Tag Archives: Oregon

Radicals Stop a Rose Festival

I saw this on Althouse, Ann Althouse’s excellent blog:

“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” said the anonymous email that caused Portland, Oregon, to cancel its Rose Festival Parade.

The local frenzied left said it would disrupt the parade, dragging and pushing people, because the 67th group in it was the Multnomah County Republican Party.

“We will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward LGBT, immigrants, people of color or others,” it said.

Althouse: “So now that’s all it takes to end freedom of expression in Portland. What a flimsy, pathetic place.”

This is what has been going on at Berkeley, Middlebury, Claremont McKenna, UCLA, Brown, Rutgers and many more campuses. The Brownshirts won’t go away on their own. They will have to be confronted.

Some Hope for Higher Ed Reform

The current conversation on higher ed reform coming is unusually platitudinous even for an election year. This was clearest earlier this year during the battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on the proposed federal student loan interest rate, a subject fairly inconsequential in larger problem of sky-high college costs. In his Democratic nomination acceptance speech, President Obama claimed he would work to “cut college tuition in half” in the next ten years. How he would do this, or if he truly grasped what he was saying, is anyone’s guess.

But Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Marco Rubio (R-Florida) have shown a great deal of care in crafting the “Know Before You Go Act.” The bill, currently under consideration in the Senate, will “support statewide individual-level integrated postsecondary education data systems.” More specifically, under the proposed bill the federal government will help states coordinate student educational and postgraduate employment data. The bill’s aim is to help consumers make better choices about the products they are considering. Per a press release from Wyden’s office, the bill focuses on making the following metrics more accessible to consumers:

  1. Post-graduation average annual earning;
  2. Rates of remedial enrollment, credit accumulation, and graduation;
  3. Average cost (both before and after financial aid) of the program and average debt accumulated;
  4. The effects of remedial education and financial aid on credential attainment and a greater understanding of what student success can mean.

We should praise the Know Before You Go Act for several reasons. First, instead of trying to instituting IPAB style price-control to help reform educational choices and costs, it respects the consumer’s volition to make his or her own determinations as to what is best for their particular circumstance. As Rubio said, “We want people to know what the new jobs, skills, careers in the 21st century are. The reason you need to know what your professional prospects are is that you have to weigh that against how much you will borrow.” He continued, “I graduated with $125,000 in student loans. That’s nobody’s fault – it was an investment for me. We want kids to have access to information before they make this investment.”

Secondly, the bill does not create a new federal database to obtain data by tracking students. Instead, its coordinates already extant data gathering mechanisms in the states. In describing this aspect of the bill, Wyden sounded like a Republican. “The new database is state-based and individually considered. The states can do this on their own but there’s a problem. There’s no uniform standards. If there’s no standards…then the system is failing families.”

Lastly, of concern to many conservatives, Wyden emphasized that the bill would produce a glut of computer science or accounting majors, to the neglect of the liberal arts. “This legislation is about empowering students to make their own choices. Are we going to miss out on opportunities for rich liberal arts education? I reject the either/or choice. A lot of universities are starting to pick up on labor trends – after 9/11 and Arabic for instance. Is it liberal arts or an education for a high paying job? That’s a false choice.”

Granted, it still seems Congress is far from addressing the main driver of college cost inflation – federal subsidies in the form of loans for anyone who wants them. Said Wyden, “Federal education policy is at a fork in the road. Historically it is about access. I want to keep that focus – support Pell grants, Stafford Loans, and all of the assistance that ensures access.” Nonetheless, a respected Democratic policy thinker is supporting a bill that is conservative in its temperament. By supplying greater amounts of data to consumers, the Wyden-Rubio bill is the right move in reforming an industry badly in need of more transparency and accountability.

Is Oregon State Punishing a Republican’s Children?

Art Robinson, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for Congress last fall in Oregon’s 4th district, is making very serious allegations against Oregon State University—that as payback for his campaign, the university is moving to expel three of his grown children from Ph.D. programs, and in two of these cases, allowing other scholars to take over their work and use it as their own. OSU has denied the charge in  a brief statement. The allegations appear here and here.

The Wikipedia entry on Robinson, who holds a PhD. In chemistry is here.

A Rachel Maddow interview with Robinson, one that many viewers believe exposed him as a kook, is here.

Another Team Falls To Title IX?

Sad news: An Oregon judge has rejected a last-ditch lawsuit challenging the University of Oregon’s decision to discontinue men’s wrestling as a varsity sport as of last June. Although Oregon Circuit Judge Lynn Ashcroft, stated in his Oct. 22 opinion that the university’s decision to drop men’s wrestling was not “‘gender’ based”—rejecting a claim that the 54-year-old program was a casualty of the funding quotas that many universities have put in place in order to comply with federal and state requirements that they devote equal resources to men’s and women’s athletics—it’s pretty clear that Title IX of the federal Civil Rights Act, whose draconian interpretation by the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights has led to the demise of more than 250 Division I wrestling programs since 1972, is an “un-indicted co-conspirator,” as the blog Saving Sports described it, in the demise of men’s wrestling at Oregon.
What is particularly poignant about the Oregon story is that the university’s wrestling program had been made famous by the novelist Ken Kesey, who died in 2001. Kesey had been a champion wrestler for Oregon during his undergraduate years in the mid-1950s, and a wrestling injury that made him ineligible for the military draft allowed him to enroll in a graduate writing program at Stanford University where he wrote most of his best-selling 1962 novel, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Both of Kesey’s sons (one is now deceased) wrestled for Oregon, and the Kesey family had helped spearhead a futile drive this past spring, which included more than $2 million in alumni pledges, to keep the wrestling program at Oregon alive.

Continue reading Another Team Falls To Title IX?