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Matthew McConaughey offers college students safe ride home

University of Texas students had been studying for hours when one of Austin's most famous residents showed up in a golf cart.

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Matthew McConaughey volunteered with Meals on Wheels on Thanksgiving and decided to continue doing good deeds during the holiday season by helping out his alma mater.

The Texas college alum joined student volunteers in the SURE Walk program to give those staying late on campus some company on their way home. SURE stands for Students United for Rape Elimination.

The Student Government program at the university offers Longhorns who don't want to walk home alone a male and female companion to walk with. Since its inception, the program has expanded with the help of various other student organizations to multiple locations across the 40 acres and even acquired some wheels to transport students faster.

The school posted a photo of McConaughey driving some students back to their residences.

"Longhorns take care of each other, and it's 'safe' to say Matthew McConaughey agrees," a post of Facebook reads. "Don't forget to use SURE Walk when traveling home late at night; you never know who might pick you up."

SURE Walk operates from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Sunday. SURE Walkers can be requested by phone or email. 

Longhorns take care of each other, and it's 'safe' to say Matthew McConaughey agrees. Don't forget to use SURE Walk when traveling home late at night; you never know who might pick you up! #BeSafe #SafeChatsPosted by The University of Texas Student Government on Monday, November 28, 2016

College professor edits Latina student's essay: 'This is not your language'

A college student said she felt "disrespected and invalidated" when her professor wrote a discriminatory comment while editing an essay the student wrote for class. 

On the paper, she said the professor wrote, "Please go back and indicate where you cut and paste." She also said the professor circled "hence" on the paper and wrote, "This is not your word."

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Suffolk University senior Tiffany Martínez wrote about her experience in a blog post titled "Academia, Love Me Back" on Thursday. She wrote that the professor "challenged (her) intelligence" in front of other students in her class. 

"This morning, my professor handed me back a paper (a literature review) in front of my entire class and exclaimed 'this is not your language,'" Martínez wrote. "On the top of the page (she) wrote in blue ink: 'Please go back and indicate where you cut and paste.' ... They assumed that the work I turned in was not my own ... On the second page the professor circled the word 'hence' and wrote in between the typed lines 'This is not your word.'" 

I was hurt badly this morning and publicly humiliated in front of my peers by a professor. They assumed I plagiarized my...Posted by Tiffany Corin Martínez on Thursday, October 27, 2016

Martínez told Buzzfeed News that the professor "spoke loudly enough that students at the back of the room heard and asked if (she) was OK after class."

"I spent the rest of the class going back through every single line, every single citation to make sure that nothing had been plagiarized, even though I knew I hadn't," she told Buzzfeed. 

Martínez, a Latina with aspirations of earning a Ph.D and becoming a college professor, wrote that she has battled stereotypes throughout her academic career. She discussed the disappointment she has felt with consistent assumptions that she is "weak, unintelligent and incapable."

"As a minority in my classrooms, I continuously hear my peers and professors use language that both covertly and overtly oppresses the communities I belong to," she wrote. "In the journey to become a successful student, I swallow the 'momentary' pain from these interactions and set my emotions aside so I can function productively as a student."

After Martínez's post gained attention online, Suffolk University president Marisa Kelly released a statement saying the school "must redouble efforts to create a more inclusive environment."

"Suffolk University is committed to making every member of our community feel welcomed, valued and respected," Kelly wrote. "I take (Martínez's) concern seriously on behalf of the institution as the acting president, and I take it seriously as an individual personally committed to diversity and inclusion."

Kelly also announced that faculty members will go through mandatory microagression training sessions on how to better interact with students.

 

In her Momentum blog, Acting President Marisa Kelly addresses the University's commitment to making every member of our...Posted by Suffolk University on Tuesday, November 1, 2016

8-year-old admitted to college after inspiring pep talk

An 8-year-old was offered admission into a Texas university after her mother sent the school a video of the girl.

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Jordin Phipps proudly sported a University of North Texas T-shirt while talking to the camera as her mother recorded her. 

"(I'm going to) start my day in a positive way," Phipps said. "I will be respectful with the words I say. I will pay attention, and I will do my best, and I will study hard for every test."

