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by Jess Hanch

Texas is set to become the eighth state to allow concealed carry on public campuses. Texas Senate Bill 11 also known as the “campus carry” law, allows licensed gun owners to bring firearms into classrooms, dorms, and other campus buildings. Campus carry will take effect on the anniversary of the first mass campus shooting in America, which took place at The University of Texas on August 1st, 1966. The University of Texas has not seen another massacre since. The law will not affect community colleges until 2017, and private universities have the option to opt out of the legislation.

According to the New York Times, University of Texas Chancellor and Navy SEAL vet Admiral William McRaven stated "…I have all sorts of guns. I just don’t think bringing guns on campus is going to make us any safer. If you’ve ever been shot at, which I have, then you have an appreciation for what a gun can do." McRaven addressed the decision respectfully, stating although "it was not what we hoped for…I appreciate legislators for recognizing the very specific safety considerations that are unique to campus environments." The University of Texas working group, including licensed gun holders, also believes "it would be best if guns were not allowed in classrooms, however does not recommend classrooms should be designated as gun free zones".

In an attempt to keep campus safe, the law allows universities to designate gun-free zones. The University working system also has gun safety rules, including a ban on open carry, and a license requirement. To have a license in Texas, carriers must be 21. Only 1% of the University population meets that criteria. Texas has a large population of gun-rights activists, some even using mobile apps to avoid gun-free zones out of fear (statistics show that most modern mass shootings take place in gun-free zones). The Texas Tribune sites a woman who uses the app because she feels a gun-free sign is like a “come and rob us” invitation to criminals. The Tribune also reported that anti-gun activists on a Texas community college campus are protesting the law by carrying around sex toys to "protest idiocy with idiocy". It was also reported that many students, regardless of what side they are on, only see protesters as a distraction.

Law makers from both sides of the argument want to create a better society, but cannot agree on how, or who, will protect law-abiding citizens. Despite either side, criminal attacks are part of modern society. Do you think laws discourage criminal activity, or simply prevent law-abiding citizens from defending themselves? Would you feel more or less safe on a campus that allows concealed carry? Comment, and start a discussion below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Photos of seven Citadel cadets singing in white hoods surfaced on social media - Hoods that very closely resembled those worn by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The seven students claimed they were singing Christmas Carols and that the hoods they were sporting were intended to help them portray the "Ghosts of Christmas Past" for a skit. Whether their resemblance to the KKK was intentional or not, the Citadel Minority Alumni Facebook group was not amused.

The Citadel's Lt. Gen. John Rosa took to Facebook with a statement of his discontent stating, "these images are not consistent with our core values of honor, duty and respect," and were "disgraceful," "offensive and disturbing." All the members of the group were identified and suspension proceedings are already underway.

A person with knowledge of the incident and the school's rituals between underclassmen and seniors claims that, based on the way the men were standing in the photo, they are likely to be freshman, or "knobs," and this is a form of hazing. Despite the group's intentions, the girl who made the Facebook post was "threatened, harassed and offered money from numerous Citadel Cadets to take it offline in order to not 'ruin their lives.'" The woman was approached by a male on several social media platforms, reportedly telling her "I always wanted a black girl." Though she ignored his advances, his Snapchat feed showed the photos and videos of the Citadel cadets singing and laughing and so she "screenshotted and decided to share because [she] was so offended."

Discussions have been ongoing at The Citadel's minority alumni pages and graduates agreed with Rosa's statements but want to see further action take place to show students their behavior is not acceptable. In your opinion, how should the administration respond to this incident? Should there be punishment of the perpetrators beyond suspension? How would you handle this situation if you were on the disciplinary committee? Leave us your thoughtful comments below.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Erika Christakis sent a controversial email questioning whether there was any room left for the nation's youth to be "a little obnoxious, inappropriate, and even offensive" when dressing for Halloween and it was NOT well-received.

A week before Halloween, students were advised to avoid party themes and costumes that have "racial and ethnic overtones" so as to avoid offending minority students. In response to the initiative, Associate Master Erika Christakis wrote an email encouraging the community to consider the issue through an intellectual lens: a day "traditionally used as subversion for children and young adults is also an occasion for adults to exert their control." In American universities, free speech and tolerating offense have diminished substantially - replaced by censure and prohibition, she claims. Christakis pinpoints blame not on the students but on those who have "lost faith" in young people's capacity to self-censure through social norming.

Using her expertise on early childhood, Christakis uses the example of a "blonde-haired child wanting to be Mulan for a day." Is pretend play not a form of imaginative expression? There is a distinct difference between playing dress up and appropriating culture, according to the associate master. When did it become unacceptable to do the things you did when you were eight years old? In her email, she supports the university's goals to avoid "hurt and offense" - the question is: how do you do this without controlling college students?

