Racist Attack Targeted At American University Black Sorority

American University in Washington, D.C. is at the center of its second racially driven hate act in eight months.

According to a statement released by the university, bananas were left hanging from what was designed to look like nooses on three separate locations on campus.

The bananas were “marked with the letters AKA”, the letters of a predominantly black sorority.

Last September, similar incidents occurred at American including an episode when someone threw a rotten banana at a student..

Students took to social media to express their anger with the racially charged incident.


American’s student body president Taylor Dumpson (who happens to be the college’s first black woman SGA president) released a statement about the incident.

“It is disheartening and immensely frustrating that we are still dealing with this issue after recent conversations, dialogues, and town halls surrounding race relations on campus,” Dumpson said. “But this is exactly why we need to do more than just have conversations but move in a direction towards more tangible solutions to prevent incidents like these from occurring in the future.”

Cover Photo Credit: American University/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

What I Learned From Running For SGA At Liberty University

I have learned more than I think I could possibly write in a single article about life and politics by running for SGA office at Liberty University.

The office I ran for specifically within the SGA was Freshman Class President.

The reason that I had originally decided to run was because I felt a calling to.

Faith has always played a big part in my life and this was no different.

After I decided to run in August of 2016, I put together a team, budget, and strategy to run do it.

I learned very quickly that this was not like high school.

After talking to several people, I realized that others had budgets way higher than mine, but I knew that the power of communication and face to face interaction would be powerful.

I knew this because my father always stressed professionalism and being personal with people as the most effective tool.

Others had told me the same thing—so I understood it to be true.

In the process of running, I came to understand that presenting myself professionally is important and that you only have a few seconds to attract a voter.

I knew what my vision was and while I would have loved to speak about it for several minutes, I realized I had perhaps thirty seconds before someone gained interest or lost interest.

I experienced this quickly as I saw faces turn into forced smiles, or more preferably, eyebrows raise in interest.

I knew that in running, I would have to be personal with people, but do it quickly.

Very quickly actually.

Many people wandered on to other booths and others had food to attract voters.

In fact, one table made people pancakes.

I realized that it would be important for me to send people out to convince voters to vote.

At the table I ran, I left a video playing that expressed my views and went out to different people and tried to get them to vote.

Many already voted and were unable to vote again.

I learned this rather quickly and went out of my way to speak to several classes that had several hundred students.

All in all, I spoke to over 1500 people in only a few hours.

That evening, I found out that I won the election.

I was beaming.

The team that my Vice-President and I put together was exceptional, and we won our first election.

The team was quick and efficient and most importantly, personable.

The only way to attract a voter is to truly connect with them.

I learned through running for class president that it would be hard but definitely worth it if I could help people out.

I also learned that professionalism and being personable are the most important aspects of a campaign.

People care more about personal connection than they do about a video or a poster.

I remember a professor once told me that there a few things someone can tell about an individual.

Amongst those things were if someone cares, is passionate, and if they have vision.

I actually listened to people and went out of my way to understand why they wanted SGA to do for them.

I promised them that I would do my best to help them.

I remember the people I promised I would try to help and I have advocated for each and every one of them.

Those are the things that I think about before I go to bed.

I found myself writing those issues down and petitioning my own resources and connections to try and get the job done.

In holding the office that I hold, I have realized many things about myself and others.

I have realized that sometimes it can be really hard to get something done when people disagree with you.

I learned that leadership is service to others.

I learned that in order to get things done, it is important to be assertive.

In a room with others who have also been elected to represent others, it is important to go to bat for those you represent.

With a freshman class nearing four thousand students, it is incredibly important to represent the general interest of the class, foster unity, and bring up specific issues that can be fixed.

Most of what I do involves listening to others and researching different ways to help them.

Although this takes up a lot of time, I enjoy every second of it because I get to help people every day.

Overall, the experience of running for an office in SGA is stressful but it teaches discipline, humility, organizational skills, and teamwork.

In fact, I would go as far to state that is nearly impossible for someone to win a student election if they cannot work in a team.

If SGA has taught me one thing, it is that helping people is worth every second of potential adversity.

This adversity develops patience and resilience which are two traits that only motivate me to continue working hard on others behalf.

Leadership is service, regardless of the title that comes before your name.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Taber Andrew Bain/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Why Don’t Professors Do More To Help Their Students Get Jobs?

Getting a job out of college is a tough process.

Students need to find companies that they are interested in and search for opportunities which match their interests and talents.

It can be stressful and confusing.

Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had a mentor when going through the process?

Of course!

So why don’t more college professors make an effort to help their students get a college once they graduate?

Just think about it.

Professors have information about their students that they can use to further their careers. They have a good idea whether they are strong in certain areas and can give important insights to perspective employers.

However, professors oftentimes mislead their students about how much they are willing to help them.

I will make this concept clear using my friend’s example.

She is very smart and good at academic work.

My professor works with a management team of a hotel to run a research project in engineering and asked her to join in.

Before the project, my friend was not informed about the content of what she was going to be doing. But she trusted the professor and believed that it would end up helping her in the long run.

She was wrong.

It was not until the time my friend went to the hotel with my professor that she knew it was about engineering and she was upset but couldn’t quit the task.

Basically the professor had used her.

This kind of thing happen a lot in China as many professors just want more students to help when they need staff in projects.

And it makes you question whether professors are really looking out for their student’s best interests at all times.

I’m sure many of you have heard of similar situations.

As a student, it is a learning experience to know more about ourselves and prepare for entering a job after graduation.

In China, students tend to find internship when they go into their junior year.

But I find students in the United States tend to get started earlier even in freshman year.

It is very good to try the jobs that students are interested in and at the same time learn academic theories.

The earlier we get started, the better chance we will gain experience and find our target position career.

Take my own major as an example.

I major in hospitality management and there are different concentrations that students can choose.

I chose hotel management and would like to start in a front desk job in a hotel as my first job.

I got some experience in food and beverage in China but not in hotels.

Hospitality is a very broad area.

Some of my friends here have experiences in restaurants, hotel, event planning and tourism.

After working for different areas, they have known which area they would like to enter and those experiences have enabled them to learn a variety of knowledge in this industry.

Therefore, exploring for ourselves and a direction that fits our talent and interests is a very good choice.

Besides, it is very important to let students find more about themselves.

Everyone knows about themselves better than others, although it is hard for us to summarize our traits and personalities.

Finding a job is not just because we can do and love doing, it also matters that we are suitable for those positions.

Every time my mentees come to me and ask me that how to a find an entrance for their career paths, I will let them take a MBTI professional character test to know more about themselves.

Then I will encourage them to try the opportunities to grow and learn.

Because through the process of learning, students’ points of view and how they view themselves will change.

They will find what they like and feel comfortable to work with.

For instance, one of my friends is comfortable to work without interacting with people so she is now working with accounting very well.

I think this self-knowledge learning process is very important for students to experience rather than the situation that professors lead them to real jobs.

It is also important that students get to know different companies and their cultures.

Working in an environment which motivates people benefits both people and companies.

After students have clear understanding about their personalities, they can find the companies which match their personality.

Searching for opportunities is a process.

It is undeniable that professors usually have a wider network and experience to help students in their career.

But students should find their own pathways by themselves.

Professors oftentimes won’t think outside of the box and for whatever reason usually don’t take personal risks to help their students outside of the classroom.

It doesn’t make sense for them but it is the reality.

So don’t count on them- no matter how many promises they make.

You are the only one who knows yourself and in the end it is on you.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Patrick Freebern/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Admitting Your Machine Backing Isn’t Courageous

By Mike Smith

Alabama SGA Presidential candidate Jared Hunter dropped a bomb on campus politics after he wrote a piece in The Crimson White acknowledging his Machine backing.

It was a bold, surprising act rarely seen among Machine supported candidates.

The response on social media so far has been a mixture of appreciation and support.

I am here to say that this should stop.

Don’t get my wrong, publicly announcing your Machine backing takes a lot of guts and the honesty Jared displayed should be admired.

But that doesn’t make his actions right.

No matter what is written in a Crimson White column, the fact still stands that The Machine acts as a vehicle for certain Greek students to pad their resume and has systematically oppressed women and minorities for a century.

