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An Architectural Take of the Collapse of Corinthian Colleges


I just came across the following description of the closing of Corinthian Colleges, written in May 2015 by Lawrence Biemiller for The Week:


Corinthian Crumbles

In classical architecture, Corinthian is the most elaborate of the orders, recognizable by the acanthus leaves carved into column capitals. In higher education, however, Corinthian is a company accused by state and federal regulators of being, basically, an elaborate scheme for soaking up student-aid money, with a commitment to educating students that was uneven at best.

Last week what remained of Corinthian’s edifice crumbled when four of its subsidiaries closed abruptly–Everest College, Everest Institute, Heald College, and WyoTech–and some 16,000 students at 28 campuses, mostly in Western states, found themselves with no classes to attend. The company, which had previously closed its other campuses after coming under intense federal scrutiny, said it had hoped to sell the remaining outlets but couldn’t do so…

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Losing Faith in Managerial Government in Michigan


In a post to this blog in December, I reported on the decision by the Board of Trustees of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) to continue the university’s involvement in the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) that Governor Snyder’s administration created ostensibly to “save” Detroit’s “failing” public school system. That decision was made in the face of escalating protests by the faculty and students at EMU, as well as by many other educational and community groups. As I wrote in that post, the EAA has promoted charter schools at the expense of the already under-funded public schools, while producing no improvement in the educations being provided to Detroit’s children and while creating all sorts of opportunities for corruption, graft, and corporate profiteering.

Now the EMU Board of Trustees has reversed itself on the EAA. In an article written by David Jesse for the Detroit Free Press, Eastern Michigan Regent Jim Stapleton…

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Emerson College Hosts Danny Ledonne


On January 26, AFEC-AAUP and the Visual and Media Arts department of Emerson College hosted Danny Ledonne, one of Emerson College’s most controversial graduates.

Ledonne (‘04) spoke about artistic and academic freedom after a screening of his critically praised documentary film, Playing Columbine, which explores the controversy created by his video game, Super Columbine Massacre RPG!. He and Emerson faculty member David Kociemba then led a discussion of the film, the video game, and the controversies that have continued to surround them.

A seminal work in the serious games movement, the video game was singled out by the media as a “murder simulator” whose 16-bit graphics “trained” the 2006 Dawson College shooter, but it also sparked a censorship controversy when it was removed from the list of finalists at the 2007 Slamdance Guerrilla Gamemaker Competition. When half the finalists and a sponsor pulled out of the festival in…

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U of Chicago Faculty Member Accused of Sexual Misconduct, Resigns


Writing for New York magazine Jessica Roy reports on the resignation, under threat of termination, of Jason Lieb, a molecular biologist at the University of Chicago. Lieb had been accused of making “unwelcome sexual advances to multiple female grad students,” most notably at an “off-campus retreat,” and of engaging “in sexual activity with a student who was ‘incapacitated due to alcohol and therefore could not consent.'”

Worse, Lieb had apparently faced a similar accusation while holding a previous position at the University of North Carolina. In fact, the search committee at the University of Chicago had been made aware of the previous accusation “but though they looked into it, they couldn’t find sufficient evidence to corroborate the claim”: “Lieb had told them during the interview process” that after he had secured a position at Princeton University, the university had indeed “faulted him for not informing them about a complaint of unwanted contact…

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If You Are Looking for “Alternatives,” Please Look in the Right Places


This post is in response to a comment on my previous post that rightly pointed out that Wesley Coopersmith, the author of an article in U.S. News and World Report, is a millennial searching for meaningful “alternatives” to the current, unsustainable cost of getting a university education. The commenter asked whether we should not be offering alternatives, rather than simply dismissing out of hand the alternatives that Coopersmith is offering for consideration. I might have posted this piece simply as a response to that comment, but I think that the issue is important enough and I feel strongly enough about my response on it that I am presenting it as a separate post to insure that it gets somewhat broader attention.