The motivational pep talk was a presentation of a daily message that Phipps and her classmates at Watson Technology Center in Garland, Texas, recite at school.

"I will take advantage of what my teachers have to give. I will become a productive citizen in this world," Phipps said. "I am smart. I am a leader. Failure is not an option for me. Success is only moments away. I have the attitude of a North Texas eagle."

After seeing the video, UNT officials surprised Phipps at an assembly at her school and awarded her a $10,000 Presidential Excellence award, which is normally given to high school seniors. She was also guaranteed a spot in UNT's class of 2030.

Phipps' mother, Nichole Smith, is a University of North Texas alumna.

MEAN GREEN PRIDE: 8-year-old Jordin is our new favorite person.  Her mom just sent us this adorable and inspiring video of her.  We can't wait to have her on campus!Posted by University of North Texas on Friday, September 23, 2016

SCHOLARSHIP WINNER: Congrats to the latest student admitted to UNT, 8-year-old Jordin!  We got to surprise her today at...Posted by University of North Texas on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Here's why the VP debate will be in Farmville, Virginia

What do Hempstead, New York; St. Louis, Missouri; and Las Vegas, Nevada, all have in common with Farmville, Virginia? 

Besides being home to universities, they don't have much in common. But each of the cities has been named the site of presidential and vice presidential debates.

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Never heard of Farmville? Most people probably hadn't until the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the vice presidential debate would be held there. 

Tuesday night's matchup between former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine and current Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will be held at Longwood University, a small liberal arts university of about 5,100 students.

But why Longwood and Farmville?

Farmville is a rural community of about 8,200 in the swing state of Virginia -- so it has appeal to both tickets. 

The town also has strong historical roots: The Civil War's Battle of High Bridge took place nearby, and it's home to what The Atlantic called "the forgotten school" in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Three-quarters of the plantiffs in that case were actually students at the nearby high school. 

USA Today reported one of the reasons Longwood got the honor was because it promised to incorporate a debate-centered curriculum this semester. And apparently, it wasn't just one college course; the university created over 30 courses. 

The debate-hosting will likely pay off immensely for the university. According to Washingtonian, the school has received donations from about 1,000 more donors this year compared to the same time last year. 

The institution is also using the debate honor as an opportunity to draw in prospective students. 

Student arrested for wearing gorilla mask, flaunting noose at Black Lives Matter protest

An East Tennessee State University student has been charged with civil rights intimidation after heckling Black Lives Matter demonstrators at a peaceful silent protest on the school's campus.

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Tristan Rettke, an ETSU freshman, arrived at the protest at Borchuck Plaza at the school's campus barefoot in a gorilla mask and denim overalls.

Video footage showed him attempting to hand out "noose-wrapped bananas" from a burlap sack to the demonstrators. The sack had a marijuana leaf and a Confederate flag printed on it.

"He pulled out his burlap sack and then he had the rope and whatnot and then he started offering us bananas," said Jaylen Grimes, one of the demonstrators. "A lot of us didn't take it, but I just took (it) as a sign of peace offering and just to show him that just because he's being disrespectful towards me, I won't be disrespectful towards him."

As part of his counterprotest efforts, Rettke held up a sign that said "Lives Matter."

A video posted by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Sep 28, 2016 at 7:54pm PDT

"He's just trying to get a reaction out of us that we're not going to give him. We're bigger than that," said one protestor who held a sign that read "Black Lives Matter (doesn't mean) all lives don't (matter).

Rettke, 18, was escorted from the protest by public safety officers and was later criminally charged by the Johson City Police Department. 

Rettke told police he went to the event "in (an) attempt to provoke the protesters."

ETSU President Brian Noland held a press conference Wednesday after seeing video of the incident. He discussed the event during a "community dialogue" on campus.

"I was offended, but I was also saddened," Noland said, calling Rettke's actions "incomprehensible, intolerable and impermissible."

Rettke has been placed on interim suspension from the college. 

In a statement, ETSU said Rettke's actions "go against the values" of the school and that the university is a place "where people come first and all are treated with dignity and respect." 

The university applauded the protestors for remaining clam despite Rettke's actions. 

"We are exceptionally proud of the students who were peacefully participating in the event and the manner in which they exercised restraint, thoughtfulness and strength in the face of inappropriate and offensive behavior," Noland said.