I will remind you that The Machine has burned crosses on campus lawns, painted swastikas on university sidewalks, and literally physically assaulted an independent presidential candidate.

Jared Hunter is the Machine backed candidate in the SGA election. Photo Credit: Facebook

Within the past decade alone, The Machine has systematically suppressed numerous rape allegations among their members, tossed out FYC applications for black students after labeling them with the N-word, and delayed the racial integration of sororities until 2013.

Being associated with this organization is not something that can be written off in one column.

Read More: Here’s Why The Current State Of Student Government Elections Are Killing American Democracy

Having its support is not a cute, little trivia fact.

Being backed by The Machine is something to be ashamed of.

Lillian Roth getting sworn in as SGA President in 2016. Photo Credit: Lillian Roth/ Facebook

SGA candidate Gene Fulmer. (r). Photo Credit: Trinidad Miller/ Facebook

Over social media, I have heard plenty of people say that admitting to be a Machine candidate takes some real courage.

I vehemently disagree.

It takes real courage for my friends who stay in their Machine sororities even though they have verbally abused, socially ostracized, and personally threatened.

It takes real courage for Lillian Roth (the incumbent and prior Machine backed candidate) to run for re-election even after some of her best friends started working against her.

It takes real courage for Gene Fulmer to run a huge grassroots campaign in the face of two giant competitors.

It doesn’t take real courage to admit something everyone already knew.

Read More: This “Funny Map” Of Tuscaloosa According To An Alabama Student Is Hilarious And Sort Of Spot On

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo: The University of Alabama/ Facebook

Don’t Look Down At Your Non-College Educated High School Friend Who Talks Politics On FB. You Don’t Matter More Than Them

You’re the political junkie.

You’re getting educated in a big fancy college.

You idolize Trevor Noah.

You rub elbows with future lawyers, lobbyists and politicians.

You study the issues and think that you know more about politics than the average person- especially those that aren’t in school.

After all, you are spending a lot of time and money to expand your mind and find the “truth” behind what’s happening.

At least that is what you think.

So when you get on Facebook to express some of the recycled political ideas that you just learned, you see your high school friend from way back post, ‘Make America Great Again’.

It’s a trigger and you can’t help yourself.

An argument ensues between the two of you.

In your mind, you are going to school this guy.

He isn’t in college after all.

He doesn’t always use the right terms or have perfectly constructed arguments.

You should be able to wipe the floor with him and move on.

But the conversation doesn’t go the way you thought.

It becomes an actual debate.

This debate takes your blood from slightly warm to completely boiling.

How dare He?

You’re the second year political science major that sits down and dutifully learns at the foot of politically connected professors.

But your high school buddy on the other hand who got that landscaping job he was always talking about instead of spending thousands of dollars in housing, student loans and ‘sustainability’ fees doesn’t know anything about politics.

And as a result, you don’t really believe that his voice matters.

He shouldn’t be talking about politics because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about you surmise.

As a college student I’ve heard the claim.

We like to take the stance that these people back home who opted to stay away from tuition costs and auxiliary fees are significantly less informed than us on pretty much everything because we are en route to a college degree.

This is nowhere near the case.

In the era of alternative facts and fake news, the concept of being politically informed is one that we have to throw around very loosely.

You need to take a real look at yourself and make the assessment of what do you actually know about politics.

This assessment doesn’t come from knowing random facts.

It’s more of an overall assessment of your political footprint.

Where do you get your facts?

How did you get there?

How broad is your view?

How reliable is your source?

Media bias exists, it’s a thing that changes our perception of the world around us and can skew political opinions for the worse.

The nature of media bias is everywhere.

it still to this day saturates programs like the Late Show or Trevor Noah’s Daily Show.

Sources like these end up being some people’s only source of understanding politics and because of that they fail to get an unbiased opinion about the political world.

The reality isn’t better for 24 hour news channels either; stations like Fox News and MSNBC also provide underlying bias that people are exposed to as well.

The practice of media bias is so bad that people are arguing over which source (out of these specific two in fact) is the most bias.

To be the ‘politically informed citizen’ that us college students boast about being you need to take the time to look at all sources available.

Rather than this, we have an established culture that encourages us to look solely at the media that is favorable to us as individuals.