Alternatives to the current model are absolutely required, but the starting place is in beginning to reverse some of the destructive ideas that have undermined affordability, access and the quality of education…

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Linking a Bad Idea with a Slightly Better (or Less Worse) Idea Does Not Make the Bad Idea Any Better


In “The Path to Debt Free College: More School Choice,” an article written for U.S. News and World Report, Wesley Coopersmith argues that “to solve the debt crisis in higher education, lawmakers should let students have many more options.”

Brushing aside proposals to increase Pell Grants, to reduce interest rates on student loans, and to provide free community college, Coopersmith asserts: “Rather than focus on how students pay for their education, these policymakers need to ask why they’re paying so much, and what they’re paying for.”

He addresses the second of these issues first, asserting: “Traditional college degrees are not only increasingly costly but also increasingly less valuable. More than 43 million Americans have taken on debt to pay for college, yet one recent survey showed that over 40 percent of graduates at ‘top’ schools could not find careers in their chosen field.” This passage sets the rhetorical pattern for the essay:…

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COCAL Updates


COCAL is the Coalition of Contingent Academic Labor, a nearly 20 year old network of contingent activists and their organizations that does a conference (now tri-national – USA, CAN (including QBC) , and  MEX) every other year, usually in August. It also sponsors a listserv, called ADJ-L, and has an International Advisory Committee and a website www.cocalinternational.org and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/COCALInternational>.


NOTE: Donate to AFT 2121 fund to help the fight for the CCSF that SF deserves. This will help fund their hardship fund in the event of a strike.

1. CCSF rally and boycott of Chancellor’s speech

and http://www.aft2121.org/2016/01/aft-2121-boycott-of-chancellor-lambs-address/

2. Future of the college is the real issue in CCSF union negotiations


1. Turkish lecturers detained for opposing military action

2. Egyptian gov cancels student union election after their allies lose

3. Global  temps R Us, From…

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UnKoch My Campus Briefing on Jane Mater’s “Dark Money”


This post has been written by Connor Gibson.


New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer’s new book Dark Money includes details that bolster concerns publicized by UnKoch My Campus, and students and professors across the United States who have blown the whistle on Charles Koch’s co­optation of higher education programs.

Universities are at the heart of Charles Koch’s lobbying model, which after four decades of finance has grown into an integrated network of professors, public relations agents, lobbyists, pundits, and politicians. Starting in 2005, Koch foundations started investing in campuses at an exponential pace.

From 2005­2014, Koch spent $109.7 million on 361 distinct campuses, according to IRS data analyzed by Greenpeace USA.

Charles Koch has long advocated for universities to advance the corporate interest. Universities offer a sense of prestige and trust to Koch’s lobbying, serving to influence both current and future policy and regulation efforts. Universities complement…

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“Scott Walker and Higher Education in the Media”


In “Scott Walker and Higher Education in the Media,” the article that I have contributed to the January-February issue of Academe, I have tried to show that it matters how professional journalists frame attacks on higher education, especially when the attacks are ideologically driven. I have focused on Scott Walker’s attempts to “reform” higher education in Wisconsin not just because of their timeliness but also because of their severity. I have tried to survey the coverage of his proposals in the national and Wisconsin media, building to a concluding consideration of the extent to which his higher-education proposals were linked in the media coverage to his presidential ambitions. More specifically, I have analyzed articles that have appeared in publications ranging from the New York Times and the Chronicle of Higher Education to the Capital Times published in Madison.

All of the articles in Academe are available in print and…

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Florida State Reaches Almost $1 Million Settlement with the Victim of Jameis Winston’s Non-Rape


Trying to find and provide any sort of coherent explanation for how all of the threads of this story can be concurrently accurate would be like trying to pull apart a 500-pound ball of scotch tape:

“Florida State University has settled a lawsuit filed by Erica Kinsman, the woman who accused Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston of rape back in 2012. According to a statement from her attorneys as reported by USA Today, the university agreed to pay Kinsman $950,000 and make a five-year commitment to awareness, prevention, and training programs.

“’I will always be disappointed that I had to leave the school I dreamed of attending since I was little,’ Kinsman said in a statement. ‘I am happy that FSU has committed to continue making changes in order to ensure a safer environment for all students.’

“The lawsuit alleged that the university was ‘deliberately indifferent’ to her report of sexual assault, and that Florida State…

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