College News: Hook-Ups, Roommate Poisoning, Tuition Crowdfunding & Kitten University

A quick rundown of recent higher education news, serious and silly. Mine the items for ideas, inspiration, general knowledge, or a laugh.

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School-Sanctioned Slut Shaming

A UK college student recently filed a sexual assault claim against three of her male peers– and yet she is the one being punished.  Why?  For bringing “the school ‘into disrepute by having sexual actions with a group of people.'”  Hmm.  What are your school’s sexual assault reporting, counseling, investigation, and punishment policies?  Is there any similar– official or unofficial– slut shaming on your campus?

Skip Harvard, Go Into Plumbing

The debate over whether fewer students should join the college ranks continues.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the latest to weigh in.  On a recent radio show, he said many teens should consider more modest aims: “The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren’t rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class. . . . Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College– being a plumber, actually, for the average person probably would be a better deal. . . . You don’t spend . . . four years spending $40,000, $50,000, in tuition without earning income.”

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Yes, Trying to Poison Your Roommate Will Make News

A college student in China narrowly avoided being poisoned after discovering her roommate had mixed “an industrial fattening hormone [into] some white sugar and uncooked rice noodles” she may have eventually eaten.  The roomie apparently has a mental disorder.  It is the THIRD roommate poisoning case to go public in China in recent months– check out the pull-quote to the right.

College-Bound Crowd-Funders

There has been a noted rise as of late in “college-bound crowd-funders,” or individuals who attempt to raise money from the masses to finance their way through school.  The challenges, according to U.S. News & World Report, include “building interest or circulating their campaign page beyond their close-knit circle of friends and family.”  Any crowd-funders at your school or those who frequently donate to others’ crowdfunding efforts?

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Predictors of Sexual Hookups

Research alert: Female freshmen students are more likely to engage in random hook-ups if they previously had casual sex and smoked pot in high school.  Shocking, huh?  Best part is the study’s title, which saps all the fun out of the findings… “Predictors of Sexual Hook-Ups: A Theory-Based, Prospective Study of First-Year College Women.”

5Summer Tuition Sales Alert

Schools are increasingly pushing to be year-round educational centers, in some cases offering reduced tuition rates and other perks between semesters to grab higher enrollment.  For example, as Inside Higher Ed reports, “Summer school is on sale at Montclair State University, where students at the New Jersey public institution can take classes for up to 17 percent off the regular tuition price, housing fees are reduced, and parking is free.”

Daughters Sue Father in Tuition Fight

Four sisters have filed a lawsuit against their father.  They claim he has failed to follow through on his promise to pay the college tuition of the youngest sister.

A College’s $200,000 Attendance Problem

Most attendance stories I come across focus on how much tuition money students waste each time they skip class. At Wyoming’s Northwest College however, it’s not the students but the school that is stuck with an attendance-based mess.  Northwest apparently lost more than $200,000 this past year in unpaid student debts.  The local paper explains, “[M]ost of the bad debts resulted when students applied for and received financial aid– federal grants and/or student loans– then stopped attending classes partway through the semester, or in at least one case, failed to attend at all.  But, because attendance is not required, college administrators often don’t learn about that until the semester is over.  Then the college got a bill from the federal government for the money the students were paid for tuition and living expenses.”  It makes me wonder how common this is.  How does your school monitor and handle disappearing students, and the debt they leave behind?

Unpaid Internship Ugh Alert

The headline and sub-headline of a new piece in The Atlantic say it all: “Do Unpaid Internships Lead to Jobs?  Not for College Students.  Unpaid interns of the world!  Get up and leave the office.  You have nothing to lose.  Literally.  Nothing.”

Students Forced to Show Gay Pride

Some aggrieved students in a psychology class at Tennessee’s Columbia State Community College claim their professor required them “to wear rainbow ribbons during class in support of homosexuality” as part of an assignment.  Specifically, a letter of complaint on behalf of the students states, “Sometime during the spring semester, Dr. Brunton distributed rainbow ribbons to her students in Psychology 1030 and instructed them to wear these ribbons wherever they went for at least an entire day.  If anyone asked why they were wearing these ribbons, Dr. Brunton directed students to explain that they were showing support for the homosexual community and its political agenda.  They were then to observe how people responded and to write a paper about how they were allegedly ‘discriminated against’ because of their support for homosexual conduct.”

All of a Sudden– Bam — They’re Here

Finally, a guessing game.  Any clue which creatures are the stars of the following quote?  “We all sit here kind of holding our breath.  We know they’re coming and we are going, ‘All right. Where are they?  When are they coming?’  And then, all of a sudden– bam– they’re here.  You just can’t keep up with it.”  Hint: They’re not zombies.  Answer: Kittens!  The Florida Times-Union report focuses on Kitten University, a “neonatal kitten nursery . . . [which] provides sanctuary to homeless underage, underweight kittens unable to find foster homes.”

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