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Scholarships to Commemorate Slain Virginia Journalists

Aug 27, 2015

by Susan Dutca

In the midst of Wednesday's tragic shooting and killing of WDBJ7 journalist Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by alleged gunman and former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Lee Flanagan, Parker's alma mater, James Madison University is accepting donations for the Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship. Similarly, Patrick Henry Community College, where Parker received her associate's degree, is accepting donations for their Alison Bailey Parker Memorial Scholarship. There is an identical scholarship being created for Ward, who graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011.

The two young journalists were shot and killed on-air early Wednesday morning as Flanagan recorded the shooting from a gunman POV and posted it to Twitter and Facebook before being chased by police on Interstate 66. Flanagan had crashed the vehicle and suffered from self-inflicted wounds. He later died at a nearby hospital. Flanagan had faxed a 23-page manifesto/suicide note to ABC News, detailing his plans to respond to the racism of the Charleston church shooting. He also cited his own grievances; he claims being attacked by black men and white females, being discriminated against for being a gay, black man, suffering racial and sexual harassment and being bullied at work. A former reporter at WDBJ7, it was reported that Flanagan posed a hostile threat and disturbance to co-workers. This according to internal memos from WDBJ7 news Chief Dan Dennison, who cited Flanagan's "aggressive" behavior towards colleagues. Consequently, Flanagan was fired and it was recommended he seek medical attention. In his manifesto, the gunman had referred to himself as a "human powder keg" that was "waiting to go BOOM!"

Following the tragedy, scholarships are being created to memorialize the two WDBJ7 journalists by their respective schools. Those who wish to inquire about and/or support these scholarships may do so by contacting the schools directly:

James Madison University
JMU Advancement Gifts and Records
ATTN: Alison Parker Memorial Scholarship
MSC 3603
Harrisonburg, VA 22807.

Patrick Henry Community College
Patrick Henry Community College Foundation
645 Patriot Ave.
Martinsville, VA 24112

Hopefully, these scholarships will not only provide opportunity for future students of these institutions, but also preserve the memory of those who were so brutally and senselessly slain.

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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Duke Freshmen Reject Tragicomic, Calling it "Pornographic"

Aug 25, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Students are notorious for avoiding summer reading lists – whether they'd rather spend time outdoors or simply find the list dull, many walk into the first day of class without having read the book title. However, incoming freshmen at Duke University are boycotting and refusing to read Alison Bechdel's family tragicomic Fun Home - they claim that the "pornographic" graphic novel conflicts with their Christian morals.

Bechdel's memoir recounts her traumatic childhood with a closeted and occasionally-abusive father, as well as her own coming out of the closet experience. A strong portion of the novel has sexual themes and nudity, which allegedly discomforted some Duke freshmen. In particular, Brian Grasso had posted in the Class of 2019 Facebook page that he refused to read the novel "because of the graphic visual depictions of sexuality," and further added, "I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it." Grasso was not the only student disturbed by the novel – freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst added, "the nature of 'Fun Home' means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature." Other students objected claiming it allows "you to open your mind to a new perspective and examine a way of life and thinking with which you are unfamiliar."

Many liberal arts colleges and universities include the 2006 novel in their curriculum, as scholars and professors believe it 'is a unique and moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront." This was the educational goal for Duke University's Common Experience Summer Reading Program. Although Fun Home has won five Tony awards and was turned into a Tony-winning Broadway musical, has sold over a quarter-million copies and was lauded by Time Magazine as the best book of 2006, college students are still encouraged to voice their own opinions. So are the students really overreacting when they refuse to read a book that goes against their beliefs? Or should all students be forced to read a book that, although may make them uncomfortable, can give insight to a different wave of thinking and life?

Do you have what it takes to write the next highly-controversial novel? If you have a passion for literature or creative writing, there are many scholarships out there that honor writing talent, so explore the scholarship options to see how you can fund your college education by conducting a quick and easy free scholarship search today.

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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Facebook Privacy Breach Exposed by Harvard Student

Aug 20, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Thought you had adequate privacy on Facebook? Think again. Though there are various privacy settings offered by the social networking website, Harvard University student Aran Khanna, who was scheduled to intern at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters in Palo Alto, California, found a major privacy glitch in the Messenger app. As a public service, Khanna created Marauder's Map from his dormitory – an app that used existing data to show the danger in unintentionally sharing data. After a Facebook HR representative had contacted and told him to deactivate the app, as well as avoid talking to the press, Khanna complied and in turn, had his scheduled summer internship rescinded.