In addition to this, college students in general are considered unreliable voters, a fact that furthers the case against us being more politically informed or involved.

In the end, you should not look down at your high school buddy who wants to talk politics.

He may not always be right or say the right things.

Maybe he is more likely to buy into fake news, maybe not.

But he is still an American and he is entitled to as much of a voice as you are.

And who knows, maybe your political opinion is just as one sided, underdeveloped and wrong as his is.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)


Science Academia Is Still Sexist As Hell

Science is not supposed to be about gender.

The purpose of science is to allow clarity in a world with very little understanding.

Unfortunately, many in prominent positions of American life have made it about gender.

In 2015, a reporter from Breitbart News published an article called, “Here’s why there ought to be a cap on women studying science and maths”.


We can laugh at the ridiculous concept of it, but science is still a sexist field.

Women are expected to fail because they supposedly cannot handle the competition from being in a predominately male field.

They are expected to either deal with sexism in the workplace, or leave.

Dr. Gillian Foulger works at Durham University in the U.K., and she worries that women are still treated the same way that she was in graduate school during the 1980’s.

Her graduate program gave women 1/10 of the spots that men had.

Students on a class trip to a science fair in 1985. Photo Credit: Chad Kainz/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Her teachers were supposed to be all female, and there were so few women in geology that many of her professors did not know new scientific concepts.

After she graduated, she was refused the same opportunities that men were getting, such as positions at geological societies and oil companies, despite the fact she excelled in university.

Foulger was forced to look for opportunities abroad, eventually becoming a volcanologist in Iceland.

There, she had to continuously deal with sexist and xenophobic stereotypes during her tenure.

Students in the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment record soil structure. Photo Credit: Dave Brenner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

At one point, her male field assistant sexually harassed her.

“I had to lock my door at night to prevent him from breaking in and raping me,” she told me over the phone with little emotion.

It was, and still is, a fact that women are commonly sexually harassed during their time in academia.

“This is the sort of thing I have done for science, Hannah,” Foulger said to me as her voice hardened slightly. “I have done this because science is me. I love science. I don’t consider myself really ‘a woman’, or ‘a man’, or ‘a person’. I consider myself ‘a scientist’.”

She accepted the scorn and abuse from her male colleagues in order to further science.

The main argument of the Breitbart article is that the retention rate for women is low, so funding women in science is a waste of money.

The author is not wrong about the poor retention rate.

Women may earn more than 50% of the degrees in STEM PhD programs, but after graduate school, the numbers of women in science begin to decline rapidly.

In fact, women only make up 21% of full science professors and tend to make half of what their male counterparts make.

Dr. Foulger told me that women leave science because “the environment is stacked against women.”

She also said it is hostile to women.

“Women are not in positions where they can help those who are at a more junior level than themselves,” Foulger said. “So of course they drop out! They are forced out! Males expect women to drop out.”

If you also consider that married mothers are 35% less likely to get a tenure track position than married fathers, and 27% less likely to become tenured, you can probably guess why women feel like they cannot succeed in science.

Dr. Catherine Cardelús, an ecologist at Colgate University, has a similar perspective.

“The author [of the Breitbart article] does not look at the heart of the problem, which is that women do not have the support or infrastructure that they needed,” Cardelús said.

When Cardelús got her PhD in 2002, she was married with children to another professor, and she said that the men in her program expected her and the other women to fail.

Dr. Catherine Cardelús, is an ecologist at Colgate University. She claims that science is not welcoming to women. Photo Credit: Colgate University

Luckily she and one of her friends, who was also a mother, made a deal that they would not drop out of their program.

Despite the discrimination against them, the two women received their degrees and pursued success.

The best way to deal with discrimination in science is by creating representation.

“My presence alone as a woman in science teaching tells people that women can do it,” Dr. Cardelús said, leaning across the small wooden table in her office, her eyes full of defiance. “Everybody should be able to do what they want. There should not be barriers.”

Unfortunately, it is difficult to convince anyone to pursue a career in academia when the odds are already stacked against you.

A lot of the time, it is less emotionally draining to leave academia with a PhD and pursue opportunities in industry.

To compensate for the extra pressure women tend to feel in science, it is important to build a community.

