Tag: college

Sara Goldrick-Rab, a leader in the fight for higher ed affordability, makes the POLITICO 50

There are two kinds of political activists: those who dedicate their time to a worthy political cause, and those who are absolutely awesome at it. One of those people who are absolutely awesome at advocating for a worthy political cause is Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the author of the book Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream.

Goldrick-Rab is not just a professor and an author about the high cost of higher education in this country. She’s also a staunch advocate for ideas to make higher education affordable in America, and, for her advocacy, she’s earned a spot in this year’s POLITICO 50, a list of more than 50 of the most politically influential people and institutions in America published by POLITICO Magazine. Here’s what POLITICO Magazine wrote about Goldrick-Rab’s work:

Clinton’s plan, however, was neither the highest-profile nor most radical. It was Bernie Sanders who campaigned on the issue most vocally during the primaries, pushing not just debt-free college but universal free tuition for public higher education. That idea has roots in the work of Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University. In 2014, Goldrick-Rab proposed a “free two-year college option” that would cover tuition at public universities, as well as some living expenses. The plan drew on her study of more than 3,000 students receiving federal aid and Pell Grants in Wisconsin, which revealed that those students were still crippled by living costs.

I’ve never met Sara Goldrick-Rab in person, but, as someone who is an online friend of Goldrick-Rab (I follow her on Twitter), she is an absolutely awesome person who truly cares about . I’m proud of her.

You can view Goldrick-Rab’s website here and view her Twitter page here.

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It’s a national tragedy that many of America’s college students are homeless

Earlier this month, Glamour magazine posted an article to their website about a subject that, while most people wouldn’t find to be exactly glamorous, is a very serious issue facing our country: homelessness in higher education. You’d have to read the entire article, which you can view here, to truly understand how serious of an issue homelessness in higher education is.

The article is about Brooke Evans, a formerly homeless student at University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) who helped start a food pantry for students at UW-Madison. In addition to her efforts to start a food pantry for her fellow students, Evans has advocated for, among other things, requiring college and university cafeterias to accept food stamps and offering free mailboxes to students at her university who don’t have a postal address. Evans has gone above and beyond in her efforts to advocate for improving the lives of college and university students in America.

Evans isn’t the only college student in this country who has been homeless while in college. In fact, federal statistics has shown that over 59,000 applicants for federal student aid last year reported being homeless, and homelessness among college students in America is on the rise. There are a perfect storm of circumstances contributing to an increase in college homelessness, most notably that an increasing number of students from low-income households are attending college, that a college or university education of some kind is needed for virtually every good-paying job in the United States nowadays, and, most importantly, that tuition and other college-related expenses have risen dramatically in recent decades.

I admire Brooke Evans’s advocacy for homeless and poor college students. We really need a lot more people like her to stand up for our country’s most vulnerable and forgotten-about people.

BREAKING NEWS: University of Mizzouri president Tim Wolfe resigning, Mizzou graduate student Johnathan Butler ends hunger strike

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In this blog post, “Mizzou” refers to the University of Missouri-Columbia, and “Mizzou System” refers to the entire University of Missouri System.


Tim Wolfe, the President of the University of Missouri System, is resigning amid a hunger strike by Mizzou graduate student Jonathan Butler, a strike by 32 members of the Mizzou football team, and a pervasive racist culture at Mizzou. Upon Wolfe’s resignation, Butler ended his hunger strike and has stated that Wolfe’s resignation should be the first step towards ending racism in the Mizzou System:

However, the president of the Mizzou System stepping down should be only the first step when it comes to ending the racist culture at Mizzou and in the Mizzou System.

Make no mistake about it, racism is a serious problem at Mizzou. The student body at the flagship Mizzou campus, located in Columbia, Missouri, is predominantly white, and black students have had to deal with racial slurs directed at them regularly. In one instance, someone drew a swastika, a symbol on the flag of Nazi Germany during Adolf Hitler’s fascist dictatorship, on a dormitory wall using human feces. That is just one of many racist incidents at Mizzou.

Just because Tim Wolfe stepped down doesn’t change the fact that racism is still a problem in the Mizzou System. The next Mizzou System president should take racism a lot more seriously and fight to make the Mizzou System campuses welcoming to all Mizzou System students and faculty.

Former Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott now lobbying for pro-rape legislation in Congress

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains extremely strong and profane language referring to sexual assault. Reader discretion is advised.