Khanna explored the Facebook Messenger issue, just as it had been by the CNET in 2012, so this was no new discovery. Rather, he claims his code was able to simply "read data that was already on your screen and display it on a map." Facebook officials claimed this violated user agreement by extracting data from the site. In reality, Khanna had used the data from his own personal messages, not data exclusive to employees. Facebook issued a statement shortly thereafter, addressing the Messenger app update. Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld claimed, "you have full control over when and how you share your location information." Furthermore, Facebook claims they had been working on the update “for a few months” before Khanna’s post and that “this isn't the sort of thing that can happen in a week.” Khanna never made it to his first day interning at Facebook and expressed his sentiments in his article for TIME Magazine and an academic paper in the Harvard Journal Technology Science. Khanna was offered and accepted another internship at a tech start-up in Silicon Valley and claims he uses the entire event as a learning experience.

Do you have the same computer skills and passion for technology as Khanna? Want to be the next tech genius? Find how you can qualify for computer science scholarships and other technology-based awards if you have aspirations to land prestigious internships and admission to your dream college by conducting a free scholarship search today.

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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Armed and Dangerous in Academia?

Aug 18, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Despite mass-campus shootings such as Virginia Tech that have the public questioning the safety of college campuses, the U.S. Department found that 93 percent of violence against students occurs off-campus. Currently, approximately 4,400 colleges and universities prohibit carrying firearms. However, states such as Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon, Utah and Wisconsin allow concealed guns at some level. Pro-gun movement is rapidly increasing, as evident with the push of the Senate Bill 68 and Florida House Bill 4001, which would permit loaded and concealed arms on campus at Florida State University. Republican Greg Steube and Florida State Senator Greg Evers believe the mere absence of prohibition would lessen gun violence. Additionaly, “a gun-free campus creates a sanctuary campus and safe haven for rapists and criminals,” Steube explained in an interview. Supporters of the legislation believe it upholds the Second Amendment, which grants the right to bear arms, especially for protection purposes. So far the Florida League of Women Voters has opposed the bill and plans to do so again.

Not everyone feels so safe with the prospect of students being cocked and loaded. The majority of university presidents and campus law enforcement oppose the bill which would put the now-safe environments on high-alert. Anti-gun activists of the Florida League of Women Voters have been firm in their stand on gun control since 1990. Especially in college environments where there are drugs and alcohol present, guns further threaten the well-being of students and increase risk of injury or even, fatality. Other potential issues include: decrease in academic focus, accidental firings, dormitory theft, student suicide, distinguishing armed civilians from assailants, and so forth. If successfully passed, Florida will be the ninth state to implement such legislation, as early as fall of 2016.

Do you believe concealed guns should be permitted on college campuses? Would you feel safer knowing your peers are armed? Furthermore, if you have a passion for gun laws or criminal justice, as well as other fields of study, conduct a free scholarship search to see how your can fund your college education, today.

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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80 Percent of College Students Drink

Aug 3, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

The disease of addiction has ravaged college campuses, evident by the fact that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, 40 percent binge drink. College students make up one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Young adolescent’s ages 18-24 already have an increased risk of addiction- those enrolled in a full-time college program are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Several factors play into substance abuse at the collegiate level. With the high demands of coursework, part-time jobs, internships, and social obligations, many students turn to drugs to cope with stress. A heavy course load has more students than ever taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay awake long enough to study or complete assignments by their due date. In a time where one is exploring many new aspects of life in personal and professional realms, college students are curious to self-explore and dip into drug experimentation.

But what drugs are being abused? The four most common substances that are consistently abused among college students are alcohol, Adderall, marijuana, and ecstasy. Because drinking is socially acceptable, the vast majority of substance abuse on college campuses spurs from the use of alcohol. In college, drinking often goes hand-in-hand with house parties, sporting events and student get-togethers. Since the use of alcohol on college campuses is widespread and often condoned, college students drink more frequently than their peers who aren’t in college. What students fail to realize is that excessive drinking is not only a major health concern in the long-term, but can lead to immediate tragedies such as assault, injury, arrest and even death.

Adderall, dubbed the “study drug” and other stimulants are increasing in popularity as students face the pressure to meet their study requirements. As we continue to see a shift in the leniency for marijuana legalization, more students have turned to pot as their drug of choice. On some campuses, marijuana use outweighs that of alcohol. Ecstasy, the “party drug” most common at raves and concerts, has made it’s resurgence in recent years in its pure form of MDMA or molly.

