues we face.


    "Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their religion..." (Quran 2:120)

    "They desire to harm you severely. Hatred has already appeared from their mouths, but what their breasts conceal is far worse." (Quran 3:118)

    "They want to put out the Light of Allah (Islam) with their mouths. But Allah will complete His Light even though the disbelievers hate it." (Quran 61:8)

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    University Demands Students, Faculty Submit Invasive Sexual History Survey

    Students are concerned for their privacy, as the data is going through a third-party site.

    By Sage Lazzaro - 9/2014

    Students and faculty at Clemson University in South Carolina recently opened their emails to find that they must complete a sexual history survey or face disciplinary action.

    The survey — which asks invasive questions such as, “How many times have you had sex (including oral) in the last three months?” and “With how many different people have you had sex (including oral) in the last three months?” — is part of an hour long Title IX training course that must be completed by November 1 to avoid violation of the Code of Conduct, according to Campus Reform.

    Campus Reform updated their report to reflect that the university has temporarily suspended the training course, but while it was active and mandatory, students had many concerns about privacy.

    The school claims they are not analyzing the data or doing anything with it, so students are left wondering why it’s being collected in the first place. Additionally, the survey is hosted through a third-party site, so even if the school won’t be touching the data, it’s impossible to know who else might access it.

    Students are concerned because the information will be linked to their full names, student IDs, email addresses, and housing information — all of which are used to log into the training course. While select questions include an “anonymous” bar across the top, it’s hard to believe it actually is after entering several pieces of personal information.

    “I don’t understand why the university has a right to mandate this as forcible information when it’s so private, it’s personal, and no one should have to give that up,” J. David Woodard, a professor of political science at Clemson, told Campus Reform. “It’s so much of a disconnect from what we know this campus to be.”

    For now, students are not taking the survey, but it’s unclear if the course will open again, as is the fate of the data that has already been collected.



    An educational institution's purpose is to provide education, be get all personal in private lives of others. Whose paying for this information to be gathered? how much is the guy calling the shots being paid?

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    Three rape victims come forward to expose cover-ups of sexual assault at University of Montana: Bestselling author Jon Krakauer reveals explosive claims in his new book

    May 7, 2015

    Krakauer has made a brand out of his I’m-not-here-to-make-friends reporting. His books have excoriated Everest climbers, unmasked the Mormon church, and lambasted Greg Mortenson for fabricating parts of Three Cups of Tea. But it’s usually in service of what he sees as an important cause.

    His latest work is no exception. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town ($29, Doubleday) is a page-turning primer on acquaintance rape—the most underreported crime in America—and a revealing account of a sexual assault crisis at the University of Montana from 2008 to 2012. Missoula’s poor response to these rapes led to national scrutiny and a yearlong Department of Justice investigation.

    “It’s not always an easy read,” says Theroux, who is donating proceeds from the book’s sales to two local sexual assault response centers. “There are some tough sections. But I think it has achieved the goal of starting a discussion about rape on college campuses and what communities should do to help.”

    That discussion began in February, when news broke that Krakauer was releasing a book about rape in Missoula, titled Missoula. The town of 70,0000 in western Montana is accustomed to recognition for being an outdoorsman’s paradise; to be branded as a case study in campus rape was something new. Even before it was released, the book was stirring up plenty of local ire.

    Last night, Krakauer faced the town for the first time since the book’s release. The ballroom of the Doubletree Hotel was filled to capacity with more than 600 people—including a few of the prosecutors, detectives, and lawyers Krakauer wrote about—as he answered questions from Larry Abramson, dean of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism. Krakauer may have expected a tide of detractors, but the audience gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced.

    Abramson asked Krakauer why he chose to write about rape in Missoula when he could have written about his own hometown, Boulder, where the University of Colorado is under federal investigation for the way the University of Colorado handled sexual violence complaints. “I wish someone would write a book about Boulder,” Krakauer said. “I like Missoula. It’s a wonderful town. It didn’t seem like this town would be so defensive.”

    Krakauer said he set out to write about sexual assault after learning that a family friend had been raped by an acquaintance. He was tracking rape cases around the country and came to Missoula to attend the sentencing of Beau Donaldson, a University of Montana football player who pled guilty to raping his childhood friend, Allison Huguet.