This is one of the most repulsive ideas I’ve ever heard of…a group of Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), have proposed legislation that would prohibit colleges and universities from disciplining students who rape someone, unless law enforcement becomes involved in a rape case.

Guess who is lobbying for this ridiculous piece of legislation? Chester Trent Lott, Sr., the former Senate Majority Leader who is more commonly known as Trent Lott. You might remember Lott from his infamous remarks from 2002, in which he publicly defended segregationist Strom Thurmond’s third-party 1948 presidential campaign (Thurmond lost to President Harry Truman). Those remarks forced Trott to resign from the leadership of the Senate Republicans. Now, Lott is lobbying for pro-rape legislation that would make it much easier for college students to rape someone, which is a criminal act in every jurisdiction in this country, and not get caught.

While the proposed legislation is called the Safe Campus Act (SCA), this legislation would actually make college campuses far more dangerous for students. What this legislation would do is effectively force college and universities in this country to give a free pass to rapists if nobody reports the criminal act to law enforcement. Congressional Republicans and Trent Lott are supporting the idea of forcing institutions of higher education to cover up sexual assaults perpetrated by their students.

Anyone who supports this ridiculous legislation apparently believes that male college students have an unfettered right to fuck every woman they want to, even if the women don’t consent to the sexual acts. No person in this country has an unfettered right to perform sexual acts on someone else without their consent, in fact, it’s a crime to rape someone.

I’ve seen the Republican Party do incredibly asinine things in my lifetime, but this is the single most repulsive thing I’ve ever seen the Republicans do.

Hillary Clinton’s higher education affordability plan? Ridiculous work requirements!

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said this to the editorial board of the far-right Des Moines Register, a newspaper that endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election for president:

Make no mistake about it, work requirements for college students would encourage less Americans to attend college and would make America even more of a low-wage economy than it currently is. It’s extremely difficult for college students to work even a part-time job while attending several college classes per day. Furthermore, the vast majority of college students who do work while in college work low-wage jobs, such as flipping hamburgers at fast food restaurants. People go to college to work a good-paying job after graduation, not work a low-wage job while attending college.

On the other hand, Bernie Sanders has a real plan to make college more affordable by taxing Wall Street speculation to pay for truly affordable higher education without a ton of strings attached. With countries like Germany moving to steal our nation’s future by making higher education more affordable, America can’t afford another Clinton workfare scheme.

Does the Democratic establishment overemphasize student loan reform and college affordability?

Make no mistake about it, the growing student debt problem in this country is one of the most serious problems facing this country. However, I believe that heavily emphasizing student loan reform and other college affordability measures hurts Democrats electorally.

There are two reasons why I believe that making student loan reform and other college affordability measures a key part of a Democratic campaign’s message, as Hillary Clinton has done, runs the risk of being an electoral loser for Democrats. First, most Americans don’t really care about student debt, unless they’re directly impacted by it. Secondly, emphasizing college affordability as a key part of a campaign message only resonates with voters that are directly impacted by student debt (mostly younger voters who are either in college or recently graduated from college), in effect, leaving blue-collar voters, such as poor minorities and white working-class people, essentially abandoned by the political party that best represents their interests, which is the Democratic Party.

Would I suggest that Democratic candidates drop college affordability plans altogether? Absolutely not. Would I suggest that Democrats not talk about student loan reform and college affordability? Absolutely not. In fact, I believe that the student debt problem in this country needs to be seriously addressed, as Bernie Sanders has done with his plan to tax Wall Street speculation to pay for a plan for more affordable higher education in America. However, Democrats cannot afford to abandon poor and working-class voters by overemphasizing an issue that few people in this country seem to care about.

My thoughts about the 47 Republican Senators who signed the traitorous letter in an attempt to undermine U.S. diplomacy with Iran

I find it highly outrageous that 47 members of the United States Senate, all Republicans, signed a letter in a blatant attempt to undermine attempts at negotiating a deal with Iran to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, apparently violating the federal Logan Act in signing the letter.

