You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Student Bashing’ category.

If you enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley this fall, and you weren’t a California resident, you paid more than you would have if you had gone to Harvard.

That’s not a joke, or a misprint. Berkeley, a public university, now charges its out-of-state attendees more than Harvard does. Choose Harvard instead of Berkeley, and you’ll save enough to buy a top-of-the-line iPad. With a data plan.

“But that’s just out-of-state students!” I hear you cry. “The University of California is a state university, serving the people of the state of California! Out-of-state students should pay more!”

Well, yeah. Fair enough. But in-state tuition at Berkeley is now brushing up against fifteen grand, and even at that price it’s available to fewer and fewer Californians every year. Why? Because those higher-than-Harvard fees are really hard to pass up.

Berkeley’s out-of-state enrollment historically hovered around ten percent. But it rose to 15% two years ago as the current financial crisis hit, then jumped to 23% last year. For the fall of 2011, it skyrocketed to 29.8%. Even with increased enrollment overall, that translates to a loss of more than one thousand places for California residents in just two years.

Education activists talk about “privatization” of higher education a lot, and there’s a danger of that word losing its meaning through repetition. But here it is — privatization in action in the most concrete way. First Berkeley raises its out-of-state pricing to private university levels, and then it starts jacking up out-of-school enrollments to squeeze the most revenue out of its new policy. The public university withers, replaced by something very very different.

And this process is just getting underway. It’s going to get far worse before it gets better.

Update | An eagle-eyed commenter noticed that the webpage I used as my original source for Harvard’s rates omitted two apparently mandatory fees. Once those are taken into account, Harvard’s tuition costs remain slightly higher than Berkeley’s, for now at least. Once you factor in room and board, however, Berkeley takes the lead again — and by a slightly wider margin than I reported in the original version of this post. Full details in comments.

The Council of University of California Faculty Associations, an umbrella group representing faculty bodies throughout the UC system, has released a statement “in solidarity with and in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement now underway in our city and elsewhere” and is urging UC faculty to endorse that statement on an individual and collective basis.

OWS, they say, “aims to bring attention to the various forms of inequality – economic, political, and social – that characterize our times, that block opportunities for the young and strangle the hopes for better futures for the majority while generating vast profits for a very few.” The statement ends with a call for “all members of the University of California community to lend their support to the peaceful and potentially transformative movement.”

Good stuff. But it stands in stark contrast to CUCFA’s silence on the student protests that have been sweeping the UC system for more than two years, and its timidity in addressing the root causes of those protests.

The current wave of UC student agitation began in earnest in the fall of 2009, sparked by plans for huge tuition hikes in the system. In November of that year, one week before the Regents’ fee hike vote, CUCFA called for a “postponement” of the vote to ensure “transparency, accountability, and fair consideration of other options” in the decision-making process. They did not oppose the hike itself.

CUCFA was silent the following month when sixty-six Berkeley students were arrested in the course of a peaceful, non-disruptive occupation on campus, and they remained silent throughout the wave of protest and repression that followed. In November 2010 they expressed “concern” about an incident in which a UC police officer drew a gun on student protesters and the UC system lied about why, but they released no statement condemning the incident and took no action in opposition to it. They remained silent as well as student activists’ due process rights were violated in campus judicial proceedings

The University of California has engaged in a massive campaign of intimidation, disruption, and physical violence against student activists since 2009, and CUCFA has — as far as can be determined from their own website’s archive of their public statements — never once stood up in support of the students’ protests or in opposition to those protests’ suppression.

Is this OWS endorsement a first step toward a new CUCFA policy?

One can only hope.

Youth culture scholars Danah Boyd and Alice Marwick have a thought-provoking op-ed in today’s New York Times, one that challenges a lot of the assumptions teachers and parents bring to bullying discussions.

High school students, they’ve found, rarely use the word bullying to describe even the most obvious examples of such behavior. Instead, they — particularly girls — dismiss it as “drama.”

Dismissing a conflict that’s really hurting their feelings as drama lets teenagers demonstrate that they don’t care about such petty concerns. They can save face while feeling superior to those tormenting them by dismissing them as desperate for attention. Or, if they’re the instigators, the word drama lets teenagers feel that they’re participating in something innocuous or even funny, rather than having to admit that they’ve hurt someone’s feelings. Drama allows them to distance themselves from painful situations.

Adults want to help teenagers recognize the hurt that is taking place, which often means owning up to victimhood. But this can have serious consequences. To recognize oneself as a victim — or perpetrator — requires serious emotional, psychological and social support, an infrastructure unavailable to many teenagers. And when teenagers like Jamey do ask for help, they’re often let down.

No student wants to be identified as a victim. And so…

Antibullying efforts cannot be successful if they make teenagers feel victimized without providing them the support to go from a position of victimization to one of empowerment. When teenagers acknowledge that they’re being bullied, adults need to provide programs similar to those that help victims of abuse. And they must recognize that emotional recovery is a long and difficult process.

Boyd and Marwick highlight a fundamental contradiction in anti-bullying campaigns. Adult rhetoric treats bullying as serious business, but adults in positions of power in such environments rarely exercise that power in ways that back up that rhetoric.

Adults: think back to the worst example of bullying you experienced or witnessed in high school. Now imagine that behavior taking place in a workplace, an adult social setting, a college classroom. Imagine how it would be addressed in such a context. The gap between what you imagine and what you saw in high school is the gap between society’s rhetoric on bullying and students’ reality. And in most cases that gap is vast.

In an op-ed in today’s Guardian, a British advocate for young criminal offenders reports that after August’s UK riots protocols for youth justice were tossed out the window:

“About a quarter of participants in London were under the age of 17, yet all protocol regarding youth justice was ignored. Youth services have worked hard over recent years to establish a rulebook for young offenders, designed to keep them away from the dangerous chasm of the adult justice system. Youth courts, specially trained magistrates, targeted assistance by youth offending teams, triage and assessment, social worker involvement – all have been slanted towards rehabilitation and welfare. This good work was overturned when young people were “herded” – another brave word from Greany – from police cells into the adult courts. Long sentences were imposed. Young people who might have been helped to live differently are now in jails, dispersed all over the country to rub shoulders with career criminals and murderers.”

The faculty council of New York City’s Brooklyn College has unanimously condemned NYPD’s spying on their campus’s Muslim student organization, saying it has a “chilling effect” on academic freedom.

Documents made public earlier this month indicate that the New York Police Department has been monitoring Muslim student groups at seven local colleges — City, Baruch, Queens, Brooklyn, LaGuardia Community College and St. John’s. At Brooklyn and Baruch, the department sent undercover police officers to spy on the groups directly. St. John’s college is private, while the rest of those targeted are part of the City University of New York.

The NYPD’s surveillance of Muslim organizations was undertaken in concert with the CIA, whose inspector general is now investigating whether the Agency’s involvement violated the law.

The Brooklyn College resolution said that the faculty “opposes surveillance activities by the NYPD and affiliated agencies on our campus either directly or through the use of informants for the purposes of collecting information independent of a valid and specific criminal investigation,” and called on the college’s administration to reveal “their knowledge of or involvement in this surveillance and information gathering.”

Brooklyn College president Karen Gould, who took office in 2009, said the NYPD had not informed her administration of its spying.


About This Blog

n7772graysmall is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.

To contact Angus, click here. For more about him, check out
%d bloggers like this: