College

Obama’s Proposal For Free College Perpetuates Huge Lie that Everyone Needs to Go to College

Before you get angry with me, or accuse me of hating people who can’t afford college, listen: it’s not that I don’t think everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education, but its actually useless for everyone to have a college education.

The reason the job market has been so poor is that we have millions of undeclared university students who are going to college because they believe they have to in order to secure a good future for themselves, even though what they want to do may not even require a college education.

Totally necessary job, totally respectable career path.

Totally necessary job, totally respectable career path. College degree not necessary.

The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of great jobs that can even pay higher than vocations you would have with a college education, and are actually in demand! Sales consultants, stylists, cosmetologists, web designers, paralegal assistants, court stenographer, executive assistant, surveyor, mechanics, repair workers, plumbers – not to mention all of the inventors, entrepreneurs, and innovators who never attended or finished college. I know electricians that pull in six figure salaries and live in waterfront palaces, making more than I probably ever will.

This is a nice house. You can afford one of these whether you go to college or not.

This is a nice house. You can afford one of these whether you go to college or not. You just need to be motivated.

Of course, there’s an added bonus in going into one of these fields too: no crushing student loan debt. News flash: paying 30 grand, on average per year to get a degree in English, then ending up working in a drive through window because you have no idea how to apply what you learned, probably won’t set you up for the bright future you were expecting. Sorry.

Look at how happy he is. He's studying at The College on the Hill, getting a degree in eco-gender pan-african linguistic cultural literature. Money well spent?

Look at how happy he is: He’s studying at The College on the Hill, getting a degree in eco-gender pan-african linguistic cultural literature. Money well spent?

Federally funding two free years of college education for everyone will mean less people going to trade school, or taking up other lucrative occupations, because they feel there’s another obligatory two years tacked onto public education.

Improving our education system is important, of course – our standardized test scores are slipping as the U.S. education system falls in prestige on the global stage – throw some money at that if you want to do something to help. But encouraging everyone to go to college on the taxpayer’s dime isn’t going to bring about success for the nation, or its citizens.

To review:

-Free = tax payer funded

-Going to college just because, is a great way to dig yourself an inescapable grave of crushing debt

-Electricians make more money than I ever will, and don’t have to pay nearly as much to get trained. Seriously, trade school and apprenticeships are great options

-You don’t have to go to college to be successful, and sending more people to go to college to get degrees that they won’t use, because there aren’t jobs available or the degrees are useless, is a tremendous waste of money.

-By Cole Ellenbogen

 

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Anti White Supremacy 101

I pay for my education, so I take it very seriously. I try really hard to learn as much as I can in every class. This semester I took a women and gender studies 101 to fill a requirement. Lets just say I got much more than my moneys worth.

3 Things I Learned in My Women and Genders Studies 101 Class:

1. People of color are not afraid of home intruders.

I thought the last day of class was just going to be a quick wrap up but no, my diligent professor made sure to throw in one last lesson. How dedicated is that?

She began telling us about Oscar Pistorius the South African Paralympic champion, who became the first double legg amputee to participate in the Olympics. In 2013 Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend through their bathroom door, because he throughout she was an intruder.

Oscar Pistorius- Please note the pigmentation of his skin. (My professor made sure we realized this was the most important fact about him.) Photocreds- Wikipedia

With all of her expertise, my professor went on to explain what caused Pistorius to shoot his girlfriend. She first made sure that everyone in the class was aware Pistorius is a wealthy WHITE male, who lives in an affluent neighborhood. She then when on to say “white fear” caused him to shoot his girlfriend.

Try to stay with me, I know this is a difficult concept. I was confused by this at first too, but don’t worry my amazing professor explained it!

Pistorius claimed he thought the person behind the bathroom door was an intruder. My professor posed the question “what do you think he thought the person behind the door looked like?” After a long pause someone in the class called out “Black!” My professor quickly said “you don’t have to answer it out loud, just consider it….”

Of course my professor wasn’t insinuating that oscar only shot the intruder because he thought it was a person of color was she? and if she was… does that mean if Pistorius was a person of color he wouldn’t have been afraid of an intruder?

My take away from that lesson- only white people are afraid of intruders- because all intruders have to be a person of color, and no people of color are afraid of people breaking into their homes. MAKES PERFECT SENSE RIGHT?!

2. A child called IT

We learned about “political correctness” and sensitivity. We talked about pronouns and how to correctly address people. My professor told us that it is better to ask what pronouns a person would be called. Personally I identify as a straight female and like the pronouns “she and her” to be used for me.

Of course there are going to be situations where it is either inappropriate or too difficult to ask someone what pronouns they like to be called, but no need for worry! My all knowing professor told us the best way to deal with this is to refer to someone as “it”.

She pointed out a perfect example of this. She told my class that in his testimony that Officer Daren Wilson said “it looked like a demon”, and then she went on to say HOW UNACCEPTABLE AND HORRIBLE it was that Officer Wilson called Michael Brown an “it”.

He should have asked what pronoun he wanted to be called…

Oh wait… I decided to look up the piece of testimony so that I could fully understand how awful Officer Wilson is…

Officer Wilson's testimony.

Officer Wilson’s testimony.

Oh! By “it” he was referring to the intense aggressive face.. not Michael Brown. So the lesson isn’t ask people what pronouns they want to be called, the lesson is take things out of context and porput them as truths and mislead people to make your point! Duhhh?!

3. The Single Story

My professor told us that if we didn’t learn anything else, she wanted us to make sure that we understood the concept of “the single story.” She explained this as the idea that history and the media, well society in general portrays everything through the perspective of the white male.

She told us that it is important to destroy the idea of the single story, and instead entertain multiple perspectives from all different kinds of people.

She then went on to teach the entire course saying things like “ALL police officers are white supremacists” and she even had members of the campus protest group THE general body come in and talk to us… but she never had anyone from the administration come in to talk to us.

Hmm seems like if you want to entertain multiple perspectives you should have both sides of the issue talk to your class…

Oh no. I’m sorry! I misinterpreted what she meant by multiple perspectives. By “Multiple” she actually meant perspectives that line up with hers! Silly me, why would I ever think that dissonance could actually be used to teach a college course!

By Kyra Azzato

You’re So Vain You Probably Think This Post Is About You

A friend sent me a comment that someone else posted about my open letter to the chancellor, earlier today. This commenter insinuated that I am a bigot that wants to stamp out ethnic diversity at Syracuse because I disagree with THE General Body.

Interestingly enough, they also claimed they tried to reach me for comment on Facebook but couldn’t find me because I’m, “conveniently enough, not searchable.”

The elusive and deceptive Cole Ellenbogen, trying to hide from public scrutiny by concealing his identity on the internet.

The elusive and deceptive Cole Ellenbogen, trying to hide from public scrutiny by concealing his identity on the internet.

Did you try Google? I’m really not that difficult to find: the entire first page of search results for Cole Ellenbogen is entirely comprised of things I’ve written, or things written about me, as well as twitter, g-mail, and pictures. I’m sure you could’ve figured out a way to get in touch with me with all that.

Commenter, either you’re just bad at the Internet, or didn’t look at all.

I digress.

This person’s accused me of lacking factual evidence and being somehow motivated by racism, which is odd because most of my arguments were about finances.

But I’m not petty, and I can take a little heckling. The reason I bring all this up is because this person brought something up that could cause confusion amongst students.

The commenter suggested that the university has 1.08 billion dollars from a fundraiser that the Chancellor is trying to keep under wraps, which is now just laying around collecting dust.

Syracuse University's alleged cash-stash, probably hidden in the Chancellor's office. Photo Credit: Business Insider

Syracuse University’s alleged cash-stash, probably hidden in the Chancellor’s office.
Photo Credit: Business Insider

To those who are under the impression that the university does have this lump sum just sitting around, completely understand if you’re frustrated with the administration. But, I would like to take the opportunity to dispel some of the mystery surrounding this donation that you may or may not have heard about.

Over the course of a few years, the university did raise over 1.08 billion dollars. Here’s the breakdown.