Other factors, such as being in a fraternity or sorority also contribute to increased drug abuse rates. College students as a group are similarly considered high-risk for developing eating disorders.

Do you feel like stress, work load and curiosity are valid excuses for college students to use drugs? Does knowing these statistics/facts change your perspective on going to college, or ideas on drinking/drugging at college?

A better statistic would be 80% percent of students that conduct a college scholarship search at Scholarships.com find free money for college. Let's be part of that group.

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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Murder-Suicide Claims Lives of Two College Students

Jul 23, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Tragedy has taken the lives of two college students shot to death at a Walnut Creek home in an apparent murder-suicide. Walnut Creek police are investigating the North Homestead neighborhood after receiving calls of what neighbors claimed were gunshots around 6:50 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The victims have been identified as 19-year-old college student Clare Orton; of Walnut Creek, and 21-year-old Scott Bertics, of Lafayette. Police report the victims knew one another and had a previous dating relationship. Initial reports indicate Orton was shot while answering the front door, then immediately her ex-boyfriend turned the gun on himself.

“I didn’t hear anything this morning, but I’m in shock,” said one neighbor who asked that his name not be used. “I have a granddaughter the same age, so it hits close to home.”

Orton, a 2014 graduate of Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek, was home from college after finishing her freshman year at San Diego State University. University spokesman, Greg Block claimed she was an honors student studying environmental engineering. Orton was also a member of SDSU’s Society of Women Engineers, a group now mourning the loss of their fellow environmental engineer.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with her loved ones,” Madeleine Rasche wrote.

Bertics, a 2012 graduate of Acalanes High School in Lafayette, enrolled at the University of Stanford in 2012, but took a voluntary leave of absence in the fall of 2014. He had yet to declare a major, but was listed on a 2013 demonstration called “Controlling Robot Dynamics with Spiking Neurons.”

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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Naughty Professor: Love or Lechery in the Classroom?

Jul 21, 2015

by Susan Dutca

Social networking is strongly encouraged these days in the academic and professional realm. But what happens when a professor and student delve into a much deeper, complicated relationship? Northwestern academic Laura Kipnis exercised her academic voice to support professor-student relationships as "learning experiences" which received strong backlash, including a student protest and a filed Title IX complaint. Kipnis opposes college conduct rules that ban professors from dating students. Quite obviously, there are many issues regarding conflict of interest, favoritism and the like. We can never be too certain of people’s incentives in such relationships - is it true love, a gateway for strong recommendation letters, or for promising job opportunities post-graduation? Admitting to having one herself, the relationship between a higher-power professor and student now necessitates protection, whereas it did not in the past. Current sexual-harassment guidelines and laws prohibit relations that could further “skyrocket” student’s vulnerability. But you may ask, who is really vulnerable: the teacher on the brink of being fired for an originally-consented relationship or the student suffering emotional injury?

In the exact environment where there is high student accountability, "sexual panic rules." There is a large difference between consensual and nonconsensual romantic relations, as Kipnis points out- the latter requiring true concern. What is at stake here, in lieu of the consensual professor student relationship, is the degree to which new sexual harassment policies and the like come to "expand the power of the institutions themselves." When students accuse professors of emotional abuse, say in the case of a breakup, they are taught to tattle and are spoon fed reassurance. The student crying woe is me, for their own choices, does not decrease professor vulnerability but quite the contrary. All of a sudden, the honeymoon phase is over and professors face job termination due to their students' emotional injury.

In higher education, where students are at the age to consent and make their own choices, consistently pleading for more independence, would it make sense to impose laws that treat them as children? Should students be equally responsible for their romantic involvement without using laws as a crutch when things go awry?

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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“Queer Sphere” Gains Visibility and Recognition in Higher Education

Jul 7, 2015

by Chris Bernardi

Whether it’s Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer outlining his journey from the world’s greatest athlete, to a surgery which induced womanhood, or actress Laverne Cox breaking the trans glass ceiling in the Netflix’s hit series, Orange Is the New Black, where a trans woman is actually played by a trans woman, the transgender community continues to break the boundaries of social acceptance. The transgender push for equality has now shattered the Higher Education glass ceiling. According to the Washington Post, starting next fall, University of California applicants will be the first wave of students given the option to signal their sexual orientation and any number of gender identities on their application.