    “I was riveted,” Krakauer said. “She was so courageous. I literally wanted to stand up and cheer.” He knew he could write a short book about that case alone. But once he started digging, he found a pattern of rape cases falling through the cracks of the justice system. “There were good people making bad decisions, there were bad people making bad decisions,” he said. “I wanted to tell the victims’ view.”

    More @ http://www.outsideonline.com/1978156...-rape-missoula

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    DeVry University agrees to pay $100 million settlement for misleading students

    BOSTON — The DeVry University for-profit college chain and its parent company are paying $100 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging the school misled students.

    DeVry and the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced a settlement to a lawsuit the commission brought in January.

    The FTC alleged DeVry deceived students in its advertisements, including in a claim that 90% of DeVry graduates landed jobs in their fields within six months of graduation.

    A statement from DeVry says the company denies wrongdoing but is pleased the case is being resolved.

    DeVry will pay $49 million to students harmed by the ads and will forgive more than $50 million in student loans and debt.

    FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez says people shouldn't be misled when making important decisions about their future.


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    UK: Bradford students protest against sexual harassment of women


    STUDENTS of both sexes are today protesting against the regular sexual harassment that women face around the campuses of Bradford University and Bradford College.

    The Reclaim Your Campus event comes as a recent survey of students has shown that Great Horton Road is viewed by many as a hot spot for harassment and intimidation, including men shouting obscene suggestions from passing cars and leering over passing women from the early morning.

    The demonstration will tie in with the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and follows a similar event last year where hundreds of people marched through the city centre to City Park to "reclaim the night."

    This year the focus is on the University and Bradford College campuses and the areas around it, and organisers hope it will act as the catalyst for a long running campaign against harassment. Students will be urged to take a "zero tolerance" approach to sexual harassment.

    Students have been asked to take part in an online survey that asks for their experiences on sexual harassment around the university.

    Over 230 students have already completed it, and although it is still ongoing, the busy Great Horton Road area is emerging as the main hot spot for sex pests.

    Once the survey is completed, the Students' Union will work with the University to come up with a strategy to deal with the issue.

    With many of the students living away from home for the first time, unwanted attention and harassment can be particularly intimidating.

    Samayya Afzal, Women's and Liberation Officer at the University of Bradford Union of Students, said: "This year the event is more focused on the campuses. We launched the survey a few weeks ago and asked students for their thoughts on sexual harassment. So far the results show the extent of the problem.

    "There will be a standing protest outside Great Horton Road to make people aware of the issue that so many students face. Every day they are subjected to disgusting things shouted at them.

    "There is regular verbal, and physical harassment.

    "We'll be asking students to sign a pledge to take a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment on and around the campus. You shouldn't have to be treated to things like that as you walk down the road on the way to and from university."

    Students will protest and hand out anti-harassment leaflets from 12.30pm to 1.15pm and again at 5.15pm. They will also document the protest and future campaigns on Twitter with the hashtag #reclaimyourcampus.



    One in three UK female students sexually assaulted or abused on campus

    A Telegraph survey shows half of female undergraduates know someone who has suffered sexual assault or unwanted advances ranging from groping to rape


    A third of female students in Britain have endured a sexual assault or unwanted advances at university, stark new research conducted for The Telegraph shows.

    It comes as new legal guidance warned that universities and colleges across the UK could be breaking the law by refusing to investigate allegations of indecent assault or rape, believing that it is purely a police matter.

    Gender violence campaign groups warned that academic authorities are creating an “environment of impunity” on campus by refusing to step in to protect women from assault. The Telegraph is planning to highlight the issue in a series of articles.

    The polling, carried out by YouthSight, the specialist research group, showed that as many as half of female students and a third of their male counterparts knew of a friend or relative who has experienced intrusive sexual behaviour ranging from groping to rape.

    It found that 31 per cent of female students polled said they had been the victim of “inappropriate touching or groping” and around one in 20 had experienced more intimate but unwelcome advances or been pressurised into sexual activity. Overall 34 per cent indicated they had experienced some form of assault or abuse.