  1. This money did not come from an annual fundraiser. This was an ongoing affair, and it took seven years to accomplish. The effort began in 2005 and ended in 2012.
  2. To reiterate, this effort has been over for two years. Since then we’ve remodeled Newhouse II, built Newhouse III, built an entirely new law school, and finished the life sciences complex – and that’s just naming a few off the top of my head.
  3. The commenter also claimed the funds were never allocated and kept a secret, but the allocation of the funds was disclosed two years ago, before the fundraising was completed.

a. 177 million dollars went directly to adding scholarships “for students of merit who demonstrate financial need.”

b. At the time of the fundraiser’s completion, 28 million – roughly 2 percent of the total donation was not allocated.

c. If you still have a problem with lack of transparency about where the money goes, you’re complaining about the wrong chancellor: Nancy Cantor was the one that handled the disclosure of the donations, not Kent Syverud.

  1. Again, this was a long-term effort. Syracuse does not receive annual donations of over one billion dollars every year.

All of those stats can be found here, and again, this was two years ago. The money has been allocated and most likely spent. A good chunk was actually spent on some of the same things THE General Body was complaining about: expansion of scholarships for students who would be otherwise unable to afford a college education, and attracting top professors who could help diversify the campus.

As of last year Syracuse University was 400 million dollars in debt, larger than average for a university its size. I’m a firm believer in the fact that money doesn’t appear out of thin air, and the mindset that one can just willfully throw money around because that they can always borrow more is both damaging and unsustainable.

To wrap up: we’re in debt; we don’t actually have 1.08 billion dollars to fix all of our problems. Most of our budget comes from student tuition, so the assumption that student tuition will rise if we continue renovating buildings, adding programs, and reversing budget cuts is not only realistic, but also fairly logical.

And if you still think my arguments are “shallow banter,” as this heckler suggested, I would implore the rest of the readers to take caution in taking advice from anyone who uses the phrase, “but like, also no,” in a serious written piece, or one who digresses from their point to talk about their horoscope. You know who you are.

By Cole Ellenbogen

 

 

Where You Stand

We’ve started a petition to show that we don’t stand with THE General Body be it because of their methods, or because of the effect we know their demands will have on all Syracuse University students. You can sign here if you agree.

But we know that it’s important to not just stand in opposition, but to stand for something. This is a brief survey to see what students think of the current protests, and the issues at hand at Syracuse.

BROAD ISSUES

Do You Support THE General Body?

If so, in what capacity?

 

Do You Support Possible Tuition Hikes to Pay for THE General Body’s Demands?

The money has to come from somewhere, right?

 

What is the Purpose of Syracuse University?

Is it a private school, or a democratic institution?

SPECIFIC DEMANDS

How Should the University Handle The Installation Of Transgender Bathrooms?

Renovate now, over time, or not at all?

 

Is The Current Level Transparency at Syracuse University Acceptable?

Should the university be doing more to include students, or is the current access enough?

 

Do You Support Requiring All University Students To Take a Mandatory Diversity Class?

…And would that help diversity issues on campus?

 

By Cole Ellenbogen

Are there other issues you’d like us conduct a poll on? Comment with your suggestions, or contact us.

An Open Letter To Chancellor Kent Syverud

Chancellor,

Enough is enough.

I support you. I’m not writing to complain about transparency, or scholarships, or divestment. I’m not even writing on behalf of my fellow students – I would never purport to speak for the rest of Syracuse University. I’m writing to tell you that I am tired of this protest dragging on, tired of self-righteous social media slack-tivism, tired of protestors hurling accusations of racism.

But most of all, because I’m worried about what this means for the future of this school. Below I’ve outlined my concerns, along with the simple request that you end this before you set a dangerous precedent of immature obstructionism, trespass, and lack of respect – or worse: listless spending at the whim of student complaints, resulting in soaring tuition prices.

YOU ARE IN CHARGE, NOT THE STUDENTS:

Some students have the misconception that Syracuse is a republic or a democracy. Proof is painted on their protest signs that ask “Is this a school, or a corporation?”

Students confused about the meaning of "corporation" take a break from patting themselves on the back to wave a poorly painted banner. Photo Credit: THE General Body

Students confused about the meaning of “corporation” take a break from patting themselves on the back to protest outside.
Photo Credit: THE General Body

I recommend that you put the topic to bed:

college-sample-bill

Sample bill, by which students (consumers) pay the university (corporation/vendor) for a service

 

Syracuse University is an organization that receives payment in exchange for goods or services. In that right, it is a corporation. The fact that the university extends services such as scholarships, resources and representation, is a nicety; by no means are you obligated to indulge the delusions that this private institution is a democracy, or a charity.