"Of course, it's hard to stay calm because they're doing it because they know they can get under your skin," Grimes told The Johnson City Press. "You've just got to have thicker skin and be the bigger person and just show that ignorance is not going to override your ability to be calm. Because being calm is a lot more difficult than reacting the way they want us to react, which is in a violent stereotypical black way. But we're not all like that."

"We hold no ill towards him," another student, Grant Madison said. "I added him on Facebook and want to speak with him about why he did it."

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.7";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script>Earlier today during a student-led Black Lives Matter event at Borchuck Plaza, our campus community was outraged by the...Posted by East Tennessee State University on Wednesday, September 28, 2016

 

Read more at the East Tennessean

During a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Borchuck Plaza, a man in a gorilla mask confronted protestors and dangled...Posted by East Tennessean on Wednesday, September 28, 2016

UNC football player accused of raping fellow student

A student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is speaking out after she said she was raped in February, but the university took no action.

"My life has changed forever, while the person who assaulted me remains as a student and a football player on this campus," Delaney Robinson said Tuesday. 

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Robinson said her attacker is Allen Artis, a linebacker on their school's football team. The 19-year-old sophomore told the media that she was taking the incident public because she was dissatisfied with how the college was handling the alleged rape.

"I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the rape kit to be taken. I gave a statement. I cooperated with law enforcement and the Title IX office," Robinson said in a statement. "But six months later, the university has done nothing. I'm taking this public stand not for me but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the university tells us."

Robinson and her attorney spent six months pushing for Artis' expulsion, The Daily Mail reported.

According to Robinson, the assault occurred at on-campus housing on Valentine's Day. She told authorities that Artis, 21, laid on top of her, pinning her down with his weight while raping her. 

A photo taken by Robinson shows purple marks on her neck that are said to be bruises inflicted by Artis on the night of the rape.

"Yes, I was drinking that night on Valentine's Day," Robinson said. "I'm underage, and I take responsibility for that, but that doesn't give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped."

Robinson said she went to a hospital after the incident and told a sexual-assault nurse what she could remember of the incident. She had a rape kit completed and was later questioned by the university's Department of Public Safety investigators, who filed an incident report. The rape kit documented "blunt force trauma" and "bruising consistent with a physical assault."

But Robinson, originally from Apex, North Carolina, said she was "quizzed" with "humiliating" and accusatory" questions.

"Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one-night stands? Did I even say no? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect," she said she was asked.

Robinson said she later heard a recording of Artis' interview with the DPS.

"They told him, 'Don't sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football,'" she said. "They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls' phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me."

According to Robinson's lawyer, Denise Branch UNC Chapel Hill’s Title IX office, the unit that examines sexual discrimination at universities, has been investigating the case. 

Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall said a felony investigation is still underway.  

"There is no question that there was physical contact, but what the circumstances are surrounding the contact are what investigators are trying to determine."

"The Hunting Ground," a CNN documentary that spotlighted sexual assaults on college campuses in the country, reported that UNC Chapel Hill received 136 sexual assault reports between 2001 and 2013, but that none of the reports resulted in expulsions.

In a statement, the university said it "is deeply committed to the safety and well-being of ... students and takes all allegations about sexual violence or sexual misconduct extremely seriously."

Artis was charged Tuesday with sexual battery and assault on a female after Robinson requested a misdemeanor warrant, allowable under North Carolina law. Artis turned himself in at a magistrate's court Wednesday morning.

He was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, and his next court date is Sept. 29.

Artis, originally from Marietta, Georgia, was suspended from the football team pending the outcome of the case.

Robinson and her father, Stacey Robinson, have both released statements. 

Georgetown University to make reparations for past ties to slavery

Georgetown University is taking steps to atone for its historical ties to slavery. 

The plan includes giving the descendants of slaves the same admissions advantages that children of alumni receive. Two buildings on campus will also be renamed.

One will honor Anne Marie Becraft, an African-American woman who opened a school for black girls in the Georgetown area, and the other will commemorate one of the slaves sold to help pay off the university's debt.

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In 1838, Georgetown University sold 272 slaves to pay off some of the school's debt. The slaves were uprooted from Maryland and sent to Louisiana.

