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by Susan Dutca

The incoming Trump administration could reverse President Obama's actions on college sexual assault, giving hope to those who claim their lives were destroyed by false rape claims. However, this raises concerns for some that perhaps those who have been victims of sexual assault and made legitimate reports may not get the protection they deserve.

Since 2011, colleges and universities have been pushed by the Obama administration to "more aggressively police sexual assaults." The U.S. Education Department currently has 216 schools under investigation. Other schools are reportedly "operating out of fear" rather than "cooperating with the government" often expelling students on "scant evidence...often with no legal recourse or due process." Some students who were found guilty during this time have filed lawsuits "alleging their due process rights and Title IX were violated during the investigation and ruling of the cases." The hope is that a way can be found to ensure due process and the protection of all students' rights.

Rather than focusing on "Obama's interpretation of Title IX," Trump and select Education Secretary Betsy DeVos" biggest priority is to focus on school as a whole, according to Cynthia Garrett, co-president of Families Advocating for Campus Equality. Groups representing alleged campus rape victims believe that a "dialing back of Title IX" would not "get a true ruling" or a "fair and equitable process for both process."

In your opinion, how should colleges deal with incidents of campus sexual assault? Is it possible to offer equal protection to all students and still make campuses safer and free from sexual assault?

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

Students are being called to "expose and document" professors "who discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values, and advance leftist propaganda" on a new website called Professor Watchlist.

Turning Point USA, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization founded in 2012 promotes ideas of free-market capitalism and "educates students about the importance of fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited government." Through this website, Millennial founder Charlie Kirk hopes that "every young person can be enlightened to true free market values...through non-partisan debate, dialogue, and discussion." Individuals can contribute via an open submission form which "brazenly calls out the professors in a public space."

The list contains dozens of comments from professors across the U.S. and all published comments "fall well within the norms of academic and political discourse." One comment, for example, details how a "(t)endured[sic] professor...and an admitted socialist, required students to recite a pledge that describes a racist, sexist, homophobic America. 'I pledge allegiance to and wrap myself in the flag of the United States Against Anything Un-American and to the Republicans for which it stands, two nations, under Jesus, rich against poor, with curtailed liberty and justice for all except blacks, homosexuals, women who want abortions, Communists, welfare queens, treehuggers, feminazis, illegal immigrants, children of illegal immigrants..."

To-date, students and others have submitted "tips and evidence of bias" evident in classrooms and across social media. Some have also recounted the nature of certain academics' professional work and agendas which they push onto their students. Do you support the nature of this discourse and the website? Why or why not? Start a meaningful conversation with your personal opinion.

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

American Flags designated for a Veterans Day ceremony at Brown University were torn and trashed by university students. While a group tried to protect remaining flags, others continued what they believe was a "justified" protest against the recent presidential election.

The American flags arranged on Brown University's Main Green flew in honor of the annual Veteran's Day ceremony, which made the incident "a little extra disturbing" to some students. In response, a group of students staged a sit-in to protect the remaining flags from vandalism, retrieved trashed flags, and replanted them in the ground. Protesting students defended their "justified" actions, claiming the flags serve as a "symbol of oppressing white nationalism" and a "sign of oppression and racial dominance and bigotry and imperialism." A similar incident occurred last week at American University where students set fire to American flags to protest Donald Trump's "white America" which is "going down in flames."

Brown's veteran students attest to the university's strong support of veterans but claim that students are "hostile" and "confused as to what the military does." University veterans state that they have been called "baby killers" and are all categorized as "white men...hiding behind a veil of integrity and honor and go around the world enslaving people." While the vandalism may have been a protest to the recent political climate, vets say that their "service isn't political...nor was the ceremony."

A university spokesman stated in an email that they are "investigating the accounts of vandalism to American flags set out on Brown's College Green to celebrate Veteran's Day" and furthermore, do not "condone the activities that led to the flags being removed, and destruction of property is subject to disciplinary review."

In your opinion, was the vandalism justified? What, if any, action should the university take? Share your thoughtful comments with us 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 Associate Dean featured as the "chief villain" in a discredited Rolling Stone article on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia has been awarded $3 million by a federal court jury. This decision followed an earlier ruling that the discredited article ruined her reputation and "undermined her work to help students who had been sexually assaulted."

In November 2014, Rolling Stone writer Sabrina Erdely wrote the story "A Rape on Campus," which narrated an alleged 2012 gang rape of an anonymous student named "Jackie" by seven males during a fraternity party. The story triggered a nationwide debate over sexual assault at U.S. colleges and the university's purported "indifferent response" to the alleged assault. Shortly following its publication, the article was retracted after "devastating questions were raised about its veracity." The discrepancies were acknowledged by reputable media outlets including The Washington Post, Slate, and the New York Times. The Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism also joined in on the investigation and concluded that it was a "journalistic failure that was avoidable." In addition to the many discrepancies, police found no evidence the gang rape ever took place.