Que the backlash. In a responsive open letter, "concerned Yale students, alumni, faculty, and staff" claimed her comments were "jarring and disheartening" because she "failed to distinguish the difference between cosplaying fictional characters and misrepresenting actual groups of people." Those responding claimed that "Yale's history is one of exclusion" - from blackface to the Eurocentric courses and lack of diversity among faculty.

Christakis' husband, Silliman Master Nicholas Christakis, will continue teaching at Yale. 70 faculty members expressed their "strong support of the right of Erika and Nicholas Christakis to free speech and freedom of intellectual expression." That number of signatures is still overshadowed by the number of faculty who "express solidarity with students' concerns." Many students have praised her courses, including: The Growing Child in Global Context and Concept of the Problem Child. Students feel her leave will be a "very big detriment [to students] interested in these issues, and the class could have been getting better."

Christakis will return to working with children and families because she worries that Yale's climate is not "conducive to the civil dialogue and open inquiry required to solve urgent societal problems."

What do you think about Christakis' approach to the issue and how people responded? How is Halloween dress on your campus? Leave us your insightful comments below to start a discussion.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Wearing 5-inch heels and an even taller wig, Professor Scudura decided to put it all out there for academic discussion in what one might term a "performance lecture". "The Fabulous and Subversive Nature of Drag Performance" was more than a lecture and a lot closer to adult "show and tell". Rather than offer up more dry discourse on the subject, Domenick Scudera brazenly decided to do something much more dramatic.

To best "subvert the traditional symposium structure,” Dr. Scudera dressed in "five-inch high heels, pantyhose, a tight dress, and a mile-high wig" and topped off the look with makeup and false eyelashes. Drag, according to the professor, is a "distinct form of art that brings into focus issues of identity, authority, agency gender variance, and masculine/feminine constructs.” Though he claims that academia symposia and conferences can be "dry, forced, and sometimes unproductive," Dr. Scudera was still somewhat hesitant, asking himself, "Would I be taken seriously?"

What are the stereotypes for professors and how are they maintained? For Dr. Scudera, wearing "professor clothing" is a form of drag. He questions whether wearing "a suit and tie to teach is any different than wearing a dress and heels?" Though during his presentation he had deliberately "held back any opinions…to remove any perception that they [the students] must agree with me to receive good grades," he believes that the students’ disapproval was "code for 'my professor is gay and I am not comfortable with that.'"

Another point of Dr. Scudera's presentation is that of the "diverse facets of identity" that tend to not mix well in other realms. His drag identity, "Summer Clearance," who can be found performing at a gay club or event, will never mix with his identity as a college professor. And vice versa - he does not "carry back" his drag queen identity to the college. He questions whether the separation of the two identities "negates that part of myself in order to be taken seriously as a professor." What Dr. Scudera realizes however, in his experience as both drag queen and professor, is that he cannot be easily compartmentalized simply because students “slam him in their evaluations." Furthermore, he believes that his "authentic self is much more valuable in reaching more students."

Would you be interested in attending this symposium? Why or why not? Leave us your insightful comments below.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

The University of Ottawa recently suspended their yoga class after students raised concerns that the exercises were offensive and a form of "cultural appropriation." Instructor Jennifer Sharf, who teaches the class for free, feels "people are just looking for a reason to be offended by anything they can find." The Student Federation, who also happen to be the ones to invite Scharf to the university back in 2008, claim there are "cultural issues of implication involved," and that many cultures that practice yoga have undergone "oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and Western supremacy."

After being told her yoga program would not return the following fall semester, Sharf offered the student body leaders a compromise by changing the name of the course to "mindful stretching," according to Fox News. No agreement was reached. Sharf told CBC News that, "I guess it was this cultural appropriation issue because yoga originally comes from India." According to Sharf, the class does not focus on the "finer points of Scripture" but rather examines the "basic physical awareness and how to stretch so that you feel good."

When you think of yoga, you may envision an extraordinarily fit thirty-something woman in designer yoga pants who goes to the yoga studio as part of a healthy physical regimen, but is that an overgeneralization? How did yoga make it into Western culture?

Though there is scarce literature and history on yoga, historians trace the earliest yoga practices to 3300-1500 BCE in ancient India. Originally, yoga was ostensibly used as a means to teach self-discipline and avoid any kind of over-indulgence. Later, yoga came to be known as spiritual/meditation practice, a critical ingredient in the pursuit of enlightenment. Different schools of yoga emerged during the medieval era and taught either spiritual atonement or self-deification.