The university has addressed its history with slavery before, but recently, a committee appointed to determine how the university should address its history found that slavery was deeply rooted in Georgetown's founding. 

Profits from the sale of slaves and from plantations run by slaves were a planned source of funding for the school, and many of the campus' early buildings were built, at least in part, by slaves.

Georgetown's investigation started in August, and the student body began putting pressure on the university last year to open a dialogue about its history with slavery.

The steps announced this week stopped short of calls for scholarships for the descendants of slaves, but the university claims its efforts won't end with Thursday's announcement. 

University of Chicago won't support 'trigger warnings,' 'intellectual safe spaces'

A letter sent out by University of Chicago officials warned incoming students that they won't find any "intellectual safe spaces" on the school's campus.

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The letter goes on to acknowledge that the university is committed to "freedom of inquiry and expression" and encourages each student to challenge and broaden their perspectives on issues.

"You will find that we expect members of our community to be engaged in rigorous debate, discussion and even disagreement," the letter read. "At times, this may challenge you and even cause discomfort.

"Our commitment to academic freedom means that we do not support so-called 'trigger warnings,' we do not cancel invited speakers because their topics might prove controversial, and we do not condone the creation of intellectual 'safe spaces' where individuals can retreat from ideas and perspectives at odds with their own."

The letter pointed students to more information on freedom of expression and quotes a former president of the university, Hanna Holborn Gray, as saying that "education should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think."

The University of Chicago is ranked as one of the top and most selective universities in the country. Less than 8 percent of the more than 31,000 people who applied to enter the class of 2020 were accepted by the school, according to The Chicago Maroon.

This essay about Costco got a high school senior into 5 Ivy League schools

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Most high school seniors have received college acceptance letters by April and must decide which schools they'll attend by May. 

For those with more than one offer, the decision can be tough -- especially if you're Brittany Stinson, a graduating senior from Wilmington, Delaware.

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Stinson recently got accepted to five Ivy League schools -- Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth and Cornell -- and Stanford University.

Stanford's acceptance rate for the class of 2020 hit a record low of 4.69 percent -- a lower rate than any of the Ivy League schools. The highest acceptance rate of the schools she was accepted to was at Cornell, where only 13.96 percent of applicants were accepted.

"I'm sort of still in shock. I don't think I've processed everything yet," she told Business Insider.

Stinson, who compared Costco Wholesale to the larger world in her college admissions essay, shared the essay online:  

Prompt: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. "Managing to break free from my mother’s grasp, I charged. With arms flailing and chubby legs fluttering beneath me, I was the ferocious two­ year old rampaging through Costco on a Saturday morning. My mother’s eyes widened in horror as I jettisoned my churro; the cinnamon­sugar rocket gracefully sliced its way through the air while I continued my spree. I sprinted through the aisles, looking up in awe at the massive bulk products that towered over me. Overcome with wonder, I wanted to touch and taste, to stick my head into industrial­sized freezers, to explore every crevice. I was a conquistador, but rather than searching the land for El Dorado, I scoured aisles for free samples. Before inevitably being whisked away into a shopping cart, I scaled a mountain of plush toys and surveyed the expanse that lay before me: the kingdom of Costco.  "Notorious for its oversized portions and dollar­fifty hot dog combo, Costco is the apex of consumerism. From the days spent being toted around in a shopping cart to when I was finally tall enough to reach lofty sample trays, Costco has endured a steady presence throughout my life. As a veteran Costco shopper, I navigate the aisles of foodstuffs, thrusting the majority of my weight upon a generously filled shopping cart whose enormity juxtaposes my small frame. Over time, I’ve developed a habit of observing fellow patrons tote their carts piled with frozen burritos, cheese puffs, tubs of ice cream, and weight­loss supplements. Perusing the aisles gave me time to ponder. Who needs three pounds of sour cream? Was cultured yogurt any more well­mannered than its uncultured counterpart? Costco gave birth to my unfettered curiosity.  "While enjoying an obligatory hot dog, I did not find myself thinking about the ‘all beef’ goodness that Costco boasted. I instead considered finitudes and infinitudes, unimagined uses for tubs of sour cream, the projectile motion of said tub when launched from an eighty foot shelf or maybe when pushed from a speedy cart by a scrawny seventeen year old. I contemplated the philosophical: If there exists a thirty­three ounce jar of Nutella, do we really have free will? I experienced a harsh physics lesson while observing a shopper who had no evident familiarity of inertia's workings. With a cart filled to overflowing, she made her way towards the sloped exit, continuing to push and push while steadily losing control until the cart escaped her and went crashing into a concrete column, 52” plasma screen TV and all. Purchasing the yuletide hickory smoked ham inevitably led to a conversation between my father and me about Andrew Jackson’s controversiality. There was no questioning Old Hickory’s dedication; he was steadfast in his beliefs and pursuits – qualities I am compelled to admire, yet his morals were crooked. We both found the ham to be more likeable–and tender. "I adopted my exploratory skills, fine tuned by Costco, towards my intellectual endeavors. Just as I sampled buffalo­chicken dip or chocolate truffles, I probed the realms of history, dance and biology, all in pursuit of the ideal cart–one overflowing with theoretical situations and notions both silly and serious. I sampled calculus, cross­country running, scientific research, all of which are now household favorites. With cart in hand, I do what scares me; I absorb the warehouse that is the world. Whether it be through attempting aerial yoga, learning how to chart blackbody radiation using astronomical software, or dancing in front of hundreds of people, I am compelled to try any activity that interests me in the slightest.  "My intense desire to know, to explore beyond the bounds of rational thought; this is what defines me. Costco fuels my insatiability and cultivates curiosity within me at a cellular level. Encoded to immerse myself in the unknown, I find it difficult to complacently accept the 'what'; I want to hunt for the 'whys' and dissect the 'hows.' In essence, I subsist on discovery."