THE UNIVERSITY CANNOT AFFORD THESE DEMANDS WITHOUT RAISING TUITION:

Syracuse University is expensive. Tuition pays for a lot of the services we enjoy on campus,but what happens when a group demands you cut back on university investments because they are indirectly related to fossil fuels (because I’m sure none of the protestors drive cars,) and compel the university to remodel every single building on campus to add more transgender bathrooms? What happens when the group also adds that you cannot make budget cuts to pay for these pricey renovations they demanded?

Issues aside, a sensible person would realize the money isn’t coming from thin air. Changes would a mean tuition increase, far greater than what we’ve already experienced. I cannot, and will not pay higher tuition based on the whim of a few dozen students, nor should my fellow students.

PANDERING TO THE STUDENTS COST YOU AND THE COMMUNITY:

I admire your restraint amid serious allegations from students, parents, and even some faculty that your desire to salvage the university’s reputation are somehow racially motivated attempts to stamp out ethnic diversity at Syracuse.

However, this protest has escalated to where it is now because you have not laid down boundaries. I understand your desire to be seen as friendly and fair by your students, but this has come at the expense of respect.

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University. Photo Credit: ESPN

Yay, happy people at Syracuse University.
Photo Credit: ESPN

You have tried to make the students feel like you are one of them, while simultaneously attempting to wield authorityBy striving to be loved and respected you lost the favor and the cooperation of the student body, and wound up with this:

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building's owners - also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy - and leave smudges on the windows. Photo Credit: The Post Standard

Protestors enter Crouse Hinds against the wishes of the building’s owners – also known as trespassing or unlawful occupancy – and leave smudges on the windows.
Photo Credit: The Post Standard

And, might I add, protestors trying force the administration to see meet with them, sneaking through a back door, overtaking the building against the wishes of the staff and refusing to leave, is criminal trespass.

THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT RATIONAL – THEY AREN’T GOING ANYWHERE UNTIL YOU MOVE THEM:

My point, Chancellor, is that you are dealing with people so self-righteous that they compare themselves to Germans living in occupied East Berlin – people who think that the productive solution to a problem is to sit down and get in the way.

These people are walking all over your administration. By not swiftly handling the issue, you are not only bringing yourself long-lasting terrible press, but you are setting a dangerous precedent that will be in place for the rest of your tenure: every decision you make is negotiable.

If you want to be the respected leader of the university, with the support of your students, then earn it. Stop placating, stop entertaining the fantasy that this private organization is some kind of democracy where college freshmen and twenty-somethings tell adults how to do their jobs, and put your foot down.

Only then can meaningful change occur at Syracuse.

Forgive me if I seem blunt: but my friends cannot do their jobs, prospective students are being put off by the chaos, and I fiscally cannot afford to pay the tuition hikes that THE General Body’s proposal would bring. I doubt I’m the only one.

Thank you for your time, Chancellor. Don’t let the stubbornness of a few damage the rest of your students.

Sincerely,

Cole Ellenbogen

A Trendy Little Thing Called Kent-Bashing

If you live in Syracuse, you’ve probably heard of THE General Body, who are making headlines for sitting on the floor of a building until their list of demands, topping 40 pages, are met.

A skip card, which you can totally use on this next paragraph if you like. I don't mind. See?

A skip card, which you can totally use on this next paragraph if you like. I don’t mind. See?

(Skip this paragraph if you already know why they’re angry, or don’t care why they’re angry and want to jump to the point of the article.) Maybe they’re upset that Chancellor Syverud complimented students on working and holding jobs, because this suggests that work is voluntary and somehow demeans the plight of students who don’t have enough aid money – this complaint appearing in the “transparency” list: article 3.5.4 – or perhaps it’s because professors and students don’t have enough diversity training, and that all students should be required to take 3 credit classes on diversity; this demand, is taken directly from the “diversity” list – article 4.1 and 4.2.. They go on to demand an apology for bringing the university advocacy center to a different building as well.  I honestly couldn’t tell you exactly what they want now because since I’ve started writing, they’ve added another two pages of  demands, which are getting increasingly more radical.  If you want to read it, I’m sure you can find it somewhere online. I won’t link it here because I doubt you actually want to read over 40 pages of their manifesto and demands.