However, by the late 19th century and into the early 20th century, yoga became less about enlightenment and religion, at least in North America. Westerners began to focus on yoga that removes excess thought from the mind by focusing on a single thought, often using a particular word or phrase to aid them. Earlier 20th century yoga was predominantly taught by Indian instructors, and by the 1980s Americans began seeing the significant health benefits, both physical and mental and used yoga as means to basic, overall personal health rather than transcendence or indeed, nirvana.

In the last 15 years, the practice has increased more than fivefold and offers myriad benefits that can help counter what has become an epidemic in North America; one of sedentary living and overconsumption of fast food, television and movies.

Should Sharf be able to teach her free yoga classes, despite the clamor from offended students? Can yoga courses be more culturally-sensitive? Leave us your insightful comments below.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

According to Breitbart news, a 21-year old student at the U.K.'s University of York committed suicide 24 hours before the university's cancellation of International Men's Day. After 200 feminist campaigners, students, staff and alumni expressed their fury over a professor's comments about International Men's Day, the university decided to not observe the November 19 holiday and instead continue to focus on "inequalities faced by women." Though students fought to reinstate IMD, the decision was not reversed.

Monday morning at 2:30 am, police responded to a campus call for a 21-year old male who was found with life-threatening injuries. Allegedly, the male student committed suicide for unknown reasons. The student's name has not been disclosed and few details were reported regarding the incident. Breitbart reported the death notice through an anonymous tip-off from an angry university student, who viewed the university's IMD decision as a "downplay of the seriousness of men's health."

Despite the recent suicide and the alarming male suicide rate in the U.K., the university did not reinstate the event. Some Twitter users have voiced their disapproval in York's action and some tweeted they would no longer apply to the university because "it discriminates against men," attaching statistics about mental health, education, and employment. U.K. organizers of IMD report that 13 men commit suicide each day. In 2013, 78% of male suicides "within the most vulnerable age group between 45 and 59." The percentage of U.K. men taking their own lives is at an all-time high. The university has not addressed the suicide incident, and this suicide, along with other male suicides, received little to no attention.

What exactly is International Men's Day? IMD was created in the 1960's to raise awareness for "men's health, improve gender relations and promote gender equality." Based on recent events, men's mental health, along with other common issues, are being pushed further despite IMD's attempt to raise awareness and promote gender equality. Do recent events highlight a need to observe men's issues such as physical health, mental health, rape, and domestic violence - issues that all people, men included, struggle with and do not gain sufficient attention? How do you think this affects gender equality? Share your thoughts below, and start a discussion.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

The University of York cancelled International Men's Day (IMD) on Thursday after outraged students, staff, and alumni protested comments made by a male faculty member and requested an apology for "the manner in which it [the release] was framed." Dr. Aidan Lee of the University’s Equality and Diversity Committee stated that "[although there's focus on] raising awareness about - and removing barriers for - women," there are "some specific issues faced by men" that must be addressed.

Dr. Adrian Lee, of the University's Equality and Diversity Committee, claims that men are "significantly under-represented in a number of academic disciplines." In specific areas such as academic staff appointments or professional support series, "the support staff complement is often heavily weighted towards women, with some departments employing no men at all in these roles." The United States Department of Labor shows in 2014, 36% of women were employed in educational and health industries and only 10.9% of males were employed in the same field.

Despite statistics, students and staff were offended by Dr. Lee and wrote an open letter to the Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee, expressing their discontent. 200 signatures from students, staff and alumni supported the letter, demanding "a 'full account' of how supporting/promoting men's issues 'in this way' was acceptable by the committee." The group called for an apology for "the use of dubious scholarship in the claim that women are advantaged in hiring processes." Dr. Duncan's apologetic email was posted on the university's webpage, and the IMD event was cancelled. According to the IMD website, International Men's Day is "optional" and "focuses on...improving gender relations and promoting gender equality," ironically the main issue highlighted by women's rights activists.

Students are currently campaigning to reinstate International Men's Day because "it is important that we recognize men's day just as much as women's day. True feminists should be fighting for gender equality for both men and women. To cancel men’s day is simply hypocritical. Equality is not just for women and should concern both genders." What should the university do? Whose side are you on? Share your thoughts and start a discussion below.

And don't forget, you should pay for your college education with as much free money as possible! Find as many scholarships and grants as you can before turning to student loans. Visit the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today where you'll get matched with countless scholarships and grants for which you qualify, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Christina Zhou

For many students, the second half of senior year is seen as a welcome change from the first three and a half years of high school. They've applied to college, and admissions decisions have come back. This is often the beginning of a downhill slide in terms of grades and class performance. "Senioritis" may be inevitable to an extent, but it can have very real consequences. If colleges see that the student has not shown the level of academic promise that they previously exhibited, then they may rescind their acceptance. Even if this does not happen, however, students may not be adequately prepared for the academic rigor of college. Below are some tips to help you battle senioritis.