    Meanwhile one in eight male students had also been subjected to groping or unwanted advances. One per cent of students of either gender said they had been raped at university.
    But, significantly, almost half (43 per cent) of the women who had experienced sexual assault or abuse at university, did not report their ordeal, even to friends or family. And six in 10 male victims also said they had not told anyone.

    It came as a new legal briefing commissioned by the End Violence Against Women Coalition, an alliance of charities and campaign groups, warned that higher education institutions are avoiding their legal responsibilities by refusing to investigate sexual assault allegations.

    It argues that the governing bodies of higher and further education institutions count as “public authorities” and therefore subject to both the Human Rights Act and the Public Sector Equality Duty, which imposes legal obligation on public bodies including eliminating discrimination and harassment against women.

    The report’s author, Louise Whitfield, a partner at Deighton Pierce Glynn and specialist in public law, said: “UK universities whose policies at present would lead them for example not to investigate a rape allegation and to regard it as purely a police matter, are failing to protect women students and are very likely to be in breach of the law.

    “Similarly, the law is clear that higher and further education institutions should be proactively seeking to ensure women students are safe and equal while they study.”

    Sarah Green, director of the EVAW Coalition, said: “We currently have a situation where women in the workplace are accorded more protection than young women who live as well as study at university.

    “We know that some women students have dropped out of university following abuse that was not adequately dealt with by the institution.

    “This cannot be allowed to continue.”

    Professor Kevin Fenton, Director of Health and Wellbeing at PublicHealth England, said:
    “The research around sexual coercion and assault in universities is clear and rapidly growing.
    “It is unacceptable that a third of women and 12 per cent men said they had faced unwelcome sexual advances.

    “Everyone is entitled to a life free of violence and abuse.

    “It is crucial that those on the ground, the students, feel confident and safe enough to take active steps when they witness a problem, or experience domestic harassment themselves.”


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    Improv comedy instructor forcing students to have sex - including one he recruited for a threesome with his wife

    • The University of South Florida recently finished an investigation into former adjunct Nicholas Riggs
    • The investigation found that Riggs sexually assaulted one student and sexually harassed at least one other
    • One student said Riggs' wife Hannah Prince performed oral sex on him, and after that Riggs came to him for sexual favors
    • Another student said that the couple recruited her for a threesome, and that Riggs harassed her when she tried to end things
    • Both students said they feared that they wouldn't get stage time if they stopped the sexual encounters
    • After the accusations came to light in December, Riggs was barred from teaching at USF
    • But he continues to run an improv theater in St. Petersburg with his wife

    An improv comedy instructor has been accused of forcing his students to have sex with him, according to recently released report.

    The Tampa Bay Times obtained a 38-page investigation, which found that Nicholas Riggs sexually assaulted one of his University of South Florida students, and sexually harassed at least one other, who he also lured into a threesome with his wife.

    The investigation, carried out by outside attorney Mariah Passarelli, found that 31-year-old Riggs and his wife, Hannah Prince, 25, often approached students for sex together and that students felt pressured into liaisons for fear of losing stage time.

    Since the accusations first came to light in December 2016, Riggs has been barred from teaching at USF, where he was an adjunct, but he and his wife continue to run a comedy theater in St. Petersburg called the Spitfire Theatre.

    Riggs reportedly denied the allegations when confronted by the investigating attorney, saying the only USF student that he slept with was his wife, who was a graduate student when they met.

    When contacted by the Tampa Bay Times, he refused to get into detail about the investigation's findings.

    'It's a sensitive issue, and there's a lot of things that have been said in all directions,' he said. 'I just don't know what to say. These things get pulled out of context quite a bit.'

    The university first received a complaint about Riggs' behavior in December 2016, from a parent who said her son had become entangled in a sexual relationship with Riggs and his wife.

    Days later, the university received another complaint, from a male student who mirrored the statements in the first complaint,
    though Passarelli could not definitively link them.

    The parent said that her son became 'more withdrawn, and actually angry' after his second year in the improv group, in 2014. The following year, she says her son confessed to her that he'd had sex with Riggs and Prince together, and that it was a common occurrence in the group.

    The student in the second complaint went into more detail.