This change is one of several new accommodations the university has made in effort to make the campus as inclusive as possible. “I think it introduces the kind of welcoming environment we want to have just by introducing the question on the first thing students will see, which is the application they’re filling out. We think it’s very important,” said Pamela Brown, vice president for institutional research and academic planning, who serves on the system-wide-advisory council on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues.

UC undergraduate program applicants will now have the option to answer the following questions:

How do you describe yourself?(Mark one answer)

  • Male
  • Female
  • Trans Male/Trans Man
  • Trans Female/Trans Woman
  • Genderqueer/Gender Non-Conforming
  • Different Identity

What sex were you assigned at birth, such as on an original birth certificate?

  • Male
  • Female

Do you consider yourself to be (Mark one answer):

  • Heterosexual or straight
  • Gay or lesbian
  • Bisexual
  • Not listed above (please specify)

The university hopes to one day implement these options in graduate study and employment applications. The information will enable them to track such students in order to monitor graduation rates and determine if the support available is sufficient.

President Janet Napolitano, who pushed for these changes with the creation of a task force last summer said “it doesn’t stop [here] – we must continue to look at where we can improve so everyone at UC feels respected and supported.”

University officials note that an applicant’s answer to any of the questions holds no bearing on chances for admission.

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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How to Ensure a Successful College Visit

Jul 6, 2015

by Emily Rabinowitz

Summer is in full swing and for most high school students, that means it's time for college tours! Throughout my four years of high school, I visited and toured nearly 20 different universities to find what worked for me. In an effort to ease your college touring adventures, here's what helped me:

  • Plan ahead. During the summer and school breaks, college tours fill up quickly. Remember to book your tour, hotel and other details in advance. Try not to plan too many visits on the same day, as tours can be a lot of walking.
  • Get in touch with Great Aunt Millie. Whether they're across the country or in a neighboring state, chances are you know someone who can serve as an "excuse" to visit that school you've been dreaming of. If you don't have family near one of your schools, consider finding a fun family attraction nearby; after long days of college tours, everyone needs a little fun! (Pro tip: Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio is awesome if you're taking a road trip to visit Midwest schools!)
  • Communication is key. Even though it may seem like it, your parents can't read your mind so tell them what is important to you in a school. In my experience, parents can use a reminder that college applications are hard and time consuming; the tour process is mainly to help you decide which schools you will apply to.
  • Stay positive. Remember that college is a buyer's market: When looking at schools, you have the deciding power. The more you can see yourself at a school, the better your application will be. Trust me, the readers will see this as they review your materials.
  • Be honest with yourself. If you're like me, you started off with over 20 potential schools. At some point, you'll need to cross some off the list. Listen to your gut and trust that you will end up somewhere great!
  • 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!

    Comments (2)

    Colleges Respond to Poll Showing 20 Percent of Female Students Sexually Assaulted

    Jul 6, 2015

    by Chris Bernardi

    Students attending colleges and universities across the United States in 2015 can look forward to new U.S. regulations aimed to protect them against a rising rate of sexual assaults on campus. In attempt to increase responsibility for ending sexual assaults on campus, American colleges and universities will have to follow stricter reporting requirements for sexual assault allegations. In addition, they must provide clear options to those who report an incident of suspected abuse and provide prevention training for students and college employees.

    The measures, provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, went into effect July 1st. The new regulations were fueled by several studies and polls showing a drastic spike in sexual assault rates across American college campuses. In a poll that was released last month by the Washington Post and The Kaiser Family Foundation, results showed 20 percent of female and five percent of male college students had been victims of sexual assault on U.S. college campuses during the past four years. The poll surveyed over 1,000 people that either attended or lived on or near a campus and more than 500 colleges across the country.

    Tracy Sefl, a board member of the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the largest anti-sexual violence organization in America believes “increased awareness has led to increased recognition of the problem.”

    By increasing awareness, advocates of the new regulations hope to flip the script on the astonishing findings that only 12 percent of sexual assault victims report the attacks to their college or local police. Dana Bolger, co-founder of Know Your IX, explains the dilemma a victim faces. “We know that most victims were assaulted by a friend or partner, and there can be a lot of confusion and doubt that comes along with that experience, and hesitation to report [someone] you know or love.”

    Do you feel the negative stigma attached to sexual assault victims should bear enough weight to deter them from reporting the crime? Would you feel comfortable reporting a friend or loved one to the university or police? Why or why not?

    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!

    Comments (5)

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