  • Stay organized. Keep up with your homework and assignments. A planner or even a mobile organization app is a very good idea. Note all exam dates and set aside blocks of time specifically for studying. Don't forget to pencil in social time as well.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize.Remember all the hard work you put in over the last twelve years or so? It will all be wasted if you don't work hard until the end.
  • Find a new activity. College is a very busy time, and this may be the last bit of free time you will have for a while. Now is the time to become a better you. Volunteer, read that book you’ve got sitting on your shelf, or take a fun class. You will have more things to talk about with your future college classmates.
  • Think about that college credit. If you do well enough on your AP tests, many colleges will give you credit for those classes. Students can often come in having completed many of their required classes. This gives you time to start your major earlier than many others, and you can even end up graduating early!
  • Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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by Susan Dutca

Keeping up with the Kardashians isn't too difficult in contemporary American culture - from the tabloids to social media, the Kardashians remain among the top searched items on the Internet, according to Google trends. Now the Kardashians have squeezed their way into academics. The world's first "Kimposium" will explore the world's obsession with the Kardashian family, and its impact on society.

Scholars from the United States, Germany and Britain will gather at Brunel University London this month for a day-long conference to discuss the modern-day reality TV epidemic. Scholars believe "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" is more than an overly dramatic reality TV show. Instead, the show and its cast is a reflection of popular culture and values. The first ever "Kimposium" will host discussions on current issues such as race, feminism, and the politics of "fat" and beauty. Dr. Meredith Jones believes there is strong cultural significance to be examined in Kim's "famously big bottom" and that "they [the Kardashians] may be vacuous and bland when they open their mouths, but they are also very powerful."

Professor Hall from the University of Liverpool believes Kim is simply famous for being famous. He equates Kim's success to scholars who have "high-profile scientific blogs on Twitter but have not actually published peer-reviewed papers of significance...in essence, scientists who are seen as leaders in their field simply because of their notoriety." Professor Hall has devoted time to calculating Kim's index score to draw parallels between celebrity success and academia. His Kardashian Index Theory defines modern fame by asserting that the wrong people are gaining attention for the wrong reasons. For supporters of this theory, Kim K. is the perfect example of fame without notable talent or work ethic.

Scholars believe that perhaps the Kardashians embody "a lot of values and tensions" that are prevalent in modern society; such as interracial marriages, the redefining of beauty through Kim's "curvaceous, dark-skinned body," glamour makeup, and the controversial transformation of former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner. What is the motive in analyzing the success of these "talentless airheads?" Do you believe this discussion would benefit society, or will it only further Kim Kardashian's celebrity status?

Would you attend the Kimposium? In your opinion, is a scholarly discussion of the Kardashian epidemic worthwhile? Start your own discussion by commenting below.

And remember, there’s no need to rely on expensive student loan options to pay for your college education. For more information on finding free scholarship money for college, conduct a Scholarships.com free college scholarship search today, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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The War on (Study) Drugs

Misuse of Prescription Drugs a Very Real Concern in Higher Ed

Nov 10, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Every student has their own way of dealing with the stresses of college life and academics, even if it may require popping a small blue pill before a final exam. What does it take nowadays to crack down on the books and get As? Studies reveal that many college and high school students have turned to recreational drug use such as abusing ADHD medication to help land good grades.

Considered to be one of the most dangerous legal drugs, Adderall is now causing twice as many deaths as street drugs. According to the Huffington Post, prescription drugs such as Adderall and other ADHD meds are "the most dangerous legal drugs among young people in college and high school." On college campuses, students perceive ADHD medications as "relatively benign substances". These meds are being stolen, swapped and sold regularly on campuses nationwide, doubling the amount of student ER visits and deaths.

How exactly are students getting their hands on Adderall and similar stimulants? Experts claim students know exactly what to say to receive a legal, insurance-subsidized prescription. However, not every student with access to the drug actually uses it. Many students simply sell it for profit - as much as $300 a bottle.

While there is certainly an ongoing issue with illegal drugs, there is also an issue with dangerous prescription abuse in the classroom. Some point to the mislabeling of normal child immaturity as the culprit for excessive use of ADHD medication. Who is most responsible for the easy access of these drugs? Should drug companies be just as responsible for distribution and marketing as the physicians for misdiagnoses? Do we blame parents and teachers who cannot adequately control hyperactive children? Or do we simply hold students responsible for their actions? Would informing kids of the dangers of recreational drug use have any positive effect on the situation? In your opinion, how can the issue of misdiagnoses and distribution be resolved to lessen students' ability to gain access to these drugs? Also, if you are passionate about public policy, public health or medicine, check out some of our medical scholarships to help fund your college education.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

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