    Riggs and Prince led two groups at the school, Improv@USF, which was officially affiliated with the school, and Post Dinner Conversations, which was not. The student said that Riggs 'picked his favorites for PDC, and after performances, the couple would invite students over to their house for drinks and, sometimes, to smoke marijuana.

    The festivities would last into the night, and sometimes students would stay over. The student said it was clear that you had to be in the couple's good graces in order to perform.

    Students 'who weren't good enough to him or weren't sexy enough to him had to sit and watch,'
    he said.

    The student said he first got into a sexual relationship with the couple in 2014, when he learned that they were in an open relationship.

    Prince initiated sex acts first, after the student expressed his fear that he would leave college and virgin and she performed oral sex on him. Soon after, the student said he was approached by Riggs, who asked him, 'Do you think you'd ever do it with a guy?'

    The student responded by performing oral sex on Riggs, saying he was afraid that if he didn't he would lose the chance to have sex with Prince in the future.

    From there on out, the sex acts continued but only ever with Riggs. The student told Passarelli that he felt the couple had 'pulled a bait-and-switch' on him. Riggs would find ways of isolating the student - and plying him with alcohol and marijuana - so that he could continue giving him oral sex.

    Everytime he performed a sex act with Riggs, he told himself 'this would be the last time,' closing his eyes and imaging 'it was anybody else'. The student said Riggs tried to keep him quiet by telling him: 'I think it would be best for your sake if you didn't tell anybody about this'.

    When he would resist, Riggs reportedly told the student 'Don't you hate it when somebody says no but you know they want to say yes?'

    After the student finally put an end to the sexual relationship, he said the couple shut him out of their improv world.

    In her report Passarelli stated that she believed the student was a victim of sexual assault.

    She wrote that the harassment 'was severe and pervasive enough to have created a sexually hostile education environment. … Under this level of coercion, intimidation and/or duress by Riggs, I do not believe that (the victim) could have given valid sexual consent.'

    While Passarelli was investigating the first student's allegations, she received another report from a student who said she had sex with both Riggs and Prince, and that the relationship eventually grew sour.

    The student said that Riggs was her professor in 2014, and that she really like him as an instructor. She would sometimes stay after class to talk improv, and he wrote on her final exam: 'I love your mind'.

    That summer, the student went to the beach with the improv group, and when she told Riggs that she liked his class, he confessed that he 'had a really big crush on her'.

    Riggs later asked the student if she thought his wife was pretty, and if she was interested in having sex with both of them.

    The student told Passarelli that she agreed, and that one night, after going over to the couple's house, they engaged in sex acts. They went on to have threesomes about three to four more times. Meanwhile, the student was also in a solo sexual relationship with Riggs.

    After nine months, the student decided that she wanted to stop having sex with him, even though she feared she would be cut from improv tours.

    After she told Riggs that she wanted to stop the relationship, she says he came over to her house and they had sex - even though she told him she did not want to.

    'You should know better, you're 30 years old,' she said she told him at the time. 'I'm your student, this isn't fair.'

    Passarelli said the incident amounted to sexual harassment.

    The lawyer talked to a third student how said that he considered the teacher and his wife as like brother and sister, until Riggs started making him uncomfortable with his advances.

    One night, the student said he was watching a movie with Riggs and Riggs started massaging his feet, moving up his legs.

    And in his car, the student said he had to remove Riggs' hand from his body to get him to stop touching him.

    On another night, he says Prince insisted that he sleep in their bed, and that he agreed - until Riggs started touching his arm.

    He says he bolted from the house and then had to pull over to the side of the road to throw up because he was so shaken and sacred.

    Passarelli said that during her interview with Riggs, he contradicted himself by saying he was only 'lightly involved' with PDC and that he didn't attend any of the group's parties. Halfway through the interview, the attorney said Riggs said he had to leave for work and later refused to talk.

    The investigation cost the university $20,000. There were also reports that Prince was the target of a separate investigation
    , but the university would not confirm the reports over student privacy laws.

    Riggs, who hails from Ohio, came to USF in 2009 to get a master's degree, and he started teaching soon after. In 2016, he earned a PhD and stayed on as an adjunct professor. The last time he taught at the school was in December.

    So far, no criminal charges have been filed against Riggs or Prince.



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