Ms. Nicole Eramo initially sued Rolling Stone magazine for $7.5 million, claiming the 9,000-word article marred her reputation and caused emotional distress. Instead of attempting to "sound alarm about campus sexual assault" and challenging "Virginia and other universities to do better,” the article suggested Eramo took zero action in response to the alleged gang rape. Consequently, the "magazine's failure may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations."

The winning lawsuit claimed that the "highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake" and furthermore, "were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts." The jury ordered Erdely to pay Eramo $2 million and Rolling Stone to pay an additional $1 million.

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

Two fans at UW Madison's weekend football game wore costumes depicting Donald Trump lynching President Obama. The school, though stating the costume was "repugnant" and "insensitive," backed the demonstration as free speech, protected under the First Amendment. Critics are now "deeply concerned" with the lack of action.

A photo of the costume went viral on social media and police asked the fans to "remove the offensive component of the costume." The man in the prison-striped effigy of Obama also wore a sandwich board with the message "What difference does it make now, Hillary?" and had a large cutout of Hillary Clinton's face masking his identity. The individuals were not forced to leave the stadium once they had complied with the orders, which outraged some who believe that "officials should have done more."

More than 60 people expressed their disapproval in a letter signed by the "University of Wisconsin-Madison Black and African-American Alumni." In it, they claimed to honor free speech as a "fundamental entitlement in our country." However, the "official response" to the incident was "in error," as the costume "incited race-based hatred by invoking lynching symbols, historically understood as a racist hate crime."

In your opinion, do you think the university should have taken another course of action? Should they have considered the costume hate speech with the potential of inciting a riot? Why or why not? Start a conversation with your thoughtful comments 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 Susan Dutca

Due to "ongoing racism" at the University of Alabama, students are choosing to remain seated during the national anthem at football games. Their #BamaSits demonstration is just one of the many thought to be motivated by similar protests by San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.

#BamaSits protestors have cited their disapproval of "police violence against young black people" and the "racism that remains present in American society." The demonstrations have sparked counter-movements such as #BamaStands, where students are showing up at games with U.S. flags, "placing their hands over their hearts during the anthem" and "showing great enthusiasm for the anthem." Such critics believe that the national anthem shouldn't be the moment used to "air their grievances."

Protestors are also against the recent, strong recruitment of out-of-state students to the university. From around the time Nick Saban started as the university's football coach, the school has pushed for increased enrollment of out-of-state students; a recent national trend which is most prevalent at Alabama. In-state Alabama students are outnumbered by out-of-state students, with roughly 60 percent of first-year students being from out-of-state. Proponents of #BamaSits state that they "don't think the university recognized that when they pushed for out-of-state recruitment...it would change the entire state."

Protests such as these are not uncommon in Alabama, and have "deep roots...dating back to the Civil War." From this point of view, Alabama students are showing their disapproval as a "continuation of a long struggle within the state...the symbolism behind the naming of public buildings or institutions after individuals associated with slavery, or white supremacy." The group claims they aren't just sitting - they're "pushing against the administration to change policies on [our] campus."

In your opinion, are these useful ways to promote students' ideas? Should colleges try to discourage such acts of protests? If so, what other ways might students protest that could prove effective? Share your thoughts with us.

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

The generous $500 million gift from Phil and Penny Knight to the University of Oregon is the "largest ever for a public flagship institution" and is intended to support and strengthen interdisciplinary scientific research.

With the donation, the university plans to extend its current science campus by 210,000 square feet, with three new research facilities. The initiative is expected to create 30 new positions for research scientists and open 250 graduate and 150 postdoctoral slots.

This won't be the first time the Knights have made such a large contribution. In 2014, they gave more than $300 million to the University of Oregon's athletic department. Also, in February 2016, they announced their plan to donate $400 million to Stanford University's graduate scholar program. Mega-gifts such as these given to Knights' alma maters are not uncommon; however, they are "rare at public universities." While some argue that these donations are simply "gifts from the top 1% to the top 1%," University of Oregon President Michael Schill notes that "more than one-third of Oregon undergraduates are considered low-income." Furthermore, statistics from the White House indicate that only "73% of Oregon students graduated high school last year, one of the lowest graduation rates in the country."

Mr. Knight's states that "collaborative scientific research is a comparative strength at the University of Oregon, and with appropriate support could develop into a major center of excellence and a national treasure." He notes that the lack of funding to basic scientific research programs "threaten to choke off opportunities to enhance standards of living." The University of Oregon hopes to complete and open the new facilities in three years.