(Welcome back!) The sentiment of the group, which completely defies common sense, is that former chancellor Nancy Cantor was a better leader of the university because of her recruitment policies, which favored increasing diversity on campus, and that current chancellor Kent Syverud is somehow a bigot for wanting to improve SU’s academic rating. This ranking lately hovers in the 40’s or 50’s nationwide, depending on whom you ask.

Nancy Cantor, clapping at something. Photocred: The Post Standard

Nancy Cantor, clapping at something.
Photocred: The Post Standard

But I’m not as interested as talking about the demands – other than to point out how ridiculous it is for these students to refuse to leave until their demands are met, considering the fact that some of the demands call for immediate modifications to university buildings – as am in tackling the trendy new culture of Kent-bashing, which will not die.

Fact: college students like to party, or at least enough of them do to rank Syracuse as a top party school. Related fact: college students aren’t widely known for their foresight.

Chancellor Kent Syverud condemned the ranking, likely because he knew it was terrible PR for alumni, and would not help current students find jobs after graduation. But not everyone agrees:

Photocred: The Post Standard

Chancellor Kent Syverud Speaks. Photocred: The Post Standard

Some students have made the assentation that graduating from the number one party school will prove to prospective employers that they have the work-hard-play-hard mentality. Following the logic of these students, and the numbers of the national rankings, you would be showing employers that you party roughly 40 times as much as you work. Personally I wouldn’t be putting that on my resume.

Regardless, it seems like everything Syverud has done has been treated as an attack on the SU way of life, and all problems at the university have somehow become entirely Syverud’s fault. Castle court closes: the ‘Cuse way of life is in danger, save ‘Cuse!” (A waste of a hashtag if ever there was one) A robbery occurs off campus: It’s Kent’s fault, he should bear personal responsibility for what happened because DPS was too busy busting parties – a fairly illogical claim if you ask me.

He is even blamed for the closing of Castle Court, formerly the happening outdoor party spot where students could enjoy both underage drinking and Syracuse’s lovely weather. This was the delayed result of Nancy Cantor’s actions, not Syverud’s.

Photocred: Socraticcomunity.com

Photocred: Socraticcomunity.com

A contributing factor to the problem is the, “too long, didn’t read,” mentality where one student has beef with the Chancellor, posts a whining Facebook status about how ‘Cuse is under attack, and then people start sharing it and reposting it without actually reading what was said. It perpetuates band-wagon Chancellor bashing, and unites students in a seemingly noble crusade against “the man.”

Occupy Protestors block foot traffic, ruin productivity, spoil everyone's nice time

Occupy Protestors block foot traffic, ruin productivity, spoil everyone’s nice time

Aside from the fact that occupy protests are lazy by nature – trespassing, taking up space and getting in the way of productive members of the community until they become so annoying that their opponent has to cave – my issue here is that THE General Body purports to be the voice of SU. The group has well under a thousand followers on social media, 80 members who met with the university staff, only a few dozen participated in their previous march against Syverud, (again, back to the band-wagon Chancellor bashing) and only 30 are taking up space in the Syracuse administrative building. These numbers are pretty insignificant when you take into account the fact that there are over 20 thousand students at SU.

The University is not without issues that merit attention, but the administration has already opened up channels for student negotiation and promised to deal with concerns brought to their attention. This protest drowns out the sensible requests, and poisons the well for constructive negotiations.

THE General Body speaks for themselves, not for the university, and certainly not for me.

In Review:

  • It both defies common sense and demonstrates extreme hypocrisy to for such a small, opaque group to appoint themselves the voice of the students against what they describe as an opaque administration
  • I can’t believe I have to say this, but Kent Syverud is not omnipotent, and thus cannot possibly be personally responsible for everything that goes wrong on and off campus
  • Hating the Chancellor when you don’t understand the issues at hand isn’t cool or trendy, nor is it a sign of a productive educational environment: it’s a sign of attention seekers drowning out the voice of their fellow students

By Cole Ellenbogen

What do you think?