Incredibly honored and blessed to be officially admitted to Yale, Columbia, The University of Pennsylvania as a Benjamin...Posted by Brittany Stinson on Thursday, March 31, 2016

Satirical article claims Stanford admitted zero students to class of 2020

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In what has been called a "fun April Fool's" column, the New York Times identifies Stanford University as the most selective institution of higher education in the country after an announcement that it admitted less than five percent of applicants to the class of 2020.

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“We had exceptional applicants, yes, but not a single student we couldn’t live without,” the New York Times reported an anonymous Stanford administrator as saying. “In the stack of applications that I reviewed, I didn’t see any gold medalists from the last Olympics -- Summer or Winter Games -- and while there was a 17-year-old who’d performed surgery, it wasn’t open heart or a transplant or anything like that. She’ll thrive at Yale.”

The article, which has been called satirical but not yet identified as such by the author, Frank Bruni, is intended to bring attention to the "absurdity of college admissions today."

Last year, the Stanford received a record number of applications -- 42,487 -- and invited less than 2,500 high school seniors to join Stanford’s class of 2019.

The five percent admission rate was a record low until this year's 4.69 percent rate. 

“This is the worst thing that has happened to anyone, ever,” Bruni quoted a high school senior from Washington, D.C., as saying. "Whether she accepts an offer of admission from M.I.T. or one from Duke, she’ll defer enrollment and take a gap year to regain her confidence," he wrote, poking fun at the sentiments of discouraged young people and also pointing out the privilege and sense of entitlement stereotypically embraced by many young millennials. 

A total of 1,318 high school seniors were accepted to Sanford's newest undergraduate class on Friday. An additional 745 early action students were accepted in December. The 2,063 admits came from a pool of 43,997 applicants, the largest in Stanford’s history. Anoter 3.6 percent of applicants were given a place on Stanford’s waitlist, according to The Stanford Daily. This year's admits come from 50 states and 76 countries. 

“We are honored by the interest in Stanford and overwhelmed by the exceptional accomplishments of the students admitted to the Class of 2020,” Richard Shaw, Stanford dean of admissions and financial aid, told the Stanford Report. “Our admitted students reflect the deep and profound diversity of the world in which we live. We believe these students will impact that world in immeasurable ways.”

Though rejecting so many applicants seems like grounds for financial concern, Stanford donors haven't pulled back, the New York Times reported. In fact, the rise in the school's donations might be growin "in tandem with its exclusivity."

Admitted students have until May 1 to accept Stanford’s offer.

Read the New York Times piece here.

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