Do you think the $500 million donation is a good investment? If you had the resources, how and where would you invest your dollars? Let us know in the comments section below and be sure to check out our extended list of scholarships by state for more opportunities.

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

One nonprofit is heavily recruiting reformed delinquents from disadvantaged communities and funneling them into college. The troubled youth - many of whom have committed crimes and have been in jail, are given personal advisers, free college-prep courses, childcare, bus passes and other forms of support to keep off the streets.

College Bound Dorchester has enrolled about 130 students over the past three years and guides students into Bunker Hill and two other Boston Colleges - Roxbury Community college and Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology. Some students are homeless and others are victims of domestic abuse. In spite of their dark pasts, 30 percent have earned an associate or bachelor's degree and 60 percent of those who start the program continue the following year.

Giovanne Morris is proof that you can overcome hardship and become successful. Though he may have been previously known for "the destruction he caused growing up in a neighborhood teeming with guns, drugs, and violence", Morris recently received a standing ovation for his matriculation speech at Bunker Hill Community College. He is currently headed into his second semester of college, majoring in human services and hoping to become a counselor for a middle school or nonprofit organization. He described his struggle to fit in with his peers, often feeling "more accepted in the streets." His ankle monitor and the scar on his wrist are a reminder of the past he has chosen to leave behind in order to pursue greater opportunities for himself and his son and daughter.

Morris hopes to be a "different kind of role model" than he was prior to joining College Bound Dorchester. The program, which is located in one of Boston's most dangerous neighborhoods scopes out 17-27-year-olds with "a track record of leading their peers into crime" and turns them into "core influencers" who can utilize their "charisma and leadership that got them into trouble to become positive influences in their communities." The cost of achieving this goal isn't cheap - funds come from mostly private donations but is worth it, according to leaders who claim it's cheaper than the alternative.

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 (8)

by Susan Dutca

The creepy clown craze - which started in late August with alleged sightings in South Carolina - has spread to some college campuses. Disconcerting social media posts have prompted police investigations nationwide and have even led to a forced lockdown at Merrimack College. Though many of the cases were found to be hoaxes, police are taking the incidents seriously, and so are some students who have taken to the streets to "hunt" the clowns.

At least ten states have reported clown sightings, many of which were deemed pranks and not credible. One student at Belmont University posted an image of a clown standing outside a building on campus as a joke, but when caught later, claimed he "severely underestimated the power of hysteria and how quickly [the prank] got out of hand." In Connecticut, New Haven Public Schools launched an investigation on the authenticity of numerous clown-related Instagram posts with messages such as, "If you go to Career watch out...u really think it's fake, wait and see." There was no indication that the incident posed any real or substantial New Haven Public Schools, according to a statement by officials, but the incidents are being taken "very seriously."

While the fear grows with increased sightings, some students are running toward the clowns, and not away. A mob of 500 Pennsylvania college students set out to "hunt clowns" after rumors spread that one had been spotted on campus. The group was "rioting" and chanting, "We are Penn State!" University police Sgt. Mike Nelson stated that "there were no clown sightings and no credible clown threats." Similarly, at UConn, students left their dorms in search of the clowns with golf clubs and hockey sticks in hand. However, in all of these cases, the "cause is specifically social media" and reports from third-hand reports instead of actual witnesses.

What would be the most effective way to handle the clown cases? 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!

Comments (42)

by Susan Dutca

Within 48 hours, two incidents involving racially-charged photos surfaced at the University of North Dakota. The pictures were posted to Snapchat with the captions "Black Lives Matter" and "Locked the black b—h out." UND President Mark Kennedy is "appalled" at the events and stated that there is "much work to do at the University of North Dakota."

The first picture showed three white students in a UND dorm with the caption "locked the black b—h out." Though it is unclear as to what prompted the picture, it allegedly began with "three students stealing another student's phone" while she was out of the room and posting it to her Snapchat story. Roughly 24 hours later, a second picture surfaced, revealing four white UND students in blackface and with the caption "Black Lives Matter."

In a statement issued by UND President Mark Kennedy, he expressed his disappointment in seeing that there are "people in [our] university community who don't know that the kind of behavior and messaging demonstrated in these two photos is not ok, and that, in fact, it is inexcusable." Kennedy is "directing [his] team to explore best practices for diversity education amongst premier institutions" and is also collaborating with the "AVP for Diversity and Inclusion University Senate to bring it a reality at UND. Currently, the UND Police Department and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities are investigating both incidents.

In your opinion, what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken? Share your thoughts and start a meaningful 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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