While we can succeed alone, science is much more likely to move forward with everyone working towards a common goal—education and progress.

The best way to get more women in science is establishing a community of women from the beginning, and moving past stereotypes to allow women to take on more important roles.

We need to support our women and other oppressed groups as they pursue a career in science, because the inclusion of different perspectives will push science into the future.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: simpleinsomnia/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Here’s The 10 Best Cities For College Students To Make Money Over Winter Break

Most college students probably don’t view Winter Break as an opportunity to make bank. But you probably should., a website devoted to helping parents or pet owners find freelancers to help them with projects complied a list of the best cities to make extra cash during the break.

Check out their findings:


RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: vallgall/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

We Should Put Old People In College Dorms. Seriously

By Melissa Davidson

“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” Betty Friedan (1921-2006)

If one takes this quote to heart by feminist icon Betty Friedan, it’s clear that successful aging should be considered a time of growth in life rather than an inevitable decline.

By redefining aging, we can start tackling some of the challenges and needs of a dramatically growing older population.

One of these challenges involves reinventing how people are housed in our country.

The two largest generations in our nation – Baby Boomers and Millennials – are finding common ground on the housing front, literally.

The concept of merging college dorms with nursing homes to create a multigenerational living situation is less radical than one might think and is actually becoming more common throughout the world.

Boomers are traditionally community-oriented and have probably lived in college dorms in a former life, which makes them more open to living with people they are not related to.

Meanwhile, Millennials are open to new ideas and ways of thinking, especially if they can save money on rent as they attend college.


The Dutch have already figured this out.

In exchange for spending at least 30 hours a month with the elderly residents at Humanitas retirement home, college students in the small town of Deventer get to live rent-free in their own apartments within the facility.

As part of their volunteer agreement, the students spend time teaching older residents new skills, such as how to use social media, email and tablets, or they’ll simply make dinner and watch TV.

Bringing the outside world into the retirement community is a refreshing change for the residents.

Research has shown that social interaction with friends leads to less loneliness and mental decline and increases overall health in older adults.

At least two more nursing homes in the Netherlands have opened their doors to college students since Humanitas laid the groundwork in 2012.

Spain and the city of Lyon, France have also started similar programs.

United States

Historically, 5 to 10 percent of the U.S. population has been 65 and older at any given time, but within the next four decades that percentage is expected to grow to 20 percent, according to Renae Smith-Ray, a research scientist in the Center for Research on Health and Aging at University of Illinois at Chicago.

Older generations are living longer and the impact on caregivers, social service agencies and government spending are issues that need to be addressed now, Smith-Ray said in the Chicago Tribune.

Photo Credit: jamieleto/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: jamieleto/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“We’re going to need to begin thinking outside the box much more regularly to deal with the needs of our aging population,” Smith-Ray said. “This type of housing arrangement is one terrific example of that.”

Smith-Ray is referring to the three multi-generational homes in Chicago run by non-profit Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly (H.O.M.E), which helps low-income seniors stay independent for as long as possible.

In some cases, seniors live with college students and even middle-aged married couples.

The combination of college dorm/independent senior living facility (all rolled into a three-story brick building) seems to work.

Living spaces and bathrooms are shared, but each resident gets his/her own bedroom. Meals are prepared by a cook during the week and college-age resident assistants on the weekends.

Some organized trips are planned, but most of the bonding happens during downtime at the house.

Sharing a laugh over a favorite show or getting help on the computer creates a connection.

Many seniors aren’t particularly computer-savvy, so learning how technology can benefit them is a way younger generations can help.

With apps like Doctor on Demand and NowClinic, senior residents can connect with a healthcare practitioner face-to-face through a mobile device, instead of depending on a ride to the clinic.

Multigenerational housing isn’t just for college students or low-income seniors.

More families are living under one roof – millennials returning home to pay off student loans and grandma or grandpa need more assistance so they move in, too.

One big happy family as they say.

Builders are capitalizing on the multi-generational trend by designing homes featuring shared space, but also with separate living areas and private entrances.