The 47 Senators who signed the Cotton Letter are as follows:

  • Richard Shelby of Alabama
  • Jeff Sessions of Alabama
  • Dan Sullivan of Alaska
  • John McCain of Arizona
  • John Boozman of Arkansas
  • Tom Cotton of Arkansas, the ringleader of the effort to undermine diplomacy with Iran
  • Cory Gardner of Colorado
  • Marco Rubio of Florida
  • Johnny Isakson of Georgia
  • David Perdue of Georgia
  • Mike Crapo of Idaho
  • Jim Risch of Idaho
  • Mark Kirk of Illinois
  • Chuck Grassley of Iowa
  • Joni Ernst of Iowa
  • Pat Roberts of Kansas
  • Jerry Moran of Kansas
  • Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Majority Leader
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • David Vitter of Louisiana
  • Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Roger Wicker of Mississippi
  • Roy Blunt of Missouri
  • Steve Daines of Montana
  • Deb Fischer of Nebraska
  • Ben Sasse of Nebraska
  • Dean Heller of Nevada
  • Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
  • Richard Burr of North Carolina
  • Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • John Hoeven of North Dakota
  • Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
  • James Lankford of Oklahoma
  • Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
  • Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Tim Scott of South Carolina
  • John Thune of South Dakota
  • Mike Rounds of South Dakota
  • John Cornyn of Texas
  • Ted Cruz of Texas
  • Orrin Hatch of Utah, the Senate President Pro Tempore
  • Mike Lee of Utah
  • Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
  • Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
  • Mike Enzi of Wyoming
  • John Barrasso of Wyoming

All 47 of those individuals who I named are traitors to this country who are more interested in starting World War III by undermining the sitting President of the United States and allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons that they could use to bomb the United States and our allies than doing anything that would actually be productive, such as fixing crumbling roads and bridges, making it easier for Americans to go to college, helping the private sector create more good-paying jobs, and so on.

Also, regarding the so-called “pro-Israel” lobby’s support for the Cotton Letter, the Cotton Letter puts Israel, as well as other U.S. allies and the U.S. itself, of even greater danger of an attack by Iranian forces, since the Cotton Letter is designed to undermine efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons that could be used by Iran in an attack on the United States and its allies.

I’m calling for the U.S. Justice Department to bring up all 47 of the senators who signed the Cotton Letter on federal criminal charges for violating the Logan Act, which legally prohibits U.S. citizens who are not authorized diplomats from negotiating with a foreign government.

Scott Walker compares progressives to right-wing terrorists and touts junk science about Ebola

Wisconsin Governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker compared progressives and labor union members to ISIS, a right-wing Islamic fundamentalist terror group at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), an annual gathering of conservatives in the United States:

We need have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message that not only will we protect American soil, but…freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need that confidence,” (Walker) said. “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.

First off, regarding Walker’s claim that his political base consists of “freedom-loving people”, a claim that he’s made multiple times since he’s made it 100% clear to the people of his home state of Wisconsin that he wants to be president, Walker has made it clear to me that, if elected President, he wants to continue the Republican tradition of supporting freedom for people in foreign countries while taking freedom away from the American people. That’s not freedom-loving, that’s hypocrisy!

More importantly, I found Walker comparing progressives and labor union members to a group of Islamic fundamentalists who have beheaded Americans in the Middle East downright offensive and absolutely absurd. The 100,000+ people who descended on the Wisconsin State Capitol four years ago to protest the union-busting bill now known as 2011 Wisconsin Act 10, or Act 10 for short, weren’t out to kill anybody; they were out to voice their opposition to driving down wages and busting unions. To compare progressives and labor union members to a group of right-wing terrorists is false equivalence, pure and simple!

Additionally, as progressive blogger and possible 2016 Wisconsin State Senate candidate Chris “Capper” Liebenthal pointed out, Walker also claimed at CPAC that Ebola, a deadly virus that spreads through contact with bodily fluids, can be cured with aloe, a common ingredient in shampoo and skin moisturizer. In reality, Walker’s claim is false, since there is currently no cure for Ebola (although research to find a cure is ongoing), and methods of treating Ebola are currently very limited. I certainly wouldn’t want Walker making health care decisions for me or anybody else!

Scott Walker has made one absurd claim and comparison after another since he’s made it clear that he wants to be president. What’s next for Walker? Claiming that the U.S. should appease Israel more often because Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald helped him implement a far-right agenda in Wisconsin? Claiming that he can take on Vladimir Putin and Russia because he watched the movie Rocky IV? Claiming that he can take on Kim Jong-un and North Korea because he mandated forced ultrasounds for Wisconsin women who want to have an abortion? Walker frightens me!