Sort of looks like a dorm room, doesn't it? Photo Credit: Sean Hayford Oleary/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Sort of looks like a dorm room, doesn’t it? Photo Credit: Sean Hayford Oleary/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Miami-based homebuilder Lennar has made a big push into multigenerational space with its NextGen line of homes as has Palm Beach County-based Kotler Homes.

Statistics show that a record of 57 million Americans, or 18.8 percent of the population, lived in multigenerational family households in 2012.

Historically, older Americans were the ones most likely to live in multigenerational households, but younger adults are now surpassing them.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Paul/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

ITT Tech Closed Down Out Of The Blue, And Its Students Got Royally Screwed

The dramatic and sudden closing of all ITT Technical Institute campuses earlier this month left 40,000 students and 8,000 employees wondering what’s going to happen to them in the future.

The good news is debt incurred by ITT Tech students will likely be forgiven.

The bad news is that the credits they earned may not be transferable.

Plus, because of ITT’s reputation, it’s embarrassing for current students and even former graduates to list it on their resume.

What’s more is the closures could lead to a housing crisis for some veterans who were receiving housing allowances. The list of potential problems goes on and on.

As a for-profit school, ITT Tech was not accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which requires certain standards from its schools.

ITT Tech had 130 campuses in 38 states. Thirty percent of ITT students nationwide are veterans.

The Higher Learning Commission will not allow regionally accredited schools to accept credits from for-profit schools that are not regionally accredited, like ITT, for example.

Why did this happen?

A week before ITT closed its doors, the government banned the school from enrolling new students receiving federal aid. ITT relies on federal grants and loans from students for the majority of its revenue. ITT pulled the plug on operations as a result.

However, the Department of Education has been worried about the college for several years.

ITT was facing lawsuits and federal/state investigations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission.

The last straw happened last month when the college’s accreditor (Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools) said that ITT was not in compliance and “unlikely to become in compliance” with its criteria.

Today’s postsecondary environment is in a constant state of flux and adapting to the changes is an opportunity for institutions to adapt to and succeed in the current climate, writes Jay Halfond, the former dean and professor at Boston University Metropolitan College.

Unfortunately, it isn’t happening on every level.

“For-profits pray for someone in the White House who will protect their federal source of funds and ignore their (own) accountability,” Halfond wrote.

In 2014, Time magazine ranked ITT Technical Institute No. 2 on its list of “The 5 Colleges That Leave the Most Students Crippled By Debt”.

Among ITT Tech graduates with loans due in 2011, 22% had defaulted by 2014.

The for-profit University of Phoenix had a lower default rate by percentage – 19% at Phoenix vs. ITT Tech’s 22%.

But the total number of students in default from Phoenix was much higher – 45,123 Phoenix students versus 11,260 ITT Tech students.

Now what?

The death of for-profit schools will likely continue which gives other institutions like online colleges with hearty programs the opportunity to absorb some of that business.

A prime example of a school that saved itself from closure is Regis College in Boston. Regis was once a small, private, all-women’s college. They opened their doors to men in 2002, which helped the school thrive. Another move that helped saved the brick and mortar school is when Regis expanded their nursing program into the online realm.

Online options could be a way for former ITT tech students to re-enroll in school without having to move.

A list of career colleges and trade schools that have formed agreements with ITT to make it easier for students to transfer credits can be found here.

There are two main options for the ITT students left in a lurch.

They can transfer credits to another school with a comparable program, but those students won’t be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness.

If they choose to cancel their loans instead, anyone enrolled at the time or withdrew within 120 days of the school’s closure has the legal right to have their federal loans forgiven under a “closed-school discharge” agreement.

The problem with that route is that students must start all over if they want to further their education.

U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. has warned students to steer clear of companies offering to help in exchange for money.

Applying for any form of loan forgiveness is free.

The future of for-profit colleges

Enrollment in for-profit colleges is declining.

DeVry University said the number of students taking classes is down 23% this year and the University of Phoenix is down 22%.

Harder government scrutiny is one of the reasons.

Other major players will start to shut their doors if they don’t change the way they do business, which is one of the reasons DeVry is trying to differentiate itself.

A few days ago, DeVry Education Group announced it will voluntarily limit the amount of federal revenue it receives back to the 1992-98 federal ratio.

Today the rule requires for-profits to receive at least 10% of their revenue from nonfederal sources, and DeVry plans to increase it to 15%.

Regulatory scrutiny is not going away. Here’s another interesting thing to follow: The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) is the organization that accredited ITT Tech and said they were fed up with the school’s noncompliance issues.

But ACICS may be terminated real soon as recommended by a federal panel, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“When we see schools provide extremely poor outcomes for students – or even commit fraud – while maintaining accreditation, that is a black mark on the entire field,” said Ted Mitchell, the under-secretary of education in the Inside Higher Ed article.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: ITT Tech/ Facebook

WATCH: What Real “Ladies Of The SEC” Have To Say About That Slut Shaming HuffPost Piece 

The University Of Alabama Needs To Have A Commencement Speaker Again

By Mike Smith

When I was a senior in high school, I only cared about one thing: giving the commencement speech at my graduation.

I had been on the speech team for four years and qualified to Nationals two years in a row. I thought I had the nomination in the bag.

I got so ahead of myself that I even wrote the speech itself three months in advance. But then something unpredicted happened.

I lost.

Got second place in my class behind a cross-country runner who was hit by a car.

Flustered but obviously unable to show it, I went to my graduation disheartened, angry, and downright disappointed. I held my head down during the ceremonies, ignoring both the pomp and the circumstance.

Yet, just when I was about to tune out, the graduation speaker stood up and tapped the microphone. I looked up and, out of jealousy, waited for him to make a mistake just so I could be hyper-critical. But he didn’t.

He started with a light joke about the accident, cutting some of the heavy tension in the room.

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He went on to detail the obstacles that came from his incident, the challenges he faced in returning to normal life, and, despite all of this, how he didn’t want our pity. At that moment, I realized how privileged I was.

I was in perfect health. I was moving on to the greatest university in the world (Roll Tide).

I was lucky enough to graduate.

I went in to that ceremony defiant and angry, but I left with a lesson. No one owes you anything. I tell this story not to rehash high school memories, but to emphasize the importance that a commencement address can bring to graduates.

Graduation speeches allow for a moment of reflection.

They act as a celebration of what you and your peers have accomplished and the support you have gotten along the way.

Graduation speeches also grant the opportunity for well-experienced members of society to give some parting advice for those moving on to bigger and better things.

Just this past year alone, Rutgers University heard President Obama recount his past fighting for justice, the University of Pennsylvania saw Lin Manuel Miranda explain the struggle of long-distance relationships, and Berkeley witnessed Sheryl Sandburg’s story of coping with the loss her husband.

The advice offered by these great speakers may not resonate with every single graduate, but it can mean a world of difference to those in similar situations.

The author on the University of Alabama campus. Photo Credit: Mike Smith.

The author on the University of Alabama campus. Photo Credit: Mike Smith.

Graduation speeches can humanize what might feel like a rather methodical ceremony.

This is why I am disappointed that the University of Alabama does not have commencement speakers at most of their graduation ceremonies.

Instead of being an inspirational function, these events treat students like products being churned out of the factory. Thus, the graduations are rather dry, dispassionate, and robotic.

Additionally, the administration has given no legitimate reason not to have them. There is no unique tradition of the Capstone that effectively “bans” commencement addresses, like sitting during football games or walking across The Mound.

In fact, the administration just recently got rid of them, most likely because a speaker in 2007 made some controversial comments about the war in Iraq.

Unfortunately, they canceled speeches for a single year, yet never changed it back.

All of this is why I, as a member of the Capstone Coalition (a student block of aligned independents), am introducing a resolution to the SGA Senate this fall to encourage the University to reinstate graduation speeches.

I urge you to contact your college’s SGA Senator and lobby them to support this proposal. The only way that the administration will change is if we collectively demand action.

Looking back, while it didn’t go as I imagined, my high school graduation was pretty remarkable.

I learned from one of my peers an important lesson that prepared me for my transition to college.

I hope that when I leave the Capstone, I can get one more piece of advice just like that.

Mike Smith is a student at the University of Alabama and a member of student government there. The University of Alabama is one of the few colleges that does not currently have a commencement speaker. 

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Cover Photo Credit: The University of Alabama/